“Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Saved by the Bell” alum Tiffani Thiessen and Ming-Na, who recently departed “ER,” have lined up pilot work in the latest round of casting.

Thiessen has signed on to the CBS comedy “Stroller Wars,” while Ming-Na and Jonathan Cake (“The American Embassy”) have joined the NBC drama “Inconceivable,” the showbiz trade papers report. Aunjanue Ellis (“Ray”) has also snagged an NBC role.

“Stroller Wars,” from the “King of Queens” team of Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, is about a New York City couple adjusting to parenthood. Thiessen will play the new mom.

Thiessen starred in the Fox series “Fastlane” in 2002-03 and had a recurring part last season on NBC’s “Good Morning, Miami.” Her credits also include “Hollywood Ending” and ABC’s “Two Guys and a Girl.”

NBC’s “Inconceivable” centers on the staff of a fertility clinic. Ming-Na, who voiced the title character in “Mulan” and has appeared in “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Single Guy,” will play a co-owner of the business. Cake, currently working on the ABC miniseries “Empire,” will play one of the clinic’s doctors.

Ellis, meanwhile, has joined the cast of NBC’s Pentagon drama “E-Ring.” She currently has a recurring part on Fox’s “Jonny Zero” and has appeared in “Lovely & Amazing,” “Men of Honor” and the ABC series “MDs.”


E! has fleshed out the cast for its daily re-enactments of Michael Jackson’s upcoming child-molestation trial, which is set to begin next week.

The cable network, which is co-producing the daily re-enactments of the trial with British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, has tapped actors to play Judge Rodney S. Melville, defense attorneys Thomas Mesereau and Robert Sanger, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon and assistant D.A. Ron Zonen.

The daily re-enactments, based on the previous day’s trial transcripts, will air at 7:30 and 9 p.m. ET weeknights. An hour-long show, highlighting the biggest events of the week, will air at 10 p.m. Saturdays. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to start Monday, following the completion of jury selection this week.

The most recognizable of the actors is Jack Donner, who will play Melville. His career stretches back to the 1960s and includes appearances on “Mission: Impossible,” “Star Trek” and, more recently, “Roswell” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.” He’s also appeared in the feature film “Stigmata.”

Rigg Kennedy (“Slumber Party Massacre,” “Deterrence”) will play Meseraeau, with Dan Sanders as Sanger. Charles Haigh and Bob Wood will play Sneddon and Zonen, respectively.

E! previously announced that Jackson impersonator Edward Moss (“Scary Movie 3,” “Nip/Tuck”) will play the pop star in the re-enactments. Former prosecutor and Court TV anchor James Curtis will host the re-enactments.


ABC has ordered a comedy pilot about a teacher of gifted students, with “The Station Agent’s” Peter Dinklage set to star.


The Hollywood trade papers report that ABC has ordered the pilot from writer Don Todd (“life as we know it,” “ALF”), who’s executive producing with former ABC exec Stu Bloomberg. The show revolves around an unconventional teacher of gifted kids, a la the 1980s ABC staple “Head of the Class.”

Dinklage, who has a holding deal with ABC’s sister studio, Touchstone TV, has been tapped to star. At least that’s what Touchstone and ABC say.

Here’s where things get a little sticky. Variety also reports that Dinklage is considering a role in the CBS drama pilot “Threshold,” about scientists and military personnel who make contact with aliens. Neither Touchstone nor Dinklage’s representatives are commenting on the situation.

Dinklage signed his talent deal with Touchstone last summer, following several appearances on ABC’s “I’m with Her” in the 2003-04 season. He also guest-starred on two episodes of “life as we know it” in January. His other credits include “Elf,” “Human Nature” and “Living in Oblivion.”


Comedy legend Bob Newhart will make his way to Wisteria Lane later this season.

The five-time Emmy nominee is set to make an appearance on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” in April. He films his guest spot next week.

Newhart will play Morty, the estranged boyfriend of Susan Mayer’s (Teri Hatcher) mother, Sophie (previously announced guest star Lesley Ann Warren). Susan invites Morty to visit in hopes that he and Sophie will reconcile and her mother won’t move in with her.

Newhart’s most recent Emmy nomination came last year for a guest-starring arc on NBC’s “ER.” He also earned three acting nominations for his 1980s series “Newhart” and a writing nod in the early “60s for his eponymous sketch-comedy show. (Oddly enough, he never was nominated for “The Bob Newhart Show” in the 1970s.)

More recently, he’s appeared in the feature films “Elf” and “Legally Blonde 2” and the TNT movie “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.”


The third annual “TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV” will celebrate two of television’s funniest performers, one of the medium’s most prolific producers and one of popular culture’s most influential programs.

The show will tape on March 13 at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif. and will air on TV Land as a 90-minute special on March 16.

Aaron Spelling, whose credits range from “The Mod Squad” to “Beverly Hills, 90210” to “Summerland,” will receive the Pioneer Award, which TV Land says is give to a “television creator who is an industry leader, a visionary who is able to bring together all the disparate elements that lead to great television – wonderful ideas, skillful craftspeople, charismatic actors and talented writers.” On hand to celebrate Spelling will be Joan Collins, Peggy Lipton, Luke Perry, Jason Priestly and daughter Tori Spelling.

Carol Burnett will take the Legend Award, with colleagues Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner in attendance. Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily, Suzanne Pleshette and Marcia Wallace are set to appear as part of a tribute to Bob Newhart, who will be given the Icon Award.

The Pop Culture Award will go to “Soul Train,” as a “show that has crossed the line from television series to pop culture phenomenon.”

Winners in a variety of other categories, some open for voting on the TV Land Web site, will be announced at the show.


Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is set to turn up on CBS’ Monday night drama “CSI: Miami.” Unfortunately, Hawk is going to turn up as a corpse.

In the episode, set to air March 21, Hawk will play Jake Sullivan, a skater and video game tester who the CSI crew believes may have been murdered. This leads the team deep into the world of video game production, which is apparently much scarier than previously thought.

One of the most recognizable figures in the history of extreme sports, Hawk has gone from skater to brand name. Although he has returned from competitive skating, after winning 10 career gold medals at ESPN’s X-Games, Hawk continues to do exhibitions and demonstrations. His video game series is one of the most popular in the business and his list of television guest starring appearances includes “The Simpsons,” “LAX” and “Complete Savages.”

The Tony Hawk Foundation donates more than $400,000 a year to setting up skateparks in low income neighborhoods around the country.

For the season, “CSI: Miami” is averaging 19.06 million viewers per week.

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