TV Casting Call: Abby Elliot May Leave SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE for Fox Comedy Pilot; Bradley Whitford Joins THE ASSET

     February 23, 2012


Paul Brittain has already exited Saturday Night Live for other pursuits and now it appears the late night sketch comedy show might lose another cast member. EW has learned that Abby Elliott (who, in case you didn’t know, is the daughter of SNL alum and recurring How I Met Your Mother guest star Chris Elliott) is nearing a deal to lead a new Fox comedy pilot called Ben Fox is My Manny (which I think combines the words “man” and “nanny”) and it just might have her leaving SNL. The series, from Couples Retreat writer Dana Fox, follows an uptight single mother (Elliott) and her laid-back brother who move in together to raise a child. Hit the jump for more, including news on a new series for The West Wing alum Bradley Whitford.

abby-elliottAs of now the deal is still being finalized with Elliott in what is called “second position.” That means that when an actor, who already has a series commitment, signs on to a new pilot, they can only appear if the option on their other series is not picked up. In this case, Saturday Night Live likely won’t be canceled, but it appears producer Lorne Michaels has agreed to let her out of the contract should a deal with Fox come through. The question is whether or not Elliot has the chops and notoriety to lead her own pilot and if the move would be worth her leaving a pretty steady job at SNL. Of course, the sketch series is usually a great place to start a career until something like this comes along, so maybe it’s time for her to take a risk.

Deadline reports that Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Good Guys) will co-star in The Asset, a new drama pilot set up at Fox with Ali Larter. The series, from Josh Friedman and Neil Burger, follows Larter as Anna King, a remarkably gifted globe-trotting photographer with a secret life: she a CIA field operative. Whitford would play Leo, the Station Chief of the New York City CIA who is King’s biggest supporter. Whitford has done straight-up drama since The West Wing, and considering his more comedic exploits Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Good Guys didn’t work out (despite how great he was in both), this might be the right move to get his TV career back on track. He does have an Emmy after all.