Amazon Studios is hard at work producing six original comedy pilots (the first original pilots in the new studio's history) and they have turned to some veteran television comedy talent to anchor their new casts.
John Goodman has signed on to star in 'Alpha House,' a political comedy from 'Doonesbury' writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Trudeau. 'Alpha House' follows four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington DC. Goodman will play Gil John Biggs, an ex-basketball coach and current Senator of North Carolina. Biggs is described as a "large man with large appetites" who is facing stiff competition for his Senate seat in an upcoming election when the coach of Duke football becomes his opponent.
Goodman is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, most recently appearing in the critically-acclaimed 'Flight' with Denzel Washington and the multi-award winning 'Argo' with Ben Affleck. Goodman became a household name starring as Dan Conner in 'Roseanne,' a sitcom that redefined the genre and brought depth of character that few sitcoms had ever dared to traverse. Goodman recently flexed his dramatic muscle as Howard Erickson in the fourth season of 'Damages.' But his comedic timing has remained honed to a razor's edge, as fans of 'Community' saw across the six episodes wherein Goodman played Vice Dead Laybourne.
Amazon has been striving for a blend of veteran talent and fresh new faces for their upcoming series. Bebe Neuwirth, a multi-talented actress best known for her role as Lilith Crane on 'Cheers' and 'Frasier,' has been cast in 'Browsers.'
'Browsers' is a musical comedy set in contemporary Manhattan that follows four young people as they start their first jobs at a news website. Casting Neuwirth in a musical is a no-brainer, as she is one of the original cast members of the Broadway musical 'Chicago' which was adapted into the Best Picture Academy Award winning feature years later. (The fact that Neuwirth was recast in the cinema adaptation is a crime). Neuwirth brings laughs, song and experience to 'Browsers;' she also brings immediate credibility to a series that is plumbing difficult depths in a rare genre.
Amazon seems off to a great start; no matter who the "fresh faces" are who get cast in 'Alpha House' and 'Browsers,' they're already in excellent company.