Like a vulture circling its suffering prey as it teeters on the brink of death, the NBC single-camera comedy pilot Assistance is adding to its cast by scavenging the barely-living carcasses of two freshman shows that probably won't see a second season.
In a development that pretty much spells out the fate of TNT's poorly-rated medical drama Monday Mornings, series star Alfred Molina is negotiating to join the cast of Assistance. The project has also added the star of another NBC sitcom, Zach Cregger of Guys With Kids.
Starring former Don't Trust The B---- In Apartment 23 star Krysten Ritter, Assistance focuses on idealistic assistant Nora who feels torn between her "work husband" colleague and her actual fiance, Jeremy (Peter Cambor), while struggling with her demanding boss. Molina would play that boss, a successful film producer named Daniel imbued with heavy intensity and a larger-than-life presence.
After starring in a handful of failed television series earlier in his career, Molina earned acclaim in feature films such as Spider-Man 2, Frida, and Chocolat. He returned to TV as the star of NBC's Law & Order: Los Angeles and currently stars in David E. Kelley's latest offering, Monday Mornings, which has tanked in the ratings and likely won't be back.
Zach Cregger, who plays father-of-two Nick on Guys With Kids, has accepted the role of Nora's co-worker Seth, whom she refers to as her "work husband."
In a display of loyalty to his current show, Cregger refused to entertain offers from pilots on other networks and only agreed to co-star in Assistance because both projects are produced by NBC and Universal Television. Despite its terminal diagnosis, Guys With Kids will take precedence over Assistance if both shows move forward. Previously, Cregger starred in an NBC comedy I don't remember at all, Friends With Benefits, and was a founding member of sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U'Know.
British actress Vinette Robinson also came aboard recently and will play Jenny, a brainy Brit beauty with a head for numbers who poses a threat to Nora and Seth at work.
While she has appeared in several TV productions in the United Kingdom, Robinson's most well-known role so far has been as Sgt. Sally Donovan on the BBC's Sherlock.
Written by Leslye Headland (Terriers) based on her play, Assistance is co-produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions. Comedy writer-producers Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener (Happy Endings) recently joined the project as executive producers after inking a two-year overall deal with Universal TV.
Do you like how Assistance is shaping up? Will you miss Monday Mornings or Guys With Kids if they don't come back?