Casting Roundup: James Marsden Visits ’30 Rock’, Lizzy Caplan Adds More Awesome to ‘New Girl’

Lizzy CaplanJames Marsden of X-Men and Straw Dogs fame will be making an undoubtedly awesome guest appearance on the wonder that is 30 Rock. Tina Fey’s series may be a bit past its prime days, but it is still one of the funniest things on TV, and still not without hard-hitting episodes. Marsden is on board for a six-episode arc during 30 Rock‘s upcoming sixth season. Such a lengthy stay for a guest star indicates that his character will be pretty significant. Perhaps he’ll play a love interest (ill-fated, of course) for Liz Lemon? A potential replacement for Jack Donaghy as he begins to focus his time more on raising his daughter? Or someone from Kenneth’s mysterious past. Any of these would be fine. 30 Rock will return to NBC as a mid-season replacement in 2012. -THR

New Girl has a very interesting philosophy to wrangle in viewers—get awesome people to be in it. It’s kind of unorthodox, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Joining the must-be-hiding-a-dark-secret-because-NO-one-can-be-that-likeable star Zooey Deschanel is Party Down’s super-snarker Lizzy Caplan. The mighty Caplan will enjoy a three-episode arc on New Girl as a cool, intelligent academic who wins the affections of Nick (Jake Johnson). New Girl airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. -TVLine

ABC’s sinfully underappreciated six-friends-with-nothing-to-do comedy Happy Endings will be roping in a guest actress to play an ex-girlfriend to one of the central characters. It’s not Brad, not Dave, not even Jane (who made mention of an extensive “experimental phase in college” last week). It’s actually Max (Adam Pally), who fans of the series know is gay. We’ve gotten enough glimpses into Max’s past to know that he didn’t completely come to terms with his sexuality until some time in or shortly after college, so it makes sense that his high school days might have involved a girlfriend or two. Playing Max’s ex will be Riki Lindhome (Gilmore Girls, Million Dollar Baby). Happy Endings airs Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. -Vulture

Better With You was a romantic comedy series on ABC that ran for one season, terminating in May of 2011. The series starred JoAnna Garcia, and was created by Shana Goldberg-Meehan. ABC is in talks with the duo for another project: a series (again, starring Garcia and created by Goldberg-Meehan) about a newly married woman who moves in with her husband and his family. The network has agreed to produce the pilot, which, like Better With You, will be a multiple camera-style sitcom. JoAnna Garcia has had a pretty hefty sum of success in television acting: she might be best remembered for her roles on Reba and Party of Five, but two of her most awesome exploits were with Freaks and Geeks and Are You Afraid of the Dark? Goldberg-Meehan worked as a writer and producer for Friends and its spinoff Joey. -Deadline

Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.

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