Casting Roundup: Michelle Obama Visits ‘iCarly’, Simon Cowell Back on ‘Britian’s Got Talent’

Simon CowellThis is how you know that the Obamas are a family of the people: First Lady Michelle Obama will be making a guest appearance on the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly, which stars Miranda Cosgrove as Carly Shay, the young host of a popular web series. Mrs. Obama’s presence on the series is not as out-of-nowhere as it may seem at first glance. The main character’s unseen father is an Air Force colonel stationed perpetually overseas, and in the episode in question, Carly and her friends (Jennette McCurdy and Nathan Kress) will make an effort to extend their appreciation for Col. Shay via the web series. The sentiment of this episode is in concordance with the First Lady’s Joining Forces movement, which is an initiative to afford gratitude, support and opportunities to military officers and their families. Joining the First Lady on the iCarly episode will be Saturday Night Live featured player Taran Killam, who will be portraying her no-nonsense Secret Service agent. The episode will air on Monday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon…and word has it, Mrs. Obama will be doing some dancing. –EW

Simon Cowell has made quite a mark on America, but his heart still belongs to the United Kingdom. Cowell will be returning to his homeland and to his judging position on Britain’s Got Talent. He will assume his seat on the panel this Spring, beside Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Williams. Judges David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre will not be returning to the show for its new series. Cowell’s reasons for returning are primarily personal: “I miss Britain and I miss the British public and I miss judging them. I want to find the next generation of talent in 2012…I came back because most importantly I want to change the perception of the show. I love originality, I love great singers, I love great comedians. I love things I’ve never seen before. Everyone thinks I hate magicians, well I hate bad magicians, but I’d love to find a great magician. I’d like to find the next N*Sync or the next Backstreet Boys, the next Justin Bieber. I’ve always dreamt about finding a dog who can play guitar. And we’ve failed. So I want talented dogs. I really want one that can dance or can play an instrument.” Live auditions for the upcoming series of Britain’s Got Talent will begin Jan. 22. –THR

Hot in Cleveland is upping its class with a new, particularly vibrant guest casting move: Liza Minelli will be joining Betty White, Wendy Malick, Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli on the TVLand sitcom. Minelli will be playing the agent of Malick’s character Victoria, an aspiring actress. All generations should be glad to hear of this—Liza wowed the ’70s with Cabaret, delighted the ’80s with Arthur, and dominated the post-millenium as Arrested Development‘s Lucille 2. Hot in Cleveland airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TVLand. –TVLine

NBC is working on two new pilots that touch upon the elements of science-fiction. The first is titled Beautiful People, and is set in a world where humans and lifelike androids coexist in a world where the latter are abused and mistreated as functioning members of society. NBC has cast James Murray of Chaos and Patrick Heusinger of Royal Pains to star as a successful human and a “defective” Mechanical (which means he can feel certain “forbidden” emotions) respectively. The second pilot is a comedy/sci-fi project called Isabel, and will star young Sophia Mitri Schloss (Grimm, Ira Finklestein’s Christmas) as the title character: a girl with magical abilities and the youngest member of a hostile middle-class family. –Deadline, Deadline