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Christine Lahti Replaces Rita Wilson In Fox University Drama Pilot

Deadline logo Deadline 3/16/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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Emmy winner Christine Lahti is set to co-star opposite Archie Panjabi and Austin Stowell in Fox’s untitled university drama pilot (formerly known as Controversy), written by Up in the Air co-writer Sheldon Turner, directed by This Is Us’ John Requa & Glenn Ficarra and executive produced by Scandal co-executive producer Judy Smith.

Lahti is a late addition to the pilot, replacing Rita Wilson, who originally was cast in the role. I hear Wilson’s exit came down to scheduling conflicts as she was not available for key production dates and could not attend the table read.

The untitled drama, from 20th TV and Turner and Jennifer Klein’s Vendetta Productions, tackles the hot-button topic of college campus sexual assault. It centers on Matt Kellerman (Stowell), the Junior Counsel of a prestigious Illinois university who must deal with an out-of-control scandal when a female student accuses several star football players of sexual assault. He gets to work with Jourdan Price (Panjabi), a crisis-management consultant brought in to help with the scandal. From the football coaches and boosters who wield outsize influence, to a university administration under siege, the series explores the high-profile controversy as well as the corrosive, dangerous nature of institutional power.

Lahti will play Constance Hawthorne, the dignified but fierce head of EPU Board of Trustees.

Smith, a real-life top crisis-management consultant, executive produces the pilot alongside Turner & Klein via Vendetta and Requa, Ficarra & Charlie Gogolak via Zaftig Films.

Lahti is an Emmy and Golden Globe winner for her role on Chicago Hope and has an Oscar nomination for Swing Shift. Like Wilson, she guest starred on The Good Wife. Lahti recently recurred on The Blacklist and reprised her role on The Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight. She is repped by ICM Partners and Echo Lake Entertainment.

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