NBC sources confirm to HitFix that Lauren Graham officially returning to primetime as one of the stars of the midseason dramedy "Parenthood."
The news of Graham's potential involvement was reported earlier in the week by the industry trades and by Michael Ausiello of EW, who said she was negotiating to take the role played by Maura Tierney in the original pilot.
We resisted the urge to report the rumor at the time, just as we resisted reporting the rumor of the network's desire to woo Helen Hunt, which ended up going nowhere. However, with Graham's deal apparently signed, sealed and delivered, we're pleased to welcome our favorite "Gilmore Girl" back to the small screen.
NBC says that "Parenthood" will return to production in mid-November and that only the scenes featuring Graham's character will be reshot for the revised pilot.
Tierney had been set to play single mom Sarah in NBC's new version of the Ron Howard film (previously remade as a short-lived TV series that we're pretending to ignore). In July, "Parenthood" was pushed from fall to midseason to accommodate Tierney's medical problems, later revealed as cancer. The "NewsRadio" star officially left the cast in September when it became clear that her treatment would take longer than the show's planned production delay.
Oscar winner and "Mad About You" star Hunt was the first name mentioned in conjunction to the recasting, though that pie-in-the-sky choice wasn't well-received in the press and appears not to have progressed very far.
Graham's desire to return to TV was already well-known, as she starred in an ABC comedy pilot last development season. In addition to her long run on "Gilmore Girls" and features "Bad Santa" and "Evan Almighty," Graham's TV credits include "Conrad Bloom," "M.Y.O.B." and, yes, a guest turn on "NewsRadio" opposite Tierney.