A handful of other shows have beefed up their casts as well. Brian White is joining TNT's pilot "Men of a Certain Age," Hector Jimenez has come aboard FOX's "The Emancipation of Ernesto" and Christina Moore will recur on The CW's "90210."
"The Middle," a single-camera show that follows the daily travails of a middle-class woman in the Midwest, was originally developed for last season and was among ABC's last cuts when it put together the 2007-08 schedule. Written by Deann Heline and Eileen Heisler, the show starred Ricki Lake in its initial incarnation.
Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC has given a new cast-contingent pilot order to the project with an eye toward landing Heaton as its star. She starred in FOX's "Back to You" last season and is a two-time Emmy winner for "Everybody Loves Raymond."
Heaton's "Raymond" co-star, Ray Romano, is co-writing and starring in "Men of Certain Age," a dramedy about three close friends in their 40s (Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula). White ("The Game Plan") will play a guy who works at the car dealership owned by Braugher's father.
"The Emancipation of Ernesto" stars Wilmer Valderrama ("That '70s Show") as an innocent who goes searching for his father in Los Angeles. Jimenez ("Nacho Libre") will play a day laborer who aids Ernesto in his quest. Finally, Moore ("Hot Properties") will play the mother of Annalynne McCord's character on "90210," a woman who shares a past with Rob Estes' Harry Mills.