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After pilot pickups were delayed thanks to another slow development season start, the broadcast networks are now entering crunch time when it comes to casting the more than 70 comedies and dramas vying for a slot on the 2018-19 schedule.

The first wave of far-fetched offers is in the books as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW get down to business as they compete with basic and premium cable networks on top of streaming services for top talent. While short orders, cache and big bucks from cable and streaming outlets are attractive, top stars continue to field multiple offers from the Big Four broadcasters.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Happy Endings favorite Damon Wayans Jr. continues to be among the most in-demand stars. The same is true for Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr., Rosario Dawson, Sleepy Hollow alum Nicole Beharie, Sanaa Lathan and New Girl’s Hannah Simone. (Simone on Monday signed on to star in one of the season’s biggest roles on ABC’s Greatest American Hero reboot.)

Top talent agents have noted that the hardest role to cast this season on the broadcast side is 30-something African-American male and female name stars. To that end, of the few projects that have already cast their leads, many networks have been quick to snap up top talent as inclusive casting remains a top priority. 

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