By Lynette Rice
February 05, 2013 at 05:06 PM EST
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

In the next few weeks, the broadcast networks are going to need several high-profile actors to play assassins, vigilantes, Naval officers, and a Texas Ranger — among many, many other roles.

Now that the networks are wrapping their drama pilot orders and ordering comedies in earnest, the time has come to lasso the next big name that will generate heat (and eyeballs) come fall 2013. So far, CBS has been ahead of the game by snagging two headline-worthy actors to top a pair of comedies. Robin Williams has been cast in a workplace comedy, and Anna Faris will play a single mom in Chuck Lorre’s next comedy. But there are many other intriguing actors whose names have surfaced as possible contenders for drama and comedy pilots — assuming they find the right project (or haven’t already booked something in the time it took us to write this). Here are some new (and returning) actors who have us crossing our fingers.

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Hugh Laurie. The popular English actor played his cards right by taking some time off to get viewers to forget his House.

Rose Byrne. Her extremely memorable turn in Bridesmaids showed the world she can play comedy as well as drama (Damages). But does she really want to come back to the small screen to play, say, an FBI agent?

Dakota Johnson. Ben & Kate was pretty much dead on arrival for Fox, but this adorable blonde still demonstrated that she deserves many, many chances in primetime.

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Rainn Wilson. Since NBC passed on his Office spinoff dubbed The Farm, the funny man is blissfully up for grabs.

William Peterson. There was a short period where it looked like he would follow up his long and beloved run on CSI by doing a hit-man drama for pay cable. That fell through — and now we’re hoping he’ll consider a broadcast comeback to relieve the longing in our hearts.

Josh Holloway. Why this Lost hottie isn’t starring in his own action series is beyond me.

Maggie Gyllenhaal. She was tied to that high-profile Corrections pilot at HBO — but that fell through. Would she be willing to do 13 episodes of, say, an ABC drama?

Chris Meloni. He was able to break from type and play a golf-playing vampire on True Blood. Is the sexy ex-star of SVU ready to assume another position of authority for NBC?

Krysten Ritter. She was dang funny in Apt. 23 but that didn’t last for ABC. Maybe she’ll try again for the Alphabet, or look for greener pastures on Fox?

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