According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Woods has been tapped to star in CBS' drama pilot Shark, lifting the cast contingency on the project, while Spike Lee has come aboard to direct the 20th Century Fox TV/Imagine TV pilot.

The recruitment of Woods and Lee marks a remarkable comeback for the project, about a celebrity attorney-turned-prosecutor, which was all but dead 10 days ago. With a cast contingency hanging over Shark and no lead cast by mid-February -- five weeks before the scheduled production start date -- CBS was quickly losing faith in the project's chances to land a star on time and was preparing to pull the plug. The network already was working on a deal for a late pickup of another drama pilot -- the Joe Pantoliano starrer Waterfront, from ER veteran Jack Orman -- to fill the void left by Shark when, at an eleventh-hour breakfast meeting between Woods and Imagine's Brian Grazer and David Nevins on Feb. 17, Woods agreed to do the pilot.

Brian B.