CBS Is Puttin' On the Smits

When TV viewers last saw Jimmy Smits, he'd just been sworn in as president of the United States, but now the Emmy-winning actor is starting from scratch.

The former "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue" actor has signed on for a slew of new TV projects as a producer and a new CBS pilot as star.

According to the industry trade papers, Smits will take the lead and executive producer CBS' currently untitled Cynthia Cidre drama, while also producing an FX drama pilot and an ABC miniseries through his El Sendero shingle.

The Cidre pilot was formerly known as "Los Duques," and focuses on a multi-generational Latin American family working in South Florida's rum business. Smits will play Alex Vega, an outsider given control of the Duque Rum works. The pilot was previously set up at CBS' in-house CBS Paramount Network TV, but due to Smits' production deal with ABC TV Studios, that company will now co-produce.

Over at ABC, Smits and Gregory Nava ("My Family/ Mi Familia") will re-team on what is described as an epic miniseries about the U.S. immigration experience. Nava ("El Norte") will write and direct the series of connected stories.

Smits' FX pilot is titled "The Inside," about a former SpecialOps agent who goes deep undercover in a drug cartel. Todd Robinson will write and executive produce.

Other recent credits for Smits include the last two "Star Wars" prequels, HBO's "Lackawanna Blues" and the upcoming "Jane Austen Book Club."

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