Some goodies in today's pilot-casting news!

" Former SNL funny lady Molly Shannon (as in, from back when SNL was funny) has been tapped to play Natasha Richardson's sister (and a possible murderess) in NBC's comedy soap, The Mastersons of Manhattan.

" Big-screen bruiser Ving Rhames has joined the cast of ABC's Americanized version of Footballers Wives, called Football Wives, as the team's general manager.

" O.C. cutie Samaire Armstrong has been tapped to play, in essence, Paris Hilton in ABC's Dirty Money drama, with Peter Krause.

" Boston Public principal Chi McBride can expect a bouquet from ABC for joining its drama, Pushing Daisies; in it, he plays a private dick who goes into business with a guy who can make Lazarus of anyone.

" And finally, someday-star (trust me on this) Jennifer Esposito has been signed to ABC's amnesiac comedy, Sam I Am, though unfortunately not as the amnesiac.