Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Raven Symone is returning to series television as the star of ABC Family’s multi-camera comedy pilot The Great State of Georgia. The project, from ABC Studios, centers on Georgia (Raven Symone), an exuberant curvy performer from the south who is trying to make it big as an actress in New York City. Also cast in the pilot is Brock Cuchna (Melrose Place) as Georgia’s Southern ex-boyfriend who, still madly in love with her, comes to New York to  bring her back home. The pilot was written by author Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes) and Jeff Greenstein (Desperate Housewives). Symone, who landed her first regular TV role on The Cosby Show at age 3, worked non-stop for 18 years until the end of her sitcom That’s So Raven in 2007 when she took 2 years off. She returned to the business this summer as one of the two stars of the ABC Family movie Revenge of the Bridesmaid and went on to pitch the cable network a half-hour project with writer Yvette Lee Bowser for her to star in and produce. The two sides were in negotiations on it when ABC Family brass brought up Georgia. Atlanta, Georgia-born Symone was interested, leading to her getting her cast as the lead. With the casting of Symone, repped by UTA and the Collective, ABC Family is sticking to its strategy of tapping sitcom veterans as the leads of its half-hour comedies, a genre the network recently ventured into with Melissa & Joey, toplined by Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence.

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