Nellie Andreeva

Three and a half years after her exit from Grey’s Anatomy, Katherine Heigl is looking to return to primetime as the lead of a new drama project, which has been shopped to broadcast and cable networks. NBC appears a strong contender, though I hear that there is interest/offers from multiple networks, so a decision likely won’t be made until next week. It’s written by Alexi Hawley, co-executive producer on Fox’s gritty new drama The Following, and I hear the procedural focuses on how the CIA handles hotspots around the globe, with Heigl playing an adviser/communications liaison for the U.S. president. I’ve learned that feature producer Robert Simonds (The Pink Panther) had been developing the project with Hawley, Heigl and a team of former senior CIA officials. Heigl, who I hear responded to the strong female character at the center of the show, is executive producing with her mother/manager Nancy Heigl, Hawley, Simonds and Julia Franz. There is no studio attached to the drama, which is expected to be laid off after it lands at a network. I hear both broadcast and cable networks are in the running for the project, though Heigl is not expected to return to ABC as I hear the network is not in the mix, likely because of similarity in the setting to ABC’s DC drama Scandal, from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Hawley, identical twin brother to writer-producer Noah Hawley, has worked in TV for the past seven years, including stints on his brother’s ABC series The Unusuals and Castle. His teaming with Heigl was first reported by USA Today.

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