EXCLUSIVE: Gossip Girl heartthrob Chace Crawford is returning to television as the lead in ABC drama pilot Boom, from producer Tony Krantz and ABC Signature. He joins previously cast Don Johnson and Delroy Lindo for what is shaping up to be a cast of boldface names.

Written by Josh Pate and Rodes Fishburne and directed by Jonas Pate, Boom examines the biggest oil discovery in American history which has triggered a geopolitical shift and an economic boom in North Dakota on a scale not seen since the 1849 California Gold Rush. The show tracks the epic pilgrimage of a young, ambitious couple, Billy (Crawford) and Kelly, to the oil fields of the Bakken seeking their fortune and a better life. Handsome and ambitious, with moxie and savvy to burn, Billy is a born hustler who trusts to his luck and his quick wits. After a road accident leaves him and Kelly stranded on foot, broke and heavily in debt, he gets wind of a big deal, and moves fast to secure an impregnable position for himself — but in so doing, he’s betting his life.

Crawford, whose feature credits include What to Expect When Expecting and Twelve, is repped by Eric Podwall and CAA.