Saamer Usmani has landed the male lead opposite Reba McEntire in ABC’s Marc Cherry drama pilot, from ABC Studios. Also cast as a series regular in the pilot is veteran actor W. Earl Brown (Deadwood).

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Written by Cherry and directed by Michael Offer, the untitled project stars McEntire as Ruby Adair, the sheriff of colorful small town Oxblood, KY, who finds her red-state outlook challenged when Tag Fayad (Usmani), a young FBI agent of Middle Eastern descent, is sent to help her solve a horrific crime. Fayad is met with suspicion and hostility by the local populace. A brilliant man, he can be fairly snarky and disdainful to those he sees as intellectual inferiors. Brown will play Deputy Joe Paul, who works under Ruby and shares immense tension with Fayad.

Usmani has had guest roles in TV series including Reign, Nikita and Covert Affairs. He’s repped by Gersh, Edna Talent Management and Anonymous Content.

Brown is known for his roles as Dan Dority on HBO’s Deadwood and Hugo Root on AMC’s Preacher. He appears in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet and next will be seen Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. Earl is repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency and manager Lynn Rawlins.