Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) has landed the female lead opposite Eric Roberts in ABC’s drama pilot Grace, from writer Krista Vernoff. A dysfunctional family drama set in the world of professional dance, it centers on Michael Grace (Roberts), a famous choreographer who tends to sleep with his dancers and has three daughters with different mothers. He is in danger of losing his studio until his daughter Sarah (Spencer), a former dancer-turned-lawyer, decides to buy her father’s studio and run it for him before he loses it. Spencer, repped by ICM and Untitled, recently filmed the features Cowboys and Aliens and A Haunting in Georgia.
Heroes alum Stephen Tobolowsky has joined CBS’ drama pilot Hail Mary. The project, created by Jeff Wadlow and exec produced by Ilene Chaiken, is a buddy P.I. show set in Atlanta that stars Minnie Driver as Mary Beth, a suburban single mom who teams up with a streetwise hustler to solve crimes. Tobolowsky will play a private detective hired by Mary Beth to investigate her son’s death who helps her get her own PI license so she can investigate the death herself.
Jay Paulson has been added to ABC’s drama pilot Identity. The project, from ABC Studios and writer John Glenn, is an action procedural based on a British format, which is centered on an elite police unit formed to combat the explosion of identity-related crime. Paulson will play the rookie agent on the squad.
Daniella Alonso has boarded Stephen Gaghan’s pilot for NBC S.I.L.A., a complex drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. The project, from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment, centers on detective Terry Mullins, who works in L.A. Mayor Virgilio Zaragoza’s Special Investigations Unit. Alonso will play a former newscaster type who’s now the press liaison for Mayor Zaragoza. Also cast in the pilot is Matthew Levy as Max, an adrenaline junkie teen.
Mark Povinelli has been added to the NBC multicamera comedy pilot Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, inspired by Chelsea Handler’s autobiographical book of the same name about her life in her 20s.