EXCLUSIVE: After a lengthy casting process, Christine Woods (FlashForward) has landed the female lead opposite Stephen Merchant in Hello Ladies, HBO’s comedy pilot co-written, directed by and starring Merchant. The project stars the 6′-7″ Merchant as Stephen, a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. I hear Woods will play Jessica, an occasional actress who rents Stephen’s guest house from him. She denies that there is any chemistry between them and always gives Stephen a hard time in a light-hearted way. In the pilot, Woods joins recently cast Nate Torrence and Kevin Weisman.

Merchant, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky wrote the pilot and are executive producing. HBO is producing in association with ABC Studios. Christine Woods, repped by Gersh and Emery Entertainment, is doing a guest arc on the new NBC comedy Go On starring Matthew Perry. She recently starred in the NBC multi-camera pilot Daddy’s Girls this past season and also played a lead on the network’s comedy series Perfect Couples.