Network sees actress as a 'proven winner'

NBC has landed the most-wanted woman in TV land: Heather Locklear.

Former “Spin City” and “Melrose Place” thesp has signed on to star in the tentatively titled “Once Around the Park,” a half-hour laffer in which Locklear will play a divorced mother of two kids. Sitcom vets Jamie Widdoes and Flody Suarez will exec produce, with Donald Todd (“Dave’s World”) set to write the pilot; Widdoes will direct.

NBC Studios will produce the pilot, with Touchstone Television loaning out the services of Suarez (“8 Simple Rules”). As a result, Touchstone will get a chunk of any backend on the skein.

Almost every network in town had been chasing Locklear since “Spin City” went off the air last spring. At one point her reps considered landing a seven-figure talent holding deal for Locklear but ultimately decided to hold out for a specific project (Daily Variety, Sept. 6).

In recent months, webs had been sending Locklear scripts in a bid to woo her; thesp at one point was ready to commit to the Peacock drama “HUB.” That deal fell apart (and the show died) because Locklear didn’t want to relocate to Texas for the role due to family concerns.

Zucker said he was happy to have finally found the right project for Locklear.

“I think there are very few proven, successful television stars today and there’s no doubt Heather Locklear is one of them,” he told Daily Variety. “She’s funny, she’s dramatic, she’s lovable. She’s a proven winner.”

Zucker also praised the creative auspices behind the show, calling it a “great team up and down the line.” He also said the skein “has a very relatable story, with a great twist: the kids are trying to keep the divorced parents apart (rather than seek a reconciliation.”)

The demand for Locklear, whose deal was brokered by manager Joan Green and ICM, wasn’t surprising given the thesp’s track record in TV. Virtually every skein she’s been a part of — think “Dynasty,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Melrose Place” — has been a success, often only after she joined the cast. Ratings for NBC’s “Scrubs” even went up when Locklear did a multiepisode are on the show earlier this season.

Both Widdoes and Todd are repped by the Rothman Agency, while Suarez is repped by UTA.

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