Crime-solving socialite focus of hour pilot

Think of a crime-solving Paris Hilton, and you’ve got the idea behind “Mystery Girl,” an hourlong UPN drama pilot presentation from exec producer Howard Gordon (“24″) and helmer Adam Shankman (“Bringing Down the House”).

Net has greenlit production on the 20th Century Fox TV pilot, which revolves around a trendy society gal/magazine writer who finds herself tackling mysteries surrounding the rich and infamous. Liz Heldens (“Boston Public”) wrote and will exec produce the pilot, along with Gordon and exec-turned-producer Rob Dwek.

Newcomer cast

Tyro thesp Alex Breckenridge has been cast in the title role. Project could land on the air as early as late April, though a fall bow is more likely.

“Mystery Girl” had been in development at Fox Broadcasting Co. a couple of years ago but didn’t move forward. At that time, Regency TV also was involved; when former Regency exec Maggie Murphy jumped to UPN, she decided to redevelop the idea for the network.

‘Fun, fresh show’

“Maggie brought it to (UPN topper) Dawn Ostroff’s attention, and it was a perfect fit for what they were looking for,” Gordon said. “It’s going to be a fun, fresh show.”

Gordon said Breckenridge’s character will be “caught between her deep-down superficiality and the sneaking suspicion she has that there’s more to life than Prada.”

Project has been in development at UPN for several months, with a formal greenlight delayed by tough negotiations between 20th and the network over a license fee agreement. Net ultimately agreed to up its standard license fee in order to land the 20th project.

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