Laverne Cox-Led Psychic Drama From Elizabeth Banks, Heather Mitchell Lands ABC Put Pilot Order (EXCLUSIVE)

Laverne Cox Elizabeth Banks
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ABC has given a put pilot order to a new drama starring Laverne CoxVariety has learned exclusively.

Currently titled “Spirited,” the one-hour drama would follow a fake psychic (Cox) who realizes she can really communicate with the dead. She decides to put her con-woman past behind her and actually start helping people.

Elizabeth Banks is attached as an executive producer under her Brownstone Productions banner. Brownstone’s Max Handelman will also executive produce. Heather Mitchell, who previously wrote for and produced “Scandal” and developed “Still Star-Crossed” for television, will serve as writer and executive producer.  Warner Bros. Television, where Brownstone is under an overall deal, will produce.

Cox is repped by ICM, PH Entertainment Group, and Peikoff Mahan. Banks is repped by UTA, Untitled Untitled Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Mitchell is repped by UTA.

This is not the first time Banks and Cox have collaborated on a TV project. Back in March, Cox was cast as one of the leads in “The Trustee,” a female buddy cop comedy also set up at ABC with Banks executive producing. The project was ultimately not picked up to series.

Should “Spirited” move forward, it would be a return to broadcast for Cox, who most recently starred in the short-lived CBS legal drama “Doubt” opposite Katherine Heigl, Dulé Hill, and Elliott Gould among others. She is best known for playing Sophia Burset in the Netflix prison dramedy “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. She also played the iconic role of Dr. Frank-N- Furter in the Fox remake of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Cox is also well known for her activism on behalf of the trans community, as she is is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. She is also the first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show, VH1’s “TRANSForm Me,” which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

For Banks, in addition to her work as an actress in recent films like “Power Rangers” and series like “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later,” she has been expanding her role as a producer in recent years. In December last year, she and Handelman sold projects to all four broadcast networks.

On the film side, she has produced both installments of the “Pitch Perfect” film franchise and will also produce the upcoming third film. She also directed “Pitch Perfect 2” and appeared in all three films as Gail.  The two released films have collectively made over $400 million at the global box office.

(Pictured: Laverne Cox, left, and Elizabeth Banks, right)

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  1. Robbie says:

    Haven’t we already seen this with The Ghost Whisperer? And how many shots are they going to give Laverne Cox, who can’t act and certainly can’t pull in viewers.

    • Sure Jan says:

      Yeah, sounds like the same thing as Ghost Whisperer, but with the “phony Miss Cleo” twist in the beginning.

    • Haz says:

      Yeah she was miscast in Rocky Horror and her acting was awful in the one episode of Doubt I watched. I’m curious if she is being offered roles due to who she is or if she is having to audition.

    • Will says:

      Golden Globe winner and Enny nominated actressss usually get parts in projects. LaVerne just has to fin the righ project that showcase her persocnilty and abilities. Seems like maybe with some of these roles she was a square peg in round hole. She’s beautiful, likable and talented. Why not not give her a chance? And how does that effect your life by her getting work? Meanwhile scumbags like Charlie Sheen, William Shatner and OJ Simpson get one opportunity after another. Give the girl a break.

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