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ABC votes Bello for ‘Governor’

Thesp could run state in sitcom co-written with McDermott

ABC is close to inking a deal with former “ER” regular Maria Bello to star in “The Governor,” a half-hour, single-camera laffer targeted for the net’s 2002-03 sked.

Bello — who also starred in last summer’s “Coyote Ugly” — wrote the pilot script for the project with Dan McDermott, the prexy of DreamWorks Television and Bello’s longtime boyfriend and partner. Both will serve as exec producers of the laffer should it become a series.

Alphabet is readying a premium script commitment to “The Governor,” in which Bello would play a blue-collar woman who, through a series of events, ends up running a state.

While McDermott helped write the script, DreamWorks is not currently attached to the deal — nor is any individual studio. The reason: Project is still in search of a showrunner, and the parties involved didn’t want to limit the potential pool of producer candidates by automatically signing with DreamWorks.

DreamWorks could still end up associated with “The Governor,” however. And if the project does end up as a series for another studio, DreamWorks is expected to have a small, passive stake in the show’s backend — recognition of the fact that McDermott is a DreamWorks employee.

McDermott, however, is not expected to have any day-to-day involvement in producing “The Governor,” allowing Bello and any future exec producers to do most of the heavy lifting.

Bello most recently starred in the pilot “Born in Brooklyn,” a half-hour comedy which failed to make the ABC fall sked. From 1996-98, thesp starred as Dr. Anna Del Amico on “ER.”

On the feature side, Bello’s recent credits include “Payback,” “Duets” and “Permanent Midnight.”

Bello began her career on the now-canceled ABC sudser “Ryan’s Hope.”

Deal was brokered by CAA and Bello rep Bob Myman.

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