Peacock locks Locklear

Thesp makes new development pact with network

NBC is renewing its quest to find a series vehicle for Heather Locklear.

Peacock has signed a talent holding deal with Locklear and will seek to develop a comedy or drama series for the thesp. Locklear starred in last spring’s NBC comedy pilot “Once Around the Park,” which wasn’t picked up to series.

NBC’s option on Locklear had been set to expire, but the new deal extends the net’s hold on the thesp until June 2004. There’s a chance “Park” could be revived — NBC must decide by December — but if not, the new deal gives the Peacock another shot to find or develop a new project for Locklear.

Last year, Locklear chose to remain a free agent through much of development season, waiting until the right project came up. She ultimately chose “Once Around the Park,” in which she played a divorced mom of two kids (Daily Variety, Feb. 26).

Early buzz on the pilot was positive, but NBC execs ultimately opted against the project. There were then conversations about casting Locklear in the net’s “Good Morning, Miami,” but those talks didn’t lead to the actress joining the skein.

“I think there are very few proven, successful television stars today and there’s no doubt Heather Locklear is one of them,” NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker told Daily Variety last winter when he first signed Locklear. “She’s funny, she’s dramatic, she’s lovable.”

While “Park’s” fare is unclear, Locklear’s bankability as a TV star remains impressive.

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 arc on the show last season.

Locklear’s repped by ICM, Joan Green Management and Jerry Edelstein.