Lifetime has found its “Diva” diva.
Newcomer Brooke Elliott has been tapped to star in the cabler’s drama project “Drop Dead Diva,” while Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have also joined the show as exec producers.
Zadan and Meron will exec produce alongside series writer-creator Josh Berman. Also joining the project: Jim Hayman (“Ugly Betty”), who will direct the pilot.
“We were looking for something totally unique that had a different tone,” Zadan said. “This show is touching and moving and also funny and clever.”
“Drop Dead Diva,” a Sony Pictures Television project that Berman originally developed at Fox last year prior to the WGA strike, revolves around a vapid wannabe model who suddenly dies and finds her soul entering the body of a brilliant, overweight attorney.
Zadan said the producers struggled to find the right thesp for the role — similar to their wide search a year earlier for their “Hairspray” feature — but eventually found stage actress Elliott.
Thesp’s legit credits include “The Pirate Queen,” “Wicked” and “Taboo.”
“We had to find somebody who’s a beautiful leading lady, who can do the comedy and drama, and with Brooke, she nailed it,” Zadan said. “It’s a hard role to play, you’ve got to get to the duality of the character — she’ll be playing two women in the same body.”
Zadan and Meron have been growing their relationship with Lifetime, having also landed the TV movie “Living Proof” there.