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Reba McEntire and Marc Cherry Series Picked Up to Pilot at ABC

ABC has ordered a pilot for the Marc Cherry and Reba McEntire series, Variety has learned.

The untitled hourlong drama marks a return to ABC for Cherry, the creator of “Desperate Housewives,” and McEntire, following her sitcom “Malibu Country.”

The pilot follows Ruby Adair (McEntire), the sheriff of colorful small town Oxblood, Kentucky, who finds her red state outlook challenged when a young FBI agent of Middle Eastern descent is sent to help her solve a horrific crime. Together they form an uneasy alliance as Ruby takes the agent behind the lace curtains of this southern gothic community to meet an assortment of bizarre characters, each with a secret of their own.

“I am thrilled to be coming back home to ABC,” said Cherry. “What makes it all the sweeter is Reba McEntire is coming with me. And we can’t wait to share with our fans this wonderful Southern Gothic soap opera we’ve been cooking up for them.”

Cherry is writing the pilot. Both he and McEntire will serve as executive producers, along with his producing partner Sabrina Wind through their Cherry-Wind Productions banner. Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel of Acme Productions are also executive producers. ABC Studios is producing.

The pilot was picked up in December with a hefty penalty, following a bidding war among multiple networks.

The pickup marks the first drama pilot to be ordered at ABC for the 2017-2018 season. The network has also ordered a comedy pilot, “Libby & Malcolm,” from Kenya Barris and Vijal Patel, starring Courtney B. Vance and Felicity Huffman.

Cherry is repped by Paradigm.

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