February 11, 2014 11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
JoAnna Garcia Boards ABC's 'Astronaut Wives Club'
ABC's Astronaut Wives Club has cast its first wife.
Once Upon a Time's JoAnna Garcia Swisher has boarded the summer series from executive producer Stephanie Savage, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Astronaut Wives Club hails from Fake Empire's Savage, who will pen the script and executive produce the ABC Studios vehicle via the banner she runs with Josh Schwartz. Fake Empire president of TV Len Goldstein and Schwartz will executive produce alongside Michael London's Groundswell.
The 1960s-set drama tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. The drama marks the first pilot Savage has written since she co-created The CW's long-running Gossip Girl with Schwartz. The project is based on Lily Koppel's best-selling novel published last summer. Janice Williams brought the project to Groundswell.
Garcia Swisher will play Betty Grissom. A bouncy redhead with curls askew and a folksy Hoosier accent, she is the wife of Gus Grissom, one of the original astronauts. The character has a down-home appeal, which endears her to the public. She also seems to have something of a clairvoyant gift when it comes to her dreams, which often prove all too accurate. Terrified that her husband will die, Betty is growing increasingly nervous. She worked hard to put Gus through college and raised their son solo while he was off at war, and she is beginning to feel like they're no longer a team.
ABC picked up Astronaut Wives Club to series less than two weeks after ordering the drama to pilot. The 10-episode drama will air in the summer on ABC, joining Mistresses, as the network beefs up its original scripted fare for that part of the year.
The casting continues Garcia Swisher's relationship with ABC, where she's been recurring as Ariel on Sunday drama Once Upon a Time. The series also marks a reunion for Garcia Swisher with Savage after the former guest-starred for four episodes Gossip Girl.
Garcia Swisher, whose credits also include Animal Practice, Royal Pains and Better With You, is repped by WME and John Carrabino.