It's 'Lights Out' for Melora Hardin

Actress playing surgeon on FX pilot

Melora Hardin of "The Office" is moving to cable, landing the female lead opposite Holt McCallany on FX's drama pilot "Lights Out."

Elias Koteas and Kevin Conway also have been tapped as leads on the pilot from Fox TV Studios and FX Prods.

Penned by Justin Zackham, "Lights Out" centers on Patrick "Lights Out" Leary (McCallany), an aging former heavyweight boxing champion who struggles to find his identity and support his wife (Hardin), a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and three daughters after his fighting days are over.

That leads him to take a job as a legbreaker, collecting on unpaid gambling debts. He is diagnosed with pugilistic dementia (a neurological disorder that affects boxers who receive multiple blows to the head), so he decides he'll need to make another big payday to support himself and his family before his brain turns to jelly.

Conway will play Lights' father and former trainer, a widower who still runs a gym. Koteas will play Lights' boyhood friend who is his manager/business partner.

Clark Johnson is directing the pilot, which is slated to begin April 15 in New Jersey. Zackham is exec producing with Phillip Noyce and Ross Fineman.

On "The Office," Hardin has played Jan Levinson, Michael Scott's (Steve Carell) former boss and ex-girlfriend. She was last seen in the Oct. 16 "Baby Shower" episode in which she brought her newborn baby to the Dunder Mifflin office, creating tension between her, Michael and his new love Holly (Amy Ryan).

Hardin won't appear on the show's remaining episodes this season, on which she is still formally a regular. She is expected to guest star in one or more episodes next season.

Hardin co-stars in the April boxoffice releases "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and "17 Again." She also recurs as Adrian Monk's (Tony Shalhoub) dead wife on "Monk."

Koteas was recently seen in "The Haunting in Connecticut" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Conway's series credits include "The Black Donnellys," "The Bronx Is Burning" and "Oz."
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