ABC Family nears 'Little Liars' pickup

Lucy Hale closing deal to star in Warner Horizon, Alloy drama

ABC Family is close to giving a pilot order to the drama "Pretty Little Liars."

"Privileged" star Lucy Hale is finalizing a deal to topline the project based on Alloy Entertainment's series of young-adult novels by Sara Shepard.

Adapted for TV by Marlene King, "Liars" is set three years after the disappearance of the manipulative and vindictive "Queen Bee" Alison. It revolves around her four 16-year-old girlfriends, Aria (Hale), Emily, Spencer and Hanna, who have lost touch with one another until each of them begins to receive mysterious messages suggesting that Alison is watching them and knows every secret they're desperate to keep. The messages don't stop even after Alison's body finally is discovered.

Warner Horizon and Alloy Entertainment are producing "Liars"; Bob Levy, Leslie Morgenstein and King are executive producing.

Alloy and Warners have been looking to turn "Liars" into a TV series for several years. In 2005, it was set up at WB Network with a different writer on board.

Hale, who recently appeared in the Lifetime original movie "Sorority Wars," also appeared in another Alloy screen adaptation, the 2008 feature "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2."