Pietz wins race for topical 'Novak' lead


Amy Pietz has been tapped for the title role in Lifetime's drama pilot "The Amazing Mrs. Novak."

The Warner Horizon/Kudos project, based on the six-part U.K. series "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard," centers on Trish Novak (Pietz), a supermarket manager who unexpectedly becomes the governor of New Jersey.

Also cast in the pilot are Tom Verica as Novak's husband Frank and Kristen Dattilo as Goldie, her sister-in-law.

"Mrs. Novak," which was picked up in early August, has garnered a lot of heat recently with the ascent of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the Republican presidential ticket.

Vanessa Taylor is the project's writer-showrunner. She exec produces with Carolyn Bernstein, Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett.

Pietz ("Aliens in America") is repped by Innovative.

Actor-director Verica ("American Dreams") is repped by IFA. Dattilo ("Dexter") is with Stone Manners and Kritzer/Levine/ Wilkins.

Verica next guest stars on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and next directs an episode of NBC's "My Own Worst Enemy."

"Mrs. Novak" is one of a few pilots picked up by Lifetime, including another U.K. adaptation, "Mistresses," about a quartet of thirtysomething women who have been friends since college. Another is "Drop Dead Diva," about a vapid model whose mind is put in the body of a brilliant but frumpy lawyer.(partialdiff)