Pilots 'Ava,' 'Virgin' land at Lifetime


Lifetime has greenlighted two one-hour pilots, "The Madness of Ava" and "The Virgin of Akron, Ohio," and has tapped Ever Carradine for the title role in "Ava."

"Ava," from veteran comedy writer Rob LaZebnik and "24" executive producers Howard Gordon, Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, is described as a female-lead "House." It centers on a brilliant neurologist (Carradine) who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and how that affects her life and family. Fox 21 is producing the project, which is based on the true story of a New England doctor.

"Ava" was written on spec and sent to Lifetime's entertainment president Susanne Daniels and senior vp series development Maria Grasso.

"We loved it," Daniels said. "We thought it was smart and warm and funny and interesting."

Tucker Gates is set to direct the pilot, which is slated to begin production in Vancouver early next year.

"Virgin," from Fox TV Studios, centers on a young woman in Manhattan who, after a stint in rehab, is sent back to her Ohio town to do community service and live with her dysfunctional family.

"The irony of that is that those are the people who got her messed up in the first place and who have no respect for their daughter," Daniels said.

The woman becomes a local celebrity after published reports say that a vision of Virgin Mary came down to bless her after she had a car accident on her way home.

Jordan Budde penned the script and is executive producing with Cary Brokaw. Aaron Geller is co-executive producing.

Carradine recurs as Anne Heche's younger sister on the new ABC drama "Men in Trees." Her series credits include ABC's "Commander in Chief" and "Once and Again" and FX's "Lucky."

She is repped by the Gersh Agency and Management 360.

LaZebnik has worked on such series as "The Simpsons," "The Ellen Show," "Greetings From Tucson" and "Less Than Perfect." He is repped by CAA and attorney Jim Jackoway.

Budde, whose TV credits include "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Northern Exposure," penned the script "Texas Law" for CBS last development season. He also wrote the feature script "The Way Out," which has been optioned by David Duchovny, as well as the plays "Fraternity" and "Heaven's Hard."

Budde is repped by WMA.

"Ava" and "Virgin" bring the number of pilots ordered by Lifetime in the past several months to six, including the Touchstone TV-produced "Army Wives," which was recently picked up to series; "State of Mind" and "Side Order of Life," both from Warner Horizon Television; and "Conspiracy," from Fox TV Studios. In addition to "Wives," Daniels plans to greenlight another series for a June premiere and a third for a fall '07 or January '08 debut.