Wayans feeling ABC's 'Better'

Perabo heads to 'Motor City'; Long, Butz, Lawson also land pilot gigs

Damon Wayans is returning to ABC as the lead of its single-camera comedy pilot "Never Better."

Piper Perabo is joining another ABC pilot, "Prince of Motor City," while Matt Long, Norbert Leo Butz and Ben Lawson have been cast in ABC's untitled David Hemingson dramedy pilot.

On the cable side, David Alan Basche is set to star opposite Debra Messing in USA Network's upcoming series "The Starter Wife," while Kerri Kenney and Rachael Harris have been cast in HBO's pilot "Suburban Shootout."

The Marc Buckland-directed "Never Better," from ABC Studios, centers on a guy (Wayans) trying to be a good husband and father despite his somewhat misguided attempts.

Wayans' casting lifts the contingency on the project. For five seasons, the ICM-repped Wayans starred on the ABC/ABC Studios multicamera comedy "My Wife and Kids."

"Motor City," from ABC Studios, is a gothic family soap inspired by William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," which centers on a young Harvard professor forced to return to Detroit and take over the family's auto company.

Perabo ("Because I Said So") will play his ex-girlfriend who still has feelings for him.

The Dave Hemingson project, from 20th TV, is a legal ensemble about a law school grad (Long) from a blue-collar background who gets lured to join a Los Angeles boutique law firm.

Butz will play the firm's smooth-as-silk, no-holds-barred recruiter. Australian Lawson will play an associate at the firm. He is managed by Untitled.

On "Starter Wife," a follow-up to the high-rated miniseries, Basche will play Kenny Kagan, the Hollywood mogul ex-husband of Molly (Messing).

Basche takes over for Peter Jacobson, who played Kenny in the mini but has since joined Fox's "House" as a regular. The series, from UMS, McGibbon/Parriott and 3 Arts, premieres in October.

Basche is repped by Harden-Curtis Associates and New Wave.

Based on the British series, the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed "Shootout" is a dark comedy about a woman who escapes the city for suburban bliss only to find herself caught between two rival gangs of homicidal housewives vying for control of the town.

Kenney will play Barbara, a battle-hardened gang leader. Harris will play Natalie, a member of the opposite gang who is at odds with Barbara.

Harris is repped by UTA and Principato/Young.(partialdiff)