The studio will develop a show for the international superstar or cast her in an existing project
The Indian film actress and singer — and Miss World 2000 — has signed a talent holding deal with ABC Studios, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Under the one-year pact, ABC will either develop a starring vehicle for Chopra or cast the actress (with 8 million Twitter followers and another 15.4 million fans on Facebook) in an existing project set for fall 2015.
The deal marks the first U.S. development pact for Chopra, who has starred in more than 45 films and is quickly becoming one of the most recognized talents in the world. The ABC deal comes after she had a voice role in the animated feature Planes. Chopra’s first single, “In My City,” was also selected as the theme song to the 2013 season of the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football and her cover of BonnieRaitt‘s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was featured in a nationwide campaign for Beats By Dre. She also became the first woman of Indian descent to be named a Guess Girl.
ABC exec vp casting Keli Lee, who spearheads thenetwork’s diversity casting program, traveled to Mumbai to sign Chopra. The executive played a major role in casting Scandal‘s Kerry Washington,Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara and Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sandra Oh as part of the network’s diversity push.
“To a storyteller, each platform of performance offers its own artistic challenges, and if you have a good story to tell, regardless of the platform, audiences will follow,” Chopra said. “I’ve been a longtime fan of ABC shows, and an admirer of how the network has changed the landscape of TV through the diversity of their lead characters. As an intrinsic creative, I am drawn to opportunities that test me in new ways. I’m honored by the opportunity to share my talent with a game-changing network, and I’m very much looking forward to participate in this new endeavor.”
Chopra’s talent deal comes as the network bet big on diversity this past pilot season with black- and Asian-American-led series including How to Get Away With Murder, Black-ishand Fresh Off the Boat, among others.
“Watching in awe as ABC created a slate of strong shows with leading diverse women made ABC the obvious home for us,” said Anjula Acharia Bath, Chopra’s manager. “Pop culture today is driven by a myriad of incredible cult TV shows, gripping audiences around the world. The characters are richer, plots are deeper and the production values are higher than ever before. From writers, directors, producers and of course A-list actors, the talent TV attracts today is second to none. To put Priynaka in a room with the industry’s top experts, allowing her talent to shine, which has entertained people around the globe for years, is an opportunity far too great to pass by.”
Chopra is repped by CAA and Bath.