*Deadline.com is reporting that former “Law & Order” star Jesse Martin, who toplined the ABC/ABC Studios drama pilot “Hallelujah” this past season, is staying at the network, signing a talent holding deal with ABC and ABC Studios.
The one-year pact is tied to “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry’s “Hallelujah,” which didn’t make the cut to series in May but is still alive and is being retooled.
According to Deadline, Cherry is now writing a new script for the project, set in the town of Hallelujah, Tenn., which is being torn apart by the forces of good and evil. While the cast’s options expired at the end of June, there had been talk about two actors from the pilot, Martin and “Lost” alum Terry O’Quinn.
Martin’s talent deal will make him available to reprise his role in the pilot, which tested very well, should the reworked “Hallelujah” be picked up.
Under Martin’s deal with the network, Martin will get first crack at “Hallelujah” as well as ABC pilots targeted for next season. As for Cherry, who has executive produced “ Desperate Housewives” for the past seven years, he is expected to serve as a consultant on the ABC dramedy next season while focusing on development.
Martin, meanwhile, will next be seen in the feature “Joyful Noise” opposite Queen Latifah.