Ashley Williams Passes ABC's Bar

Ashley Williams, who had a memorable turn on "How I Met Your Mother" last season, will give comedy another shot in an ABC pilot.

Williams has taken one of the lead roles in an untitled comedy from writers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, in which she'll be playing a young lawyer. In other casting news, the showbiz trade papers report that Tony Award winner Viola Davis ("World Trade Center") has joined NBC's "Ft. Pit," and Reed Diamond ("Judging Amy") has signed on to the Peacock's "Journeyman."

Behind the camera, meanwhile, ABC has tapped Dwight Little ("24," "The Practice") to direct David E. Kelley's pilot "Life on Mars."

The Sachs-Judah comedy follows the personal and professional lives of the young associates at a law firm. The two writers are veterans of "Freaks and Geeks" and ABC's "life as we know it."

Williams is coming off a lead role in the Lifetime movie "Montana Sky," based on the Nora Roberts book, and guest stars on this week's "Law & Order: SVU." Her credits also include "Good Morning, Miami" and recurring parts on "Huff" and "E-Ring."

At NBC, Davis will play the captain of a run-down Brooklyn police precinct in "Ft. Pit." The actress' recent screen credits include a guest role on "Without a Trace," Lifetime's "The Fantasia Barrino Story" and CBS' series of Jesse Stone movies.

Diamond, who guested on several episodes of "Vanished" earlier this season, will play the time-traveling Kevin McKidd's brother in "Journeyman."

"Life on Mars," an adaptation of a BBC series, will reteam Kelley and Little, who directed several episodes of "The Practice." Little has directed the feature films "Halloween 4" and "Murder at 1600" and episodes of "Bones," "Prison Break" and "The Inside."

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