‘Walking Dead’ Star Lauren Cohan, Without Season 9 Contract, Books Lead in ABC Pilot

The actress, who has been battling AMC over her future salary, will star opposite Scott Foley in ‘Whiskey Cavalier.’
Lauren Cohan is mulling walking away from The Walking Dead.

The actress, who has starred as Maggie since season two of the AMC zombie drama, has booked a lead role in ABC drama pilot Whiskey Cavalier.

Cohan has emerged as one of the most in-demand actresses this pilot season. Sources tell THR that she has been actively looking for her next role as she battles AMC over her season nine salary. With Walking Dead already renewed for a ninth season, Cohan does not have a deal in place to return to the show. Sources say the actress and her agents are not happy with the offers that have been on the table from AMC. Although Cohan is not seeking salary parity with male leads Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, her camp and AMC have been engaged in a months-long negotiation that remains far apart. Insiders suggest that she is actively looking for her next job and not trying to use the pilot casting process to force AMC’s hand as the actress’s camp remains frustrated by AMC’s lowball offers. Other sources note AMC has made “aggressive offers” to re-sign Cohan for season nine.

The situation could play out in several ways: Cohan leaves The Walking Dead after season eight; she re-signs to return for season nine as a regular; Whiskey Cavalier moves forward and Cohan either returns for a handful of TWD episodes or walks away from the zombie franchise entirely; or the pilot doesn’t go to series and the actress opts to leave or return in either a full-time or limited capacity.

Nathan Fillion, left, stars in ABC’s ‘The Rookie’; Gabrielle Union toplines NBC’s ‘Bad Boys’ spinoff; and ‘Empire’ co-creator Lee Daniels is working on his first comedy pilot.

Whiskey Cavalier, starring Scandal’s Scott Foley, is described as a high-octane hourlong action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super agent Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”) who, following an emotional breakup, is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”). Together, they lead an interagency team of flawed, funny, heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics.

Foely plays Whiskey, while Cohan will take on the role of Frankie, the quick, cunning and completely fearless CIA operative who finds herself tasked with taking out the same target Chase is assigned to protect. As they trade their quarry back and forth, the two of them get in each other’s way, each other’s secrets and each other’s line of fire.

Dave Hemingson penned the script and exec produces the Warner Bros. Television pilot alongside Doozer Productions’ Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold and Peter Atencio, the latter of whom will direct the pilot. Foley will produce the drama.