Stephen M. Silverman
January 29, 2004 11:05 AM

Nick Lachey has signed to star in a comedy or drama pilot for ABC that could reach high-six figures and put him on the path to a feature film, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The announcement follows the news earlier this week that Lachey’s wife, Jessica Simpson, is now set for her movie debut, playing a high-school sweetheart of a ballplayer, David Clyde, in director Walter Hill’s “Walk On,” a baseball drama based on a true 1973 story about the Texas Rangers. (Clyde, an 18-year-old, was seen as the team’s salvation.)

In Lachey’s case, this new deal is in addition to the already announced variety special that Lachey, 30, and Simpson, 23, are doing for ABC. This Sunday, she also will be performing at the Super Bowl.

Lachey’s TV career has been blooming of late. The former 98 Degrees singer and current star of “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica” recently did a guest spot on NBC’s “American Dreams” playing a young Tom Jones. (The episode airs Feb. 15.)

“Newlyweds” also is still going strong, according to Nielsen ratings. Its second-season premiere last week attracted 4.7 million viewers, its largest audience to date.

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