Pilots: Sarah Chalke joins ABC's 'Freshmen' class

sarah-chalke-scrubs-320.jpg Sarah Chalke is transitioning from medicine to politics, taking a lead role in ABC's comedy pilot "Freshmen."

The former "Scrubs" star will play one of three new members of Congress who share a Washington house, the showbiz trade papers report. Her character will be a successful businesswoman who breezed to victory in her election -- but has a terrible track record in relationships.

Chalke has guested on a couple episodes of "Scrubs" this season but finished her regular run on the show last year. Her credits also include "Roseanne" and a guest arc on "How I Met Your Mother," where she worked with "Freshmen" creator Greg Malins.

Other casting news:

- Zooey Deschanel ("(500) Days of Summer") is set to star in an HBO pilot based on Pamela Des Barres' memoir of her groupie days, "I'm with the Band." She'll also be an executive producer of the project, Deadline Hollywood says. Deschanel's manager, Sarah Jackson, and Tim Gibbons ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") will also exec produce.

- Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen will star in ABC's "Scoundrels," a series scheduled to run this summer. The "Sideways" star will play the matriarch of a family of criminals who decides to go straight; it's an adaptation of a New Zealand series called "Outrageous Fortune." (ABC took a stab at adapting the show a couple years ago with a pilot called "Good Behavior" that didn't make the cut.)

- Former "Daily Show" correspondent Rob Riggle will star in a CBS comedy called "Team Spitz." He'll play a high-school football coach in the pilot, the trades say; Bill Martin and Mike Schiff ("Hank," "Grounded for Life") are writing it.

- Comedian Billy Gardell ("My Name Is Earl," "Lucky") will star in CBS' comedy "Mike and Molly," and Harish Patel has joined the cast of FOX's pilot "Nevermind Nirvana."

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Photo credit: ABC