ABC Green Lights Heaton Pilot

It’s a go for ABC’s The Middle.

After closing a deal with Patricia Heaton for the lead, the network has greenlighted the comedy pilot, tapping Julie Anne Robinson to direct.

Additionally, Robinson has landed a blind pilot directing commitment at ABC Studios to helm another pilot this development cycle.

The Warner Bros. TV-produced Middle, written by DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, tells the story of a middle-class Midwestern family through the eyes of the mother (Heaton).

ABC, which originally developed the project during the 2006-07 development cycle when it was picked up to pilot and starred Ricki Lake, resurrected it in the summer with a pilot order contingent on casting Heaton. Production on Middle is slated to begin in February.

It has been a busy two years for Robinson, who came to Los Angeles in 2006 from the U.K., where she directed the pilot and several episodes of the BBC’s Blackpool and other series and TV movies, earning two BAFTA nominations.

On this side of the pond, Robinson has helmed episodes of ABC/ABC Studios’ Grey’s Anatomy and Samantha Who? and of Showtime’s Weeds and HBO’s Big Love. Robinson, repped by UTA and London’s Independent Talent Group, also directed Girls on a Bus, a 2006 comedy pilot for ABC/ABC Studios.