Gabrielle Union joins possible "Army Wives" spinoff

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lifetime is taking another step toward launching an “Army Wives” spinoff, casting Gabrielle Union in a pivotal role and planning an “embedded pilot” that will air this season.

The women’s cable network has been developing a “Wives”-inspired crime drama during recent months. Now the project is moving to the next level, with Lifetime airing a special “Wives” episode near the end of the current fourth season that will set the stage to launch the potential series.

In the episode, “Wives” regular Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) returns to her former career and becomes a detective with the Atlanta police department. Union will play her partner, Detective Gina Holt. Union recently played Zoey in ABC’s “FlashForward” and also was featured in NBC’s “Life.”

Embedded pilots have become an increasingly common way to shoot without significantly adding extra costs. “Wives” averages 3 million viewers an episode and ranks as the top-rated original drama on ad-supported cable among women aged 25-54.