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NBC invests in new drama from Lost creator

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Undercovers stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Pledging to spend more money on higher caliber scripted programming, ratings-poor NBC took the first step Monday by ordering the spy series Undercovers from Lost creator J. J. Abrams.

Slated for next fall, Undercovers stars Boris Kodjoe (Soul Food) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Bonekickers) as retired married spies Steven and Samantha Bloom. Abrams will direct the pilot, the first time he's done so since Lost's opening episode.

The Blooms, according to an NBC publicity release, were ace CIA operatives until falling in love on the job and opting to start a small catering company in L.A. But they're sprung back into action after a pal and fellow spy goes missing while tracking a Russian arms dealer.

Gerald McRaney (Jericho, Major Dad) plays the duo's boss and Jessica Parker Kennedy (Smallville) is Samantha's "easily frazzled" younger sister, Lizzy.

The series is from Warner Bros. Television. NBC also has signaled its intent to buy programming from outside suppliers rather than developing virtually everything in-house. Maybe the light bulb finally has come on again as NBC Universal prepares to transfer the controlling interest in its broadcast and cable networks from General Electric to Comcast as part of a previously announced deal that still must receive regulatory approval.