jill wagner lioness
Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP / Photo via Youtube

Hallmark Star Jill Wagner Is Creating New Series 'Lioness' With 'Yellowstone' Creator


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The Paramount Network is on fire right now. After Yellowstone became a massive hit, it seems like the network just can't be stopped. There are countless incredible series currently in the works, but we're particularly excited about one of the many new shows coming from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. He's working on a spy drama with Jill Wagner called Lioness.

Here's everything we know about the new TV series.

Jill Wagner

jill wagner

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Anyone who loves the Hallmark Channel is familiar with Jill Wagner. She's appeared in numerous Christmas movies over the years in addition to being recognizable for appearing on MTV's Teen Wolf as well as hosting Wipeout. Wagner will star in the new series and serve as an executive producer with Sheridan. According to her IMDB, this will be her second producing credit following the Hallmark film Hearts of Winter (in which she also starred).

In an interview with The List, Wagner said she's currently training for her role. This was in Dec. 2021 and so far, no additional details have been provided on what role she'll be taking on in the new series.

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"It's something that I'm training for right now," Wagner said. "In fact, I get up every morning, and I train for about an hour and a half."

Considering this is a military-centered drama, we can only imagine that the subject matter is close to Wagner's heart. Her husband David, a former professional hockey player, is a major in the U.S. Army. In fact, the couple even named one of their daughters Army Gray.

Taylor Sheridan

Taylor Sheridan

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

It's almost crazy to think that Sheridan was once a struggling actor because of how incredible his writing skills have proven to be across Yellowstone and the various films he's released in recent years. From what we know of the plot, Lioness seems to combine a bit of the drama and intensity from his film Sicario with the internal struggle we've seen with Kayce Dutton, a former Navy SEAL, on Yellowstone. We have no doubt that Sheridan will masterfully build this world and create some seriously high stakes week after week. It's kind of his thing.

This is just one of a slew of new shows coming from Sheridan...2020 and 2021 must have been jam-packed with work for the guy. Not only does he have Lioness in the works, but he's got three more Yellowstone spinoffs following the success of the prequel series 1883.

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What We Know So Far

The new show will be executive-produced by Sheridan, Wagner, David Glasser, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, and David Hutkin. Nicole Kidman and her production company Blossom Films have also signed on to executive produce. This is one of two new shows he has in the works where Sheridan will be making one big change -- he hired a writing staff. As he told Variety, he has a lot going on, so it's just not feasible for him to sit down and write every episode like he usually does when he's working on nine shows simultaneously.

At one point, Thomas Brady (known for the western series Hell on Wheels) was attached as showrunner for the series, overseeing the writers' room. Due to creative differences, Sheridan has officially stepped in to take the lead. Production is set to begin in 2022.

The plot is centered around "a young Marine who is recruited to befriend a terrorist's daughter to bring the organization down from the inside." Sounds like some seriously heavy stakes and subject matter. Inspired by a real CIA initiative, it was actually Wagner herself who pitched the idea to Sheridan.

The show was originally slated for CBS All Access, but the streaming service went through a rebrand in early 2021 after the launch of Paramount Plus. There are so many exciting new Paramount TV shows in the works, especially everything Sheridan is working on.

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Who's In The Cast?

Zoe Saldana attends the "Avengers: Infinity War" World Premiere on April 23, 2018

Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Marvel star Zoe Saldaña has signed on to star in, and co-executive produce the new show. In an interview with Variety, Sheridan explained that he personally reached out to both Kidman and Saldaña to get them involved with the new series.

"I don't think anyone can speak to my projects better than me," Sheridan explained about of direct-dialing A-list stars to pitch his projects. "So I might as well just cut out the middleman and just call myself."

Additional casting updates have been revealed via Deadline, and it's really stacking up. Most notably, Sheridan has brought on a couple of vets from his other projects, including 1883 star LaMonica Garrett, Dave Annable, who played the short-lived Lee Dutton on Yellowstone, and James Jordan, who appeared in Yellowstone, 1883, and Mayor of Kingstown, in addition to two of Sheridan's films.

Here are all of the confirmed cast members and their roles:

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Zoe Saldaña - Joe, a strong-willed, hard-nosed station chief of the CIA's Lioness Program who is tasked with training, managing and leading her female undercover operatives working to assassinate the world's most dangerous terrorists

Laysla De Oliveira - Cruz Manuelos, described as a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine, who is recruited to join the CIA's Lioness Engagement Team to help bring down a terrorist organization from within.

Dave Annable - Neil, Joe's (Saldaña) husband and the father of their two daughters

LaMonica Garrett - Tucker, an experienced CIA Special Activities Division operative on Joe's team

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James Jordan - Two Cups, an experienced CIA Special Activities Division operative on Joe's team

Austin Hébert - Randy, a tech specialist in charge of surveillance and gathering intelligence within the Strike Team of the CIA Special Activities Division operative

Jonah Wharton - Tex, a CIA Special Activities Division operative, part of Joe's team that includes Two Cups (Jordan), Tucker (Garrett) and Randy

Hannah Love Lanier - Kate, Joe (Saldaña) and Neil's (Annable) daughter

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This article was originally published on Dec. 29, 2021. It was updated on Oct. 26, 2022.

READ MORE: Hallmark Star Jill Wagner Is Expecting Her Second Child With Husband David Lemanowicz

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