Alfre Woodard to Play President in NBC's Katherine Heigl Drama

The Oscar and Emmy nominee will co-star in "State of Affairs." Alfre Woodard has been tapped to play the leader of the free world in the network's drama pilot State of Affairs, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Described as Scandal meets The West Wing, the drama revolves around a maverick CIA officer (Katherine Heigl) who was plucked from the field to become the president's daily briefer, assuming responsibility for targeting America's most critical threats while navigating the unique lifestyle that comes with such a high-powered job.

Woodard will play President Roberta Payton, who hired Heigl's perfectionist Charleston "Charlie" Whitney Tucker -- her late son's ex-girlfriend -- to be her legal briefer.

The Following's Alexi Hawley will pen the script alongside Joe Carnahan. Hawley will exec produce alongside Heigl and her mother/manager Nancy Heigl, Bob Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Julia Franz and Rodney Faraon. Carnahan will direct the pilot, which hails from Universal Television, Bob Simonds Co. and Abishag Productions.

Woodard joins a cast that also includes Cliff Chamberlain (The Mob Doctor), who is set as Brett, a CIA analyst on the president's briefing team.

The actress joins a growing roster of African-American leads on pilots this season that includes Viola Davis, Romany Malco, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others. Woodard joins high-ranking political characters portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Kate Burton (Scandal) and Sharon Stone (TNT's pilot Agent X), all of whom play the vice president.