ABC has greenlighted a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D., a new live-action series set in The Avengers universe, according to Deadline. The pilot will be written by Joss Whedon, who created, among others, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse before writing and directing the hugely successful Avengers movie. Whedon will apparently also direct the pilot, if his schedule will allow for it. Husband-and-wife team Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon (Joss Whedon's sister-in-law and brother), who both worked on Dollhouse, are also signed up to write for the project.

According to Variety's Cynthia Littleton, Whedon said last night that the ABC pilot isn't a spinoff — it's meant to be "autonomous" to the film storylines. Although Joss is taking the helm for the pilot, Tancharoen and Jed Whedon will run the show on a long-term basis, with Joss reserving the right to "pepper in bits here and there." Here's hoping that Whedon's new-found box office cachet will prevent S.H.I.E.L.D. from being canceled after 11 episodes.