03/10/2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
It's all about baby Bronx for Ashlee Simpson-Wentz
A friend of the singer/actress tells PEOPLE that the new mom has been looking for a way to balance work and family life. Now she's found it as the newest star on The CW's updated version of Melrose Place
, which starts filming in April.
"She wanted something stable so she could be close to her baby," a friend tells PEOPLE. "She was specifically looking for something in television as her next step, that filmed in Los Angeles, so she wouldn't have to be away from Bronx."
Simpson-Wentz, who got her first big acting break seven years ago on TV's 7th Heaven
, will play a small-town girl trying her luck in L.A. and will display a "disarming naiveté [that] masks the calculating, shrewd sex kitten within," according to Entertainment Weekly
Simpson-Wentz, 24, and three-month-old Bronx are currently on tour in Europe with Pete Wentz
, 29, and his band Fall Out Boy.
Adds the pal: "Music is still a passion but [Ashlee] felt this was the best thing for her and her family at this point in her life. She's really excited about Melrose Place