EXCLUSIVE: In her first regular TV series gig, Kerry Washington (pictured left) has signed on to topline Shonda Rhimes' untitled drama pilot for ABC aka In Crisis. Actor-dancer-choreographer Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard) is set to co-star in the pilot based on the career of famous crisis management consultant Judy Smith. The pilot, from ABC Studios, revolves around the life and work of professional fixer Olivia Price (Washington) and her dysfunctional staff. Olivia Price is described as something of a legend, a formidable, driven, insightful, intuitive and fearless woman. Short will play a lawyer on her team.
According to Deadline, Rhimes explained: "My fixer is not necessarily Judy Smith but is based a lot on her... It revolves around the life of a fixer and her fairly dysfunctional staff based in Washington DC."
From the get-go, Washington had been a front-runner for the lead, which was written African American, something very unusual for a network drama. The rest of the roles on the pilot are being cast colorblind, which is also how Rhimes cast Grey's Anatomy. CAA-repped Washington, known for such movies as Ray and The Last King of Scotland, recently co-starred in For Colored Girls. On TV, she recurred on Boston Legal and 100 Centre Street. Short, repped by CAA and Brillstein, recurred on NBC's Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Innovative-repped Cusick will play what is considered by some the male lead on the show, a handsome, intense and brilliant litigator who works for Olivia. Cusick started off as a recurring on Lost, landing a guest starring Emmy nomination for his role as former Scottish solder Desmond Hume, before getting promoted to regular in Season 3 of the island drama. Lowes, repped by Innovative and Sweeney Management, will play an ambitious and naive young lawyer recruited by Olivia to work for her. Lowes guest starred in this season's opener of Rhimes' Private Practice.
Cool Black's Mad Commentary: I'm a fan of Shonda Rhimes (Pictured left) DESPITE not watching any of her previous shows. Her “medical shows” just didn’t appeal to me. I’m a fan because of the moves she has made in Hollywood as a successful African American Executive Producer.
I’m also a fan of Kerry Washington having enjoyed her work in numerous films including the recent ‘Night Catches Us’ (You can read what I had to say about that film here ) I also like the additions of Columbus Short and Henry Ian Cusick and YES unlike her other shows the concept of this show does appeal to me.
Read more about Shonda Rhimes at Wikipedia
Update February 28, 2011: Shonda Rhimes New Show has a Title and New Co-Stars