Michelle Obama to be Played by Viola Davis in Showtime Series, ‘First Ladies’
A new tentatively set series will look at America’s history of first ladies and their influence on presidencies from behind the scenes.
Showtime will shine a light on some of America’s First Ladies in a new TV series, which will star Viola Davis as former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The premium cable network is developing the one-hour drama with the Oscar-winning actress’ JuVee Productions, the network told CNN. Showtime and Lionsgate TV will co-produce.
To determine whether the project will officially move forward, the network has ordered three scripts for production. Author Aaron Cooley (novels “Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court” and “The Guns of Ridgewood”) is on board as an executive producer and writer. The idea for the series originated from a spec script written by Cooley about Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.
If picked up to series, Showtime promises that First Ladies “will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of our most enigmatic heroes”, focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Obama in the first season.
“In the East Wing of the White House, many of history’s most impactful and world changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies,” the logline says.
Viola Davis can be seen in the upcoming sixth and final season of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” The 54-year old actress won an Emmy for the popular series in 2015, making her the first woman of color to win an Emmy in the leading actress category. She has also won an Oscar for the movie Fences, and two Tony awards.
Although Michelle Obama was memorably portrayed by Tika Sumpter in the 2016 feature film Southside With You, about her Chicago romance with former president Barack Obama, she has never before been fictionalized on television.
With the success of previous and current politically-themed shows, the new series could be a natural draw for audiences. It should also provide a tantalizing glimpse into a lesser-known aspect of the presidency, through the eyes of their spouse who inevitably play a role in the White House too.
Shows like “The West Wing” and the current comedy “Veep” have been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Period pieces as well as royalty are also very popular in the current TV landscape, such as Netflix’s “The Crown”.