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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Showtimes gives series order to Viola-Davis-as-Michelle-Obama show First Ladies

Illustration for article titled Showtimes gives series order to Viola-Davis-as-Michelle-Obama show iFirst Ladies/i
Photo: Elisabetta A. Villa (Getty Images), Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

Making the transition from getting away with murders to the perversely far harder time of getting away with being, by all accounts, a perfectly pleasant person who just happens to be married to a still-ongoing target of frothing right-wing hate, THR reports that Showtime has given a series order to a show in which Viola Davis will play Michelle Obama. Titled First Ladies, the show’s first season will track the lives of three of America’s most prominent presidential spouses: Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betty Ford. Davis is the first person to be cast in the series, and also, of course, the only one whose subject happens to still be alive.


Although she’s spent the last six years anchoring ABC’s criminal procedural How To Get Away With Murder, Davis has taken on plenty of other projects during that period—perhaps most notably, scoring an Oscar win for Fences in 2017. With her duties as Annalise Keating set to expire with the series’ upcoming final season, she’s got a little more time to play, say, the former Michelle Robinson, whose legal career was rampant with victories before she dedicated herself to a life as one of the most charismatic elements of her husband’s two presidential runs and terms.

It’s not clear yet how the First Ladies series, put into development on an accelerated schedule late last year, will be structured, or whether Davis’ Obama will share episodes with Ford and Roosevelt. (We also don’t have a premiere date, or even an episode order, at least not yet.) The show is being developed by author Aaron Cooley, with Davis also executive producing; the network expressed its excitement at having the veteran actress on board, stating that, “Having Viola Davis play Michelle Obama is a dream come true, and we couldn’t be luckier to have her extraordinary talent to help launch this series.” 

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