Viola Davis Is Michelle Obama for Showtime's First Ladies

The How to Get Away With Murder star is the only actor attached the series in development so far

By Chris Harnick Feb 05, 2020 5:38 PMTags
Viola Davis, Michelle ObamaBrian Bowen Smith; JLN Photography/Shutterstock

How to follow up an Emmy-winning turn in How to Get Away with Murder? For Viola Davis, she's turning to Michelle Obama—and playing the former first lady.

E! News has learned Davis has signed on for First Ladies, a new drama series in development at Showtime. The series, which was officially ordered to series on Wednesday, Feb. 5, has Aaron Cooley on board as writer and executive producer. First Ladies would follow the various spouses to American presidents. The first season would focus on Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford.

Davis has spent the last six seasons on ABC's How to Get Away With Murder as attorney and law professor Annalise Keating.

Michelle Obama's Best Looks

"Throughout our history, presidents' spouses have wielded remarkable influence, not only on the nation's leaders but on the country itself." Jana Winograde, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement. "First Ladies fits perfectly within the Showtime wheelhouse of drama and politics, revealing how much personal relationships impact both domestic and global events. 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."

Davis and Julius Tennon are on board as executive producers. Cathy Schulman, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan are also executive producers. The official logline for the potential series: "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. This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of these enigmatic women, with season one focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama."

Watch: Viola Davis Embraces Being a Leader at "THR" Women Event

Davis is the only attached actor so far.

The acclaimed actor won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Fences, an Emmy for How to Get Away With Murder and Tony awards for Fences and King Hedley II. She's nominated for another Emmy—her fourth for How to Get Away With Murder—at the 2019 ceremony. The ABC drama will come to an end during the 2019-2020 TV season. Before her Fences win, Davis was nominated for Oscars for her work in Doubt and The Help.

No premiere date for First Ladies was officially announced.

Originally published on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, 2:00 p.m. PT.