Showtime has ordered the first season of the hour-long drama First Ladies, starring and executive produced by Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner Viola Davis, who will play former first lady Michelle Obama.
Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, the series will also be executive produced by Julius Tennon, Oscar winner Cathy Schulman (Crash, Five Feet Apart), Jeff Gaspin (Rhythm + Flow, L.A.’s Finest), Brad Kaplan (Mr. Church) and author Aaron Cooley (Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court), who created the series and will write.
The announcement was made today by Jana Winograde, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.
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.
“Throughout our history, presidents’ spouses have wielded remarkable influence, not only on the nation’s leaders but on the country itself,” said Winograde. “First Ladies fits perfectly within the Showtime wheelhouse of drama and politics, revealing how much personal relationships impact both domestic and global events.”
Winograde added: “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 won Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance in the feature film Fences, based upon the play for which she won a Tony Award. She also earned Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards for her lead role in How to Get Away with Murder, for which she was a four-time Emmy nominee, as well as two additional Tony Awards for King Hedley II and Seven Guitars.
Her career also includes Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG-nominated performances in The Help and Doubt, an Emmy-nominated guest performance in Scandal and a BAFTA nomination for Widows. Davis is a four-time NAACP Image Award winner and 16-time nominee, beginning with her performance on the Showtime series United States of Tara.
First Ladies is executive produced by Cathy Schulman via Welle Entertainment, Viola Davis and Julius Tennon via JuVee Productions, Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media, Brad Kaplan via LINK Entertainment and Aaron Cooley.