It’s almost impossible to imagine Scandal without leading actress Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. But did you know that she wasn’t the network’s first choice?!
Even though Kerry ‘slays’ as Olivia Pope, there’s another actress who ABC thought was more suitable to come to The White House’s rescue. No one other than Connie Britton was at the top of their list of actresses to be the lead on the show. But there was one problem: Connie is Caucasian…
The creator of the show, Shonda Rhimes, received a call from one of the network’s reps who said: “This would be the perfect show for Connie Britton”, to which Shonda responded: “It would be, except Olivia Pope is black”.
Shonda’s had based the whole script and story line on Judy Smith, who is ‘a real-life Olivia’ and (you guessed it…) is black. That’s why she insisted on the actress (who would be portraying Olivia) being black also.
ABC’s Channing Dungey admitted that the decision to have a woman of color be the leading actress caused a few discussions. They were wondering if it would benefit the show’s international success.
Did you know Kerry Washington wasn’t ABC’s first choice to play Olivia Pope?