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Fall TV 2014: ABC Picks Up New Shonda Rhimes Series, Starring Viola Davis

May 8, 2014

Shonda Rhimes keeps winning. ABC just picked up her newest series, How to Get Away With Murder, starring Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis. Produced with Betsy Beers, her longtime parter, the new drama is described as “a sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller about a group of ambitious law students and their brilliant, mysterious criminal defense professor who become entangled in a murder plot that will rock the entire university and change the course of their lives.” Matt McGorry (Orange Is the New Black) and Liza Weil (Gilmore Girls) are in co-starring roles. 

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Alphabet Network also picked up drama series American Crime from 12 Years A Slave’s Oscar-winning writer John Ridley, starring Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Timothy Hutton (Leverage), Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood) and Penelope Ann Miller (Mistresses). Set in California’s Central Valley, it centers on a racially charged murder and the subsequent trial, which are examined through the personal lives of the players involved. The case takes on greater meaning in the community, bringing to the forefront America’s hardened views on race, class and gender politics.

Other new drama pick ups include yet another comic-turned-drama series Marvel’s Agent CarterThe Whispers (starring Lily Rabe) from Steven Spielberg and Forevera series about Dr. Henry Morgan, New York City’s star medical examiner, but what no one knows is Henry studies the dead for a reason: He is immortal. With the help of detective Jo Martinez, the show peels back the layers of Henry’s colorful and long life through their cases.

On the comedy side, they picked up Manhattan Love Story, a romantic comedy that “exposes the differences between men and women through the unfiltered thoughts, and often contradictory actions, of a new couple who have just begun dating.” Anthony Anderson (Guys With Kids) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends) front Black-ish, the story of an upper-middle class black man struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids. Galavant, a comedy from Dan Fogelman (The Neighbors) is a musical fairy tale that centers on handsome Prince Galavant and his quest for revenge over the king who stole his one true love.

ABC also renewed such stalwarts as Grey’s Anatomy (season 11), Castle (season 7), Scandal (season 4), Once Upon a Time (season 4), Revenge (season 4), Resurrection (season 2) and The Goldbergs (season 2). No word on Suburgatory or Trophy Wife, two of the networks best comedies that are still on the bubble.

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Not yet following me on Twitter? Get on the sofa: @josephrileyland

 

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