What Are They Hiding?

By Samuels, Allison | Newsweek, March 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

What Are They Hiding?


Samuels, Allison, Newsweek


Byline: Allison Samuels

This trio is keeping politicians' secrets--and breaking ground at the same time.

Female writers and producers are no longer a rarity in television--think Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, and The Good Wife co-creator Michelle King--but it's hard to not notice that most of these shows are written by and for and feature white women. All that changes with Scandal on the spring lineup. When the hourlong drama--the brainchild of Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and starring Kerry Washington--debuts in April, it will be the first time in 30 years that a single African-American woman leads a primetime show on network TV. (The last time was Teresa Graves's turn as an undercover detective in the 1974 made-for-TV flick Get Christie Love!)

Scandal is inspired by the real-life story of Judy Smith, the noted African-American political-crisis-management expert and former White House aide. Smith's work over the years has included cooling the fires of such high-profile controversies as Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick's dog-fighting charges, and the disappearance of D.C. intern Chandra Levy.

Though the show is only "inspired by" Smith's career and has a few embellished details, it promises to keep audiences engaged with sizzling storylines straight from recent news events. One steamy subplot suggests that Olivia Pope--the main character, played by Washington--had an ill-fated romantic liaison with the commander in chief. ("I can assure you that didn't happen," says Smith, laughing.)

Smith was introduced to Rhimes more than two years ago by Rhimes's producing partner Betsy Beers. "I remembered having a meeting with Judy that was supposed to last for about 20 minutes," says Rhimes. "We ended up talking about two hours or more that day, and I knew she was my next show. I was spellbound."

At the time, Rhimes wasn't familiar with Smith's nearly 20-year career, which dates back to the Iran-contra hearings. She was doubly surprised to learn that Smith happened to be African-American. But Rhimes says that in early pitches to the network, the race of the lead character wasn't discussed. "A good story is a good story," she says. "It doesn't matter what the race is, and that's always been my belief.

"That said, it was wonderful to have a story based on an African-American woman that called out for an African-American female lead. There didn't need to be a discussion about it because it was what it was."

Before meeting Rhimes, Smith--who is more accustomed to working behind the scenes--never thought her life would soon become the stuff of television drama. "You do your work, and you do the best you can," she says. "That's what my parents taught me, and I think what they were saying was, 'If you do a good job, other things may come your way. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

What Are They Hiding?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.