Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In her first regular TV series gig, Kerry Washington has signed on to topline Shonda Rhimes’ untitled drama pilot for ABC aka In Crisis. Actor-dancer-choreographer Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard) is set to co-star in the pilot based on the career of famous crisis management consultant Judy Smith. The pilot, from ABC Studios, revolves around the life and work of professional fixer Olivia Price (Washington) and her dysfunctional staff. Olivia Price is described as something of a legend, a formidable, driven, insightful, intuitive and fearless woman. Short will play a lawyer on her team.

From the get-go, Washington had been a front-runner for the lead, which was written African American, something very unusual for a network drama. The rest of the roles on the pilot are being cast colorblind,  which is also how Rhimes cast Grey’s Anatomy. CAA-repped Washington, known for such movies as Ray and The Last King of Scotland, recently co-starred in For Colored Girls. On TV, she recurred on Boston Legal and 100 Centre Street. Short, repped by CAA and Brillstein, recurred on NBC’s Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

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