The Scandal you see now on ABC is not the Scandal that Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes originally had in mind for ABC.
When Rhimes was developing the drama that’s become a hit for ABC, she had a much different story line in mind for her heroine — a plan that even star Kerry Washington didn’t know about before accepting the role of Olivia Pope. In an interview with EW, Rhimes and Washington chatted about the plot point that was ultimately abandoned in an effort to turn the story of real-life political fixer Judy Smith into a juicy drama for primetime.
Rhimes: “I couldn’t write Judy Smith as the character, mainly because Judy’s life is so confidential. I didn’t start writing until I knew what the pilot was and I knew what the pilot was when I knew she was sleeping with the President.” [Rhimes turns to Washington]. “Originally the president was her father and it was much less interesting.”
Washington: “Oh wow.”
Rhimes: “He was much older. She didn’t work for him at all. She worked out of New York City so that’s my original concept, and she flew to Washington to do jobs. He was her father and he had her under surveillance. That was pretty much it.”
Washington: “Not as sexy!”
Rhimes: “Frankly it felt depressing and kind of weird.”
For more from our Q&A with Rhimes and Washington, pick up the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.