Paula Deen hires real-life Olivia Pope

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Image Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Gladiators to the rescue!

Ad Age is reporting that the embattled Paula Deen has hired Smith & Co., the Washington D.C. crisis firm that serves as the inspiration for ABC’s hit show Scandal. Apparently, Deen’s team reached out to Judy Smith’s firm after the first Today show appearance was canceled — and the awkward You Tube apologies were posted.

But was the firm in place when Deen appeared on NBC this morning? The 66-year-old Deen failed to apologize during the 13-minute interview and only managed to dig herself deeper in a hole. (For more react, click here).¬† Maybe, but Ad Age says that Smith will likely focus on shoring up relations with the other companies that do business with Deen since she’s already lost the Food Network, Smithfield Foods and Caesars Entertainment, which operates four Deen-themed restaurants in Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois and North Carolina.

Other companies like Landies Candies and Tasty Blend Foods are keeping their ties to Deen. In fact, the latter company released this statement today: “Tasty Blend Foods was very pleased with the Paula Deen interview given this morning on the Today Show. We appreciate her commitment and how she stepped up and apologized to her viewers, fans and the nation. We personally endorse Paula Deen and what she stands for. We are very saddened that she is being judged by her past, everyone has made a mistake sometime in their lives. We look forward to our continued partnership with her.”

There was also this letter of support from Landies Candies President Larry Szrama: “Your interview this morning reaffirms who you really are and what you believe,” he wrote. “We count it a privilege to be your friend and business partner and look forward to sweet success in the future.”

Smith works as a technical advisor for Scandal. Creator Shonda Rhimes developed the political thriller for ABC after meeting with Smith and learning about her background in crisis management work in D.C.

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