Inside D.C. entertainment

Here comes TV's new wave of Washington political dramas

January 31, 2012 - 10:19 AM
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Kerry Washington in ABC's

UPDATE: Leslie Green of the D.C. film office emailed me the following:

We are working with the USA Network's production team to find locations that match the content of their script for Political Animals. Filming is tentatively scheduled to film here in April.

As for the other two shows, Scandal and Newshour, we are actively trying to get both shows to film here. However, as of today they have no plans to film here.

ORIGINAL: Americans loathe Washington, as we all know. But Americans don't mind watching myriad shows about all of these people they loathe. That's what several TV networks are hoping, anyway, as a wave of Washington-based political dramas will begin washing over us in April. That month, ABC will premiere Scandal, from Shonda Rhomes (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice), in which Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, a D.C. fixer reportedly based on the life of Judy Smith, whose clients have included Monica Lewinsky, Marion Barry, and Michael Vick. Smith may be fond of strutting in a white trench coat, as Washington does in this trailer, but has she ever stood between two drawn guns? Doubtful.

Those establishing shots must be giving the D.C. film office pangs. Perhaps Veep, the HBO comedy in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the vice president, can provide some relief. Though filmed primarily in Baltimore, the show spent some time in D.C. It also premieres in April.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on a planned six-episode miniseries, Political Animals, from Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters). Given that it's being produced for the USA Network, whose show Covert Affairs has filmed several times in D.C., there's hope yet that Political Animals might do the same. (I've contacted the D.C. film office and will update when I hear back.)

And lastly, there's Aaron Sorkin's latest project, The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston and Olivia Munn. The D.C.-based HBO series isn't about politicians, exactly, as it reportedly follows "a fictional nightly news broadcast reminiscent of Keith Olbermann‘s late MSNBC program Countdown." But hey, it's not like Americans exclude journalists from their wholesale hatred of this town.

Bonus clip: The HBO film Game Change, about the McCain/Palin ticket, premieres in March, in case you feel like reliving that particular footnote in American history:

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