If you’re a betting man or woman, TV insiders say it’s not a good idea to bet against “Scandal” just yet. As TV executives peruse the numbers in the new world of TV ratings (down, but skewed by “delayed viewers” who no longer watch shows live) there’s not a total consensus yet whether “Scandal” will be back. The seven episode mid-season replacement is helped by its “Grey’s Anatomy” lead-in and a growing but vocal fan base that’s loved what they’ve seen in the four episodes that have already aired.
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If you haven’t yet seen the show, “Scandal” stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a Washington “fixer” who heads a shadowy law firm that does whatever it takes to help clients in trouble. Add a sexy subplot about a philandering President of the United States and his relationship with Pope and each week’s problematic clients and you hopefully have the elements of a hit show.
“Scandal” is based on real-life Washington fixer Judy Smith, who is, like Washington, African-American. Among her clients was NFL star Michael Vick, who needed her assistance in restoring his public image after his dogfighting conviction. Smith is an executive producer on the show, which was created by “Grey’s’ creator Shonda Rhimes, one of television’s highest-ranking African-Americans. Rhimes has another new show in production as well, but “Scandal” fans are hoping her reputation as a hitmaker helps the show stay on the air.
TV website tvbythenumbers.com says that “Scandal” is “likely to be renewed,” but unless ABC jumps the gun, fans of the show are unlikely to know for sure until the networks have their “upfronts” on May 14 when they announce their fall lineups. The fact that “Scandal” has attracted a buzz despite it being one of the few if not the only show to have an African-American female lead can’t hurt. ABC can pat itself on the back for stepping out front on diversity by casting an African-American female lead on a show about a powerful African-American woman created by an African-American woman.
In the meantime, the first season of “Scandal” – the seven episode run – will be out on DVD in a 2-disc set on June 12th. You can pre-order via Amazon.com.
Whether the quick DVD release is a good sign or not we don’t know, but we do know that ABC has been very canny about any show renewals for fall thus far. The network has not officially renewed new and buzzworthy shows like “Revenge” or “Once Upon a Time” or Rhimes’ “Private Practice” or at-risk bubble shows like “GCB” or “Cougar Town.”