Your favorite political drama was almost a very different story. While it’s hard to imagine anyone but Kerry Washington filling Olivia Pope’s Louboutins, ABC originally had Connie Britton in mind for the role.
“When the show got picked up [to pilot], I got a phone call from somebody who said, ‘This would be the perfect show for Connie Britton.’ I said, ‘It would be, except Olivia Pope is black,’” showrunner Shonda Rhimes divulged to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, discussing the origins of the political drama, which is based on African American D.C. fixer Judy Smith.
“The network was reading us their top choices, and it was Connie and all white women. I panicked. Somebody finally piped up, ‘We’re going to have to redo this list,’” casting director Linda Lowy shared.
VIDEO: See Exactly How to Recreate Kerry Washington's Scandal Makeup Look
“This would have been a great role for Connie Britton!” Washington joked. But in the end, it was her casting that made history, as Washington became the first black woman to head a drama in 37 years. “In my lifetime, I had never seen a black woman at the center of a television drama. There was a void to fill a hunger, and we were able to fit that need.”
The interview divulges a ton of secrets from the show, including the juicy tidbit that Scott Foley was killed off on Grey’s Anatomy to star on Scandal, but then rejected for the part. He took another job (Goodwin Games on Fox), and was later brought back by Rhimes to play the Jake we all know and love.
What a different world that would have been. Catch the final midseason premiere of Scandal on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.