From The Hollywood Reporter
"I had conversions with Shonda Rhimes where she has had for a while a sense of how she wanted the story to end," Dungey told reporters Tuesday ahead of ABC's upfront presentation to ad buyers. "She said, 'Look, I really feel like season seven is where I want to wrap up this story, because I always prefer to end a show where you're feeling on top as opposed to letting things fizzle out.'"
IN THE SEASON FINALE OF SEASON 6, OLIVIA POPE BECAME THE HEAD OF B6-13.
IN SEASON 7, OLIVIA POPE WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD.
I don't think I've ever seen a black woman this powerful on television before. The only thing that comes close is HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. And Shondaland is responsible for that show too.
To be honest, I don't think I ever appreciated how little black male directors were doing for black women, especially dark skinned black women, until Shonda Rhimes put Viola Davis on our television screens weekly in her other show HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.
I really didn't.
Lashana Lynch's STILL STAR-CROSSED didn't work out. But ABC didn't exactly put their best foot forward for that show. They put it on after a show I'd never watch --The Bachelorette-- EVEN IF the head of the pick-me-s IS black. And they had the show begin in the middle of summer.
No wonder Shonda is taking Shondaland to Netflix with B.S. like that going on. (More on this later)
Shonda's probably put 3x as many black women behind the camera too. Even Ava DuVernay directed an episode of Scandal before becoming the show runner for show she produced with Oprah, QUEEN SUGAR. And a lot black women are directing that series as well.
I can't wait to see what Olivia Pope's swan song is. The end of Season 6 has set it up so that Season 7 could truly be great. The Olivia Pope character will already to be written down in television history as it is.
Regardless of how little black men have done for black women in television and movies -- dark-skinned black women in particular-- I really would have liked to see a strong black man in Scandal. I'd have loved to see a black love story at some point.
But when Columbus Short was on SCANDAL his character sucked all the light out of the room.
I'm not saying Short's acting was bad or that his character was bad. He did a good job and I liked his character. Furthermore, I did NOT like the way his character was given the boot on the show at all -- though I had no use for the actor either based on his real life stuff. But the people watching his character made his presence the source of tension and that was before he started having legal troubles off screen.
I actually read one black male comment on social media that said, "She's treating him like a subordinate!" And Short's charter freaking was a flippin subordinate.
Much like Black Lives Matter, when a black man is present, the black women fade are supposed to fade into the background.
(On a side note: I will never forget how Rekia Boyd's death was practically ignored despite her death coming so close to Trayvon Martin's.)
Likewise, when a black man is heroic in a series? Most of the black male audience and half of the black female audience is wondering why the black male character isn't at the center of the action.
Until HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER came to be, I thought the only way for a black female character to be THE central character was for black male characters to be absent or have two lines every other episode..
In HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER is the show where Shonda was able to keep two black male characters (for a while) at the center of the show and make it work. Yet, SCANDAL has the bigger following because it has more white people at the center of the action.
That's why I'm holding my breathe for HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER at the end of every season. And the way ABC treated STAR-CROSSED (bad or not) I'm glad she's going to NETFLIX.
It's got to be a tricky balance to keep your ratings high on a major network when you want black lead actors. You've got to suck in a white audience to keep your show on the air. Shonda did it though, and kept black women central to most of her stories, THE CATCH (now cancelled) being the major exception.
Shonda's got nuclear-level black girl magic. And since I think Olivia Pope is going down in television history, I hope Shonda can give the Olivia Pope character the close out she deserves at the end of Season 7.
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From 13 FACTS ABOUT SCANDAL
GABRIELLE UNION AND TARAJI P. HENSON BOTH AUDITIONED TO PLAY OLIVIA.
Gabrielle Union (BEING MARY JANE) auditioned for the part, then later said she was glad Kerry Washington and Scandal had found so much success, because it led to more work for black female actresses [and black female directors.]
When asked about her audition for the role of Olivia... Taraji P. Henson (EMPIRE) recalled: "When I went in to read for Shonda Rhimes, in my mind I was like, 'This is Kerry Washington. Why am I even in here?' It was hers. It was her job, and she's great in it."Read More