Viola Davis is already one of the most recognized actresses in the business, but her ascension is still unfolding before our very eyes. She is set to star in the ABC pilot How to Get Away with Murder. The story revolves around a group of students who become embroiled in a murder plot involving a mysterious professor.
To frame this new show as some sort of altruistic gamble on a black actress on part of the network would be silly. ABC landing an Oscar-nominated thespian is a potential ratings boon. Especially with Shonda Rhimes behind it. On fire with Sandal, Grey’s Anatomy and ABC hits in general there’s no reason for us to believe this won’t be more of that heat. Peter Nowalk (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) will write the pilot while Rhimes will executive produce with Besty Beers.
Davis has earned two Oscar nominations in the past five years, a supporting actress nod her work in Doubt (2009) and a lead actress mention for The Help (2011). The last time Viola was on television was in the short-lived CBS sci-fi drama Century City (2004).