ABC Hopes to Increase Diversity With New Production Deals With Kerry Washington and Viola Davis

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The Grio
The Grio

ABC has announced that Viola Davis will develop new projects for the network, two days after a similar deal was announced with Kerry Washington.

The change is led by Channing Dungey – the network’s new Black president of the entertainment groupAtlanta Black Star reported on Dungey’s promotion with the network in February. Before, she was head of the drama department, where she oversaw the creation of Washington’s “Scandal” and Davis’ “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The stars of the network’s “Thank God It’s Thursday” line-up will create new programs for ABC’s cable, broadcast and streaming services. The deals also include the low-cost option, ABC Signature, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Washington recently launched Simpson Street Productions and signed a two-year deal with ABC Studios. HBO’s “Confirmation” was the first project in the star’s production company. The actress enlisted Sharla Sumpter Bridgett as her production partner.

“It’s an honor to be at a point in my career when I can help generate projects that are exciting, necessary and truly reflect the world around us,” Washington said in a statement. “I’m grateful to be on this journey with ABC, a network that remains unparalleled in its commitment to inclusive storytelling.”

Davis was also motivated by a goal of increased diversity when she created JuVee Productions.

“We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multiethnic and multifaceted culture,” Davis said to THR. “We wanted to be a part of classic storytelling, and we didn’t want to wait.”

The production company is a family affair. Her husband, Julius Tennon, runs the studio with her. Together they enlisted Andrew Wang for TV development.

“Viola and Julius’ determination to provide these opportunities,” Wang tells THR, “and to tell these stories, through new voices and fresh perspectives, in any format, is what excited me about joining the team at JuVee Productions.”

The studio is currently working on the legal drama “Conviction” for TNT.

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