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ABC Orders Shondaland Legal Drama Pilot From ‘Scandal’ Scribe

Variety logo Variety 1/17/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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ABC has ordered up a pilot for a Shondaland legal drama from “Scandal” scribe Paul Davies, Variety has learned.

The untitled project is set in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Federal Court, a.k.a. “The Mother Court,” and follows brand new lawyers working on opposite sides — both defense and the prosecution — as they handle the most high-profile and high-stakes cases in the country, all as their personal lives intersect.

Shondaland’s Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers are non-writing exec producers on the pilot, which had been in development at ABC Studios via Shondaland.

Although ABC is beginning to explore the prospect of bringing more male-skewing shows into the fold, Shondaland still rules the roost at the network. “I will take as many things as Shonda will give me,” ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey told Variety in January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. In addition to Davies’ legal drama, a Shondaland comedy is still in development. If both go to series, that would bring the tally of Shondaland-produced series on the network up to seven.

ABC’s two new legal dramas for the 2016-17 season, “Conviction” and “Notorious,” didn’t quite set the world aflame, though neither hail from Shondaland. However, “How to Get Away With Murder” has been seeing big ratings declines of late.

Davies is repped by WME and attorney Ken Richman. Rhimes is repped by ICM, and Beers is with UTA.

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