'Scandal' creator, Viola Davis team up for Philly drama

Posted: February 28, 2014

GET EXCITED, "Scandal" fans.

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ABC's most tweet-worthy show, is bringing her next creation to Philadelphia.

And to make matters even better, it's set to star Oscar-nominated goddess of the big screen Viola Davis.

The two will work together on "How to Get Away with Murder," a pilot for ABC that will be filmed in Philadelphia.

Davis will play a deeply mysterious law school professor who gets caught up in a murder that shakes her life - and the lives of her students - to the core.

Sharon Pinkenson, the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, told me that the show is set in Philly (rather than having our fair city act as a stand-in for some lesser city), and will start filming the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, a pilot doesn't mean a full series commitment to the city. Take the failed Jimmy Smits series "Outlaw," featuring the "NYPD Blue" stud as a Supreme Court justice-turned-public defender. The pilot was filmed in Philly but it was later moved to a different city.

Ukee goes 'Crazy'

CBS3 morning man Ukee Washington will hit prime time. He hopped on a plane yesterday to perform in a cameo on the CBS sitcom "The Crazy Ones," starring Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Wolk.

Washington will work alongside Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

I hear that Washington, a big movie buff, got the part after a CBS exec saw him in his October appearance on "The Talk." When the opportunity to cast a local newscaster came up, the exec thought Washington was the perfect person to play the part.

This is not Washington's first foray into fiction. He and his CBS morning team buddies appeared in the Brad Pitt zombie flick "World War Z."

The episode is set to air sometime in April. Catch "The Crazy Ones" on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

Meet AI

Mitchell & Ness will fete Allen Iverson tomorrow before his jersey is retired this weekend. Want to meet The Answer at a private VIP event? Go to M&N's flagship store (1201 Chestnut St.) and purchase Iverson's rookie jersey between 5 and 8 p.m. One lucky shopper per hour will get the chance to meet and greet with Iverson.

Our 'Hero'

Philly native and Vietnam vet John Ligato will recount a key battle of the war at 10 p.m. Monday in "The Marines at Hue," the first installment of "Against the Odds," a new show from the Military Channel, which starting that day is rebranding itself as the American Heroes Channel, reports our own Ellen Gray. It's not Ligato's first time in the spotlight. The film "10th & Wolf," in which he played a small part, was loosely based on his experience as an FBI agent.

'Both' sides now

The Both, the superduo consisting of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, was in Philly last weekend filming a video for "Milwaukee," the first single on their self-titled debut CD. The video, directed by former Philly guy Daniel Ralston, was shot at Fishtown spot Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) and South Philly venue Boot and Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.), which the duo opened in the fall last year. The Both plays Union Transfer on May 3.

Charitably minded

*  Gary Barbera surprised six Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia kids with $1,000 scholarships at the Youth of the Year awards.

* Comedian Grover Silcox will host a benefit for Bristol's St. Mark School tonight at the Bristol Riverside Theatre (120 Radcliffe St.). Joining Silcox are Steve Shaffer and Joey Callahan. Tickets can be purchased at places including St. Mark Church's parish business office, Great IDs by Anne and the Bristol Borough Municipal Tax Office.


Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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