Kerry Washington and Viola Davis take candid pic at the 2015 Oscars

by Mike Orie of www.theconscioustip.com

Both Kerry Washington and Viola Davis have no doubt become stars in front of the camera. But if they’ll have it their way, the two mainstays behind Shonda Rhimes’ TGIT might be looking to transition their stardom to behind the camera. Reports confirm that Kerry Washington and Viola Davis have both independently and separately finalized production deals with ABC Studios.

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Viola Davis, most notable for her work on How To Get A Way With Murder has entered into an overall deal with her production company, Juvee Productions and ABC Studios. The production company, founded with her husband Julius Tennon is expected to develop projects for broadcast, cable, streaming services and digital platforms according to Variety. “We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multifaceted culture,” says Davis. Juvee Productions has also recently hired Andrew Wang of Bravo, who will serve as the company’s vice president of scripted television development and production. Formerly serving as Bravo’s vice president of scripted television development and production, he was responsible for their first scripted series, “Odd Mom Out” amongst others. This information comes just days after we learned similar exciting news about Kerry Washington.

Similar to Davis, Kerry Washington has signed an overall deal with ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios. This new deal will allow Washington to transition from star Olivia Pope on camera, to more behind the camera work. With the new deal, we are expected to see her develop broadcast, cable and digital projects featuring content designed exclusively for ABC. The deal is an agreement between Washington’s newly launched production company Simpson Street. The company’s first project includes HBO’s “Confirmation” a film released last month in April. Deadline reports that Sharla Sumpton Bridgett (“Coach Carter”) will be brought on as development executive and producing partner for Simpson Street. “I believe strongly in the importance of having a seat at the table which makes starting this production company thrilling for me. It’s an honor to be at a point in my career when I can help generate projects that 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,” says Washington.

This appears to be great news for Kerry Washington and Viola Davis. While it’s hard to say what the future of these production companies will develop into, it’s a stepping-stone towards diversity in the film industry for two actresses who have continuously made strides in ways that have previously been impossible for Black women. What do you think about the news?

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Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website www.theconscioustip.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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