SMILF creator and star Frankie Shaw has signed a two-year overall deal with ABC Signature Studios, the studio behind the breakout Showtime series. Under the exclusive TV pact, Shaw will continue as an executive producer on SMILF, which has started filming its second season in Boston. She also will develop new projects for all platforms, including broadcast, with focus on cable.
A unique aspect of the deal will enable Shaw to incubate small projects/films as both a proof of concept and a way to identify undiscovered voices. Shaw credits her work in short film with enabling her to grow as a filmmaker and make the move into television. Backed by ABC Signature, she hopes to do the same by nurturing undiscovered female and diverse artists via her newly launched production company.
SMILF, loosely based on Shaw’s experiences as a single mother, originated as a spec TV script she had written to get a writing job. Struggling to get it produced, she eventually made a portion of it into a the short SMILF, which won the jury award for best short film at Sundance in 2015 and opened the doors for the SMILF TV series. Its debut last year saw the biggest premiere week audience for a new Showtime comedy since 2012. Additionally, the first season was the biggest freshmen half-hour comedy on Showtime since 2010. SMILF, which co-stars Rosie O’Donnell and Connie Britton, also earned two Golden Globe nominations, for best television series musical or comedy, and best actress in a TV series musical or comedy for Shaw.. The series is executive produced by Shaw, Michael London, Lee Eisenberg and Scott King.
“During the journey of developing and producing SMILF with Frankie it quickly became clear that we wanted an ongoing partnership to help build out her company, brand and vision,” said Tracy Underwood, SVP, ABC Signature Studios. “She’s such a brilliant artist with a singular point of view while also proving to be an ambitious, taste making producer. “
Added Shaw, “ABC Signature has been an incredible partner in bringing SMILF to life and I’m so excited to take our relationship to the next level. I’m even more grateful for their support in creating a space for new and diverse storytellers.”
Shaw also wrote and directed the short Too Legit starring Zoe Kravitz, Teresa Palmer, Nate Corddry and Clarke Gregg, which premiered at Sundance in 2016. Her recent acting credits include the first season of USA Network’s Mr. Robot, and the film Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany.
Shaw is repped by UTA and Karl Austen.