EXCLUSIVE: Emmy nominee Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is the New Black) is set for a recurring role on Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The First Lady (wt). Additionally, Oscar winner Cathy Schulman (Crash) has been named showrunner of the series starring Viola Davis, who also executive produces, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. Susanne Bier (The Undoing) will direct and executive produce.
The First Lady (wt), created by Aaron Cooley and produced by Lionsgate TV and Showtime, is a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. Season 1 focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson), Betty Ford (Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Davis).
Mulgrew will play Susan Sher, a longtime friend of the Obamas who worked with Michelle in Chicago health care. Sher was originally hired as the President’s associate counsel but then rejoined Michelle Obama as her closest confidante and chief of staff.
Series also stars Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, O-T Fagbenle as President Barack Obama and Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford.
Additionally, Ryan Jamaal Swain (Pose) will guest as Johnny Wright, who was Michelle Obama’s hairstylist in the White House.
Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, The First Lady (wt) is executive produced by Schulman, Davis, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Bier, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan. Cooley will write several of the episodes and executive produce.
Mulgrew received an Emmy nomination for her performance as Galina “Red’ Reznikov on Orange Is the New Black. She also starred on Star Trek: Voyager as Capt. Kathryn Janeway, a role she will reprise on the upcoming Star Trek: Prodigy. Her other credits include Mr. Mercedes, Warehouse 13 and Mercy, among many others. She’s repped by Innovative Artists and Viking Entertainment.
Schulman produced the Oscar-winning best picture Crash, and she has produced or served as a production executive on more than 50 films including Five Feet Apart, Otherhood, Bad Moms, Edge of Seventeen and The Illusionist. Schulman’s company Welle Entertainment is dedicated to making female-facing content.
Swain is repped by Innovative Artists, Manager Lynne Marks of Piper Kaniecki Marks and attorney Michael E. Morales.