Courtney B. Vance to Star Opposite Felicity Huffman in Political ABC Comedy From ‘Black-ish’ Creator

Elizabeth Wagmeister
Variety

Courtney B. Vance will star in ABC’s political family comedy “Libby & Malcolm” from Kenya Barris and Vijal Patel, Variety has learned. Vance will play Felicity Huffman’s on-screen husband.

The project marks Vance’s first major TV role since winning the best actor Emmy for FX’s “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” for his role as Johnnie Cochran.

“Libby & Malcolm” — which is in development, but has a pilot production commitment at ABC — follows a married couple, Malcolm and Libby, played by Vance and Huffman. The blended family series is about two polar opposite political pundits who fall in love despite all odds and form an insta-family as well as a work partnership.

Vance will star as Malcolm Black, a liberal pundit and father of three kids who arms himself with cold hard facts and an irresistible easy charm that wins over everyone he meets. He recently married Libby (Huffman), a strong, brilliant, white Republican who won his heart by knocking him off his feet. Now, they’ll forge a new life together at home against all odds while going head-to-head at work on their fiery new political talk show.

Vance will also serve as executive producer on the show, in addition to his on-screen duties. This will mark his first major producing gig, and his first-ever EP credit.

Barris and Patel co-wrote the project. They will serve as executive producers with Brian Dobbins and Vance. ABC Studios, where Barris is under an overall deal, is producing.

The subject matter of the series is a familiar world for Barris and Patel, who work together on ABC’s hit comedy “Black-ish,” which Barris created. Should the project be picked up to series, it would fit in well with ABC’s brand of diverse family comedies, joining not just “Black-ish,” but also “Fresh Off The Boat” and new additions “Speechless,” which follows a family with a special-needs child, and “American Housewife,” which centers around an overweight mother.

For Vance, the series would be his latest starring role and perhaps biggest role on broadcast TV, as he’d anchor half the show, alongside his on-screen wife, Huffman. The “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” alum and Tony Award winner had roles on “ER,” “Flashforward,” “Revenge” and “State of Affairs,” before landing “People v. O.J. Simpson,” which catapulted him into A-list TV territory. On the film side, Vance will star in “Office Christmas Party,” which hits theaters this Decembers, plus, he’ll be seen alongside Tom Cruise in “The Mummy” reboot. He’ll also have a cameo appearance in Oprah Winfrey’s HBO project “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

Vance is repped by Gersh and Steven Siebert of Lighthouse Entertainment and Attorney Darrel Miller of Fox Rothschild; Barris is repped by CAA, Principato Young, and attorney Gregg Gellman of Morris Yorn; Patel is repped by APA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman.

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