Shondaland Lands ABC Pilot Production Commitment for New Legal Drama

Elizabeth Wagmeister

ABC is not slowing down in the world of Shondaland.

The network has given a pilot production commitment to a legal drama from writer Paul William Davies that will be executive produced by Shondaland hit-makers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy BeersVariety has learned.

Set in the Southern District of New York Federal Court, better known as “The Mother Court,” the project follows brand new lawyers working for both the defense and the prosecution, as they handle the most high-profile and high-stakes cases in the country — all as their personal lives intersect.

Davies is a writer and story editor on Shondaland’s “Scandal.” This legal drama marks his first solo-written series.

For Shondaland, the pilot marks the second potential series to be put into development this cycle at ABC, joining a half-hour comedy from “Sex and the City” alum Liz Tuccillo.

For ABC, should the Davies pilot go to series, it would mark the sixth — and pending on the comedy in development, potentially seventh — Shondaland series on the network’s slate. Coming up midseason is a new romantic drama, the Romeo and Juliet prequel, formerly titled “Still Star-Crossed,” plus Season 6 of “Scandal” and Season 2 of “The Catch.” Currently on air is long-running ratings hit “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How To Get Away With Murder.”

ABC has introduced two new legal dramas this 2016-2017 season: “Notorious” and “Conviction,” though neither are hits. The low-rated “Notorious” hasn’t been a strong lead-in for “How To Get Away With Murder,” which has sank in its third season, so ABC could very well be looking for new legal fare for their 2017-18 slate.

Davies (pictured below) is repped by WME and attorney Ken Richman. Rhimes is repped by ICM, and Beers is with UTA.

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