'SMILF's' Frankie Shaw Inks Overall Deal at ABC Signature

The pact will be cable focused but will also enable Shaw to incubate smaller projects and films as a way to identify undiscovered female and diverse voices.
Photographed by Sami Drasin
Frankie Shaw

Frankie Shaw is putting down roots.

The writer, director and star of Showtime darling SMILF has inked a two-year overall deal at ABC Signature Studios, which co-produces her series. While the pact with the boutique division will be primarily cable focused, it also includes broadcast opportunities and enables Shaw to incubate smaller projects and films as both a proof of concept and a way to identify undiscovered voices, preferably artists who are female and diverse.

ABC Signature's senior vp Tracy Underwood was emphatic in her praise of Shaw, a 2018 Golden Globe nominee and, come July 12, a likely Emmy nominee. “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," she said. "She’s such a brilliant artist with a singular point of view while also proving to be an ambitious, taste making producer. “

Shaw loosely based her Showtime comedy on her own experiences as a Boston-reared single mother. The critically praised series, which is currently in production on its second season in her hometown, originated as a celebrated short film, winning the jury award for best short film at Sundance in 2015. At Showtime, the TV iteration, which also stars Rosie O’Donnell and Connie Britton, has delivered commercially as well. In fact, its first season became the biggest freshman half-hour comedy on the network since 2010.

“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,” added Shaw. “I’m even more grateful for their support in creating a space for new and diverse storytellers.”

The news comes on the heels of several key wins for cable and streaming-centric ABC Signature, which recently drummed up a heated bidding war for Little Fires Everywhere, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. The latter ultimately landed at Hulu. Also new to its roster: Godfather of Harlem, with Forest Whitaker attached to produce and star at Epix, as well as Kenya Barris’ Besties at Freeform and All About the Washingtons for Netflix.

Shaw, whose IMDB profile also includes stints on such shows as USA's Mr. Robot and Spike's Blue Mountain State, is repped by UTA and Karl Austen.