Shondaland Legal Drama From 'Scandal' Writer Lands ABC Pilot Pickup

Paul William Davies penned the script for the network's second drama pilot order of the season.
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Shonda Rhimes

ABC continues to look to big names for its drama pilot pickups.

The Disney-owned network on Tuesday handed out a pilot order to an untitled legal drama from Shondaland, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Written by Scandal writer-producer Paul William Davies and executive produced by ABC Studios-based Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, the project is set in the Southern District of New York Federal Court, aka "The Mother Court." The drama, which scored a hefty pilot-production order from the network in October, follows brand-new lawyers working on opposite sides — 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.

The project is one of multiple sales Shondaland had at ABC this development season and among the several legal-themed dramas in the works as broadcasters look for broad-skewing fare in a crowded and competitive landscape. The Shondaland sale marks the second drama pilot order of the season for ABC, which previously handed out a pickup to a Reba McEntire soap from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry.

The Davies drama comes as Shondaland continues to be a major supplier for ABC and ABC Studios. The production company is behind ABC's No. 1 drama — veteran Grey's Anatomy — and also produces Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, The Catch and the yet-to-be-scheduled Still Star-Crossed, with the latter likely to change its title.