Krista Vernoff is keeping it all in the family on her new ABC series Rebel.
Not only has her Erin Brockovich-inspired show joined the Thursday night lineup that features the other two series she runs for the network (Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19), she’s employing some familiar faces to Rebel stars Katey Sagal and Andy Garcia. During a panel discussion following the April 6 virtual world premiere, the veteran actors opened up on Vernoff giving the green light to hire their daughters.
“My daughter surprised me and said, ‘I just auditioned for the show,'” Garcia said of Daniella Garcia, one of his four children. (His other daughter, Dominik Garcia, is also an actress.) Then he got the call from Vernoff who gave word that they hired her after seeing her audition tape. “It’s very difficult because [her character is] struggling on the show, so there were some scenes where I had a very difficult time containing myself emotionally. I kind of lost control several times.”
As for Sagal, her daughter Sarah Grace White will show up on Rebel’s third episode. Though she quipped “nepotism is a wonderful thing,” Sagal said White had to audition just like everybody else. “Once they get in the door, then they have to knock it out and they don’t get the gig unless they can deliver,” she told Entertainment Weekly‘s Rosy Cordero, who moderated the conversation. “I really do trust Krista with that. I don’t think that Krista would have hired anybody based on anything other than their work. Not that she’s not a sweetheart [and] would do favors, but that’s not where she comes from. She takes too much pride in her baby.”
Vernoff said she likes “keeping it in the family,” in part because Hollywood careers so often require countless hours on the clock. That said, she made it clear that family connections are not the only way in. “Of course, you always have to open the doors to people who aren’t connected, and we’re constantly searching and seeking and auditioning, but these actors were the best actors for these parts and it’s a joy to have people’s kids at work,” she said. “It just makes people happier.”
She would know as she burns the midnight oil working on the entire Thursday block of shows and she does so while working closely with husband and producing partner Alexandre Schmitt. As for the virtual premiere, there was also a notable through-line for the event as the network sent out VIP deliveries for guests to enjoy while they took in the first episode. It contained branded merch from Rebel, Grey’s and Station 19 and was curated with the help of Shannon Warner Events, the same company that did the Nomadland world premiere curated gift boxes courtesy of Fox Searchlight, also in the Disney family.
To amp up the celebration of the new lineup, ABC drafted stars from the night’s shows including Jason George and Barrett Doss from Station 19, and Chris Carmack and Chandra Wilson from Grey’s to join the live festivities which were co-hosted by Rebel co-star Abigail Spencer. “So much love to Grey’s and Station 19 for always SHOWING UP!!! Love you. Thank you,” Vernoff praised in the chat.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.