ABC greenlights Shonda Rhimes pilot

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ABC delivered Shonda Rhimes an early Christmas present on Friday, handing the uber-producer the network’s first official pilot order for fall.

The untitled drama, to be written by Rhimes (right), centers on the “life and work of a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff.” Show is based on the life of real-life crisis management consultant Judy Smith (above, with one-time client Monica Lewinsky).

Images Smith is familiar to TV industry execs from her stint as senior VP of corporate communications at NBC.

But Smith is also well-known in Washington and celebrity circles for her involvement in some of the most famous cases and scandals in recent history — including the Michael Vick and David Paterson scandals. She also advised Monica Lewinsky during the Clinton scandal and was involved in the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for drug possession, the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the Chandra Levy investigation, the Enron Congressional inquiry, and communications during the Washington, DC sniper case.

Rhimes will exec produce the project through her Shondaland label. Rhimes’ Shondaland partner, Betsy Beers, is also an exec producer. Smith will be a co-EP.

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