Rick Bentley

Shonda Rhimes on ‘Scandal’: No comparison to real politics

Bellamy Young stars in the ABC drama “Scandal.”
Bellamy Young stars in the ABC drama “Scandal.” ABC

The sixth season of ABC’s “Scandal,” slated to begin 9 p.m. Thursday on KFSN (Channel 30.1), will reveal the results of the election that served as fodder for season five. Viewers will know who is the new president, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) or Frankie Vargas (Ricardo Chavira).

Because the series returns just after the real presidential election, series creator Shonda Rhimes keeps getting asked if there are any similarities between fact and her fiction.

“I don’t really equate the two. I mean, that’s not really the goal, obviously. If that would have been the goal, we would have waited until after the election to write about an election,” Rhimes says during an interview at the TV critics tour. “The goal was really just to tell the story that we had been telling and had been on the journey to tell the entire time, and we are continuing to tell it.”

The closest connection is that the season debut got delayed a week for a special edition of ‘20/20” that focused on then President-elect Donald Trump.

One reason for the comparisons is that one of the candidates happens to be a former first lady. That creates a natural comparison to Hilary Clinton’s run for the White House.

The winner will be revealed in the first episode of the new season. The rest of the season will be flashbacks to what went on with certain characters during the campaigns and election night.

When asked about any comparisons she sees in the fictional and real-world politics, “Scandal” star Young takes a very diplomatic approach.

“ I think what I can say is that I, too, keep it pretty separate because our world is a complete fiction. I can tell you that when we came together first in July and read those first five scripts, they were so beautiful. I’m so grateful to have this job anyway with these beautiful people, but that sort of storytelling to find a new way in season six made me so humbled and proud and grateful.

“You can’t help but be a human and be alive and have things resonate as the world has changed since we filmed it. But that’s how Bellamy feels and not how Mellie feels, and you probably are less interested in that.”

In a ‘Good Place’

It is nearly impossible to go to a restaurant or clothing store in Los Angeles and not meet at least one person who has spent years trying to get their big acting break.

It took Jameela Jamil , who plays Tahani in the NBC comedy “The Good Place,” one audition.

“I was so sure I was not going to get the role but I thought at least I would get to meet ‘The Good Place’ creator, Michael Schur, to talk about a writing job,” Jamil says. “I think I got the part because I was so relaxed. The idea of acting was so ridiculous to me. I was completely myself and that maniac gave me a job.”

Before landing the role on the comedy, the English-born actress worked as a writer, DJ, model and radio host. She moved to the United States to work as a writer and to get away from the cold weather in England. Her goal in life was to move to California before she turned 30.

As soon as she arrived in Southern California, Jamil got a writing agent. The agent suggested she should try acting but she initially refused because she didn’t think she had any talent. She was convinced to go on an audition and that’s how she ended up in “The Good Place.”

The character Jamil plays on the show, starring Kristen Bell who accidentally ends up in the “good place” after she dies, is full of confidence and commands a room just by walking in the door. Jamil smiles and says that in real life she is the opposite.

“And, I am not as vain as Tahani,” Jamil quickly adds.

In addition to her broadcast work, Jamil has been involved with a TV ad campaign for Maybelline and has done numerous fashion shoots for U.K. Vogue, In Style and Esquire. She has her own clothing line.

“The Good Place” airs 8:30 p.. Thursdays on KSEE (Channel 24.1).

Other news

A dog’s life – As the “Puppy Bowl XIII” canines get ready to play in this year’s game, Animal Planet catches up with nine past players to look at their road to the big game, how they’re spending their retirement and their adventures with their forever family. “Puppy Bowl: Where Are They Now?” debuts at 9 p.m. Friday.

It’s the law – Jane Lynch (“Glee”) has been cast in the Discovery Channel series, “Manifesto,” set to air later this year. She will portray former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

The series will tell the story of how FBI agent Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington) deployed a radical approach to intelligence gathering to take down Ted Kaczynski (Paul Bettany), also known as the Unabomber.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1