This was Television on April 5

2012: Scandal debuts

The pulpy ABC soap, starring Kerry Washington as a D.C. crisis manager and power broker, kicked off with minimal fanfare. But by its second season, it had become one of the most robustly rated network dramas in an era of dwindling network ratings. In addition to catching the attention of critics and fans for its audacious plotting, Scandal was the first network drama headlined by an African-American woman in nearly 40 years, since Teresa Graves starred in Get Christie Love! in 1974. With Washington and creator Shonda Rhimes, it was also the first program in network TV history to feature African-American women as both star and showrunner. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Max Gail, cop (70); Thea Gill, queer folk (43); Frank Gorshin, prince of puzzles (d. 2005); Christopher Hewett, butler (d. 2001); Michael Moriarty, ADA (72); Mitch Pileggi, FBI director (61).

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