USA Network is known for its quirky, light-hearted procedurals like White Collar and Psych, but the channel will be plumbing more serious ground soon. Sigourney Weaver has signed on to join the cast of Political Animals, a Washington-set political drama scheduled to debut this summer. Weaver, who will be appearing as a television regular for the first time, will play a divorced former First Lady-turned-Secretary of State named Elaine Barrish. The character will carry a considerable amount of baggage, including an unfaithful ex-husband, a pair of twin sons, and a recent failed run at the Oval Office. The similarities to Hillary Clinton are, we presume, more than coincidental.
Political Animals will be produced by Laurence Mark and Greg Berlanti, who also produced Everwood, Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters, and the much-praised 2004 WB drama Jack & Bobby, which focused on a pair of brothers, one of whom becomes president in the distant future—like the Kennedys, but not. James Wolk, who headed the short-lived Fox series Lone Star and had a recent turn on ABC’s Happy Endings, is set to play one of Elaine’s sons who serves as her chief of staff.
Weaver, who took home two Golden Globes in 1988 for Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl and has been nominated for three Oscars, has made a long career out of playing strong women, from Ellen Ripley in the Alien series to the primatologist Dian Fossey and Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar. She joins an growing list of middle-aged film actress—Laura Linney and Glenn Close come to mind—who are navigating towards TV in search of meatier parts. It’s only fitting that she brings her mettle to the small screen for a network with the slogan, “Characters welcome.”