Things to Know Before Watching Showtime’s ‘The First Lady’

Showtime’s upcoming series ‘The First Lady’ gives viewers a glimpse into the lives and minds of three of the most prominent President’s wives in recent history with a star-studded cast that will perfectly embody their roles.

Here are some things you should know about ‘The First Lady’ before watching it –

What is ‘The First Lady’ about?

‘The First Lady’ is “A revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of the First Ladies,” states the Showtime website. The ten-episode series explores everything. From their “journeys to Washington, family life, and world-changing political contributions, the impact of the White House’s women” can be seen by the audience as it is “no longer hidden from view.”

The behind-the-scenes lives of prominent ladies – The First Ladies, are often away from the limelight despite the fact that they didn’t choose to be running for office – their husbands did. However, it puts them in positions of influence and power. As a downside, they face criticism, an eye on their lives, and thinking that the First Ladies “should keep their mouth shut,” as Gillian Anderson’s Eleanor Roosevelt says in the trailer of the show.

Showtime presents a look into the lives of women who did not necessarily choose to be put into the public spotlight. ‘The First Lady’ explores three of the famous women who have run the White House’s, East Wing, chronicling their lives from their husbands’ elections through their First Lady tenures. The women the show focuses on are Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt.


“Throughout our history, presidents’ spouses have wielded remarkable influence,” Jana Winograde, Showtime president of entertainment, said in a statement announcing the series. “Not only on the nation’s leaders but on the country itself.” It is “interweaving storylines so intimate it’s as if the White House walls are talking,” states Showtime according to Parade.

“Wanting to have a version of life while still being someone’s wife and managing to have a huge impact? I fell in love with all three of them,” says First Lady director Susanne Bier. Bier also previously helmed the Sandra Bullock starrer ‘Bird Box’.


This series delves deep into the First Ladies’ personal and political lives. Sex Education’s Gillian Anderson is portraying Eleanor Roosevelt, who is fresh off her Emmy win for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher on Netflix’s ‘The Crown’. The Oscar and Emmy winner ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ star Viola Davis steps into the role of Michelle Obama, the first Black First Lady of the United States.

The widely known and established ‘Scarface’‘Grease’, and ‘Batman Returns’ star Michelle Pfeiffer plays Betty Ford. Pfeiffer “had a very overwhelming part to play” as Betty Ford, says showrunner Cathy Schulman. “Because there were so many times Betty’s life was out of control because of her dependency.” This First Lady also publicly outspoken on many issues of the day. This includes the Equal Rights Act.

“With these formidable artists in front of and behind the camera, we couldn’t be more thrilled—especially at this unique moment in time for our nation—about the powerful promise of The First Lady,” says Amy Israel. Israel is the executive vice president of scripted programming at Showtime.

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The cast also includes:

Kiefer Sutherland (‘Designated Survivor’, ‘Stand by Me’) as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Aaron Eckhart (‘The Dark Knight’) as President Gerald Ford. Dakota Fanning (‘The Alienist’, ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’) as Susan Elizabeth Ford. Ellen Burstyn (‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’) as Sara Delano Roosevelt. Regina Taylor (‘I’ll Fly Away’, ‘The Unit’) as Michelle Robinson.

Kate Mulgrew (‘Star Trek: Voyager’‘Orange Is The New Black’) as Susan Sher. Lily Rabe (‘American Horror Story’) as Lorena “Hick” Hickok. Jayme Lawson as Young Michelle Obama. O-T Fagbenle (‘The Handmaid’sTale’‘WeCrashed’) as President Barack Obama.

Judy Greer (‘Halloween Kills’‘13 Going on 30’) as Nancy Howe. Jackie Earle Haley (‘Watchmen’) as Louis McHenry Howe. Maria Dizzia (‘The Neighbors’ Window’) as Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Lexi Underwood (‘Little Fires Everywhere’) as Malia Obama. Saniyya Sidney (‘King Richard’‘Hidden Figures’) as Sasha Obama.


Showtime’s ‘The First Lady’ was created by Aaron Cooley. It is executive produced by Oscar-winner Cathy Schulman (‘Crash’) and Susanne Bier (‘The Undoing’). Bier also directs the entire first season of the series, with additional production credits going to JuVee Productions’ Viola Davis, Julius Tennon and Andrew Wang, Aaron Cooley, and Pavlina Hatoupis, Alyson Feltes, Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media, and Brad Kaplan via Link Entertainment, as per DIRECTV.

When is ‘The First Lady’ Arriving on Showtime?

The first episode of ‘The First Lady’ premieres on Showtime network on April 17, 2022. Thereafter, the future episodes (ten episodes of the first season) will come to the network on the following Sundays.

Where was ‘The First Lady’ filmed?

‘The First Lady’ was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. It transformed city streets to recreate scenes from years past. A production company even sent out casting calls for minor roles.

How to watch ‘The First Lady’?

‘The First Lady’ will premiere on the Showtime network on April 17 at 9 pm ET/PT.

How does Michelle Obama feel about being in The First Lady?

Michelle Obama is the only living First Lady in the film. According to Parade, she feels that she’s not a larger-than-life character but couldn’t be happier that Davis is playing her. “I feel like I’m not worthy,” she said. “I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it’s exciting. Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role.”


Stream ‘The First Lady’ on Showtime: HERE


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