The Washington Post

‘Scandal’ ‘wins’ the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and it’s not the first D.C. TV show to do so

Bellamy Young responds to her co-star Tony Goldwyn's "advice" for her character, Mellie, on the ABC hit "Scandal." (The Washington Post)

So, spot any stars of “Scandal” this weekend? Yeah, we thought so. You could barely take a step at White House Correspondents’ Dinner festivities without running into President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn — nice guy, by the way) or his fictional wife, first lady Mellie (Bellamy Young, who loves taking selfies). While the show’s biggest star, Kerry Washington, stayed at home with her new baby, her ABC co-stars were everywhere. Scott Foley, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Joe Morton, Jeff Perry and Dan Bucatinsky were also spotted regularly.

From what we can tell, not since “The West Wing” cast showed up in droves in 2001 has there been such a complete Washington TV show takeover during WHCD weekend. But the casts of other D.C.-set shows tend to always cause a stir at the dinner. It’s not too surprising, because how often do real and fictional D.C. collide? Real-life Washington big-wigs get a kick out of mingling with the stars that portray their counterparts on the small screen.

So, congrats, “Scandal”! You guys won. In some ways, hot TV stars at the dinner make a bigger splash than the  A-listers — movie actors come and go, but there’s nothing like getting a photo with a TV cast member of the moment. Here’s a look back at what Washington-themed show “won” the dinners over the years just by being (a) buzzy and (b) everywhere.

2014: “Scandal” (see above).

2014 Runner-up: “Veep.” Though the show doesn’t get as much buzz, the cast members (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Timothy Simons) were hard to miss. Plus, JLD was the star with Joe Biden in this year’s wacky dinner video.

2013: “House of Cards.” Washington couldn’t get enough of the Netflix hit last year, after it had just premiered. Stars including Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Constance Zimmer showed up, along with Netflix execs. Plus, Spacey got to star in a “HOC” parody video at the dinner, which also featured lots of political folks. (There were several “Cards” cast members in attendance this year, but the show just isn’t as exciting anymore. And Spacey was absent.)

2012: “Homeland.” No cast was really overwhelming that year, but the Showtime CIA spy drama had just debuted that fall and everyone in Washington was obsessed — and star Claire Danes was there to bask in the glory.

2001: “The West Wing”: It was the glory days of the NBC drama, in its second season. The cast was given the A-list treatment that weekend, according to reports at the time, and Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe and Richard Schiff attended the dinner. (No Martin Sheen, though.)

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.
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