Judy Smith, the inspiration for Scandal's Olivia Pope, interviewed by Cynné Simpson

Judy Smith, former White House press secretary, is the inspiration for Scandal's Olivia Pope.

,Tonight ABC premeired its new show, 'Scandal.'

It's a political drama based here in D.C. and centers around a high-profile image maker who is skilled at hiding clients' secrets.

ABC7's Cynné Simpson spoke to the real life inspiration for the series -- former White House deputy press secretary Judy Smith.

The character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington is smart, savvy, beautiful...and well connected to some of Washington's most influential players, chiefly the President of the United States.

Similarly, the show's co-executive producer Judy Smith is the go-to guru in D.C. for crisis management. And the former deputy press secretary for President George H. W. Bush.

It's no secret that she's the real Olivia Pope.

Smith worked closely with the show's creator, Shonda Rhymes - of Greys Anatomy and Private Practice fame - to bring the intensity of crisis management to TV.

It's a fast-paced field where clients ranging from celebrities to corporations or even countries call needing immediate damage control and the stakes can be enormous.

Cases like the Clinton - Lewinsky scandal and Michael Vick and even Marion Barry.

But beyond dishing out drama, Scandal is breaking down barriers. Actress Kerry Washington is the first African-American lead actress in a network TV show since the 60s.

She says it was the "real" nature of the of the character that attracted her to the project.

Scandal is only slated for six episodes but Washington and Smith are hopeful viewers will support the new series so it can continue production.

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