It’s official: All Rise, the Simone Missick legal drama that was canceled by CBS after its second season, has officially been revived at OWN.
Dee Harris-Lawrence, who also exec produces and showruns OWN’s David Makes Man will be the showrunner after coming onto the show during its CCBS run. She’ll exec produce with Missick.
Also, HBO Max and Hulu have acquired subscription streaming rights for all episodes of the show. The first two seasons will be on both Hulu and HBO Max beginning Dec. 1, 2021, ahead of the show’s third season debut on OWN. The third season will be available on both HBO Max and Hulu after it airs on OWN in 2022.
“All Rise has been a great performer, achieving strong ratings and growing its share from season one to two. Featuring a strong character front and center, Judge Lola Carmichael’s story reflects our audience with powerful affirmation,” said Tina Perry, president, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. “A special thanks to Warner Bros. Television and our incredible showrunner and longtime partner Dee Harris-Lawrence. We can’t wait to get started on season three and bring this show back for long-standing and new fans alike.”
Brett Paul, President, Warner Bros. Television, said: “We are incredibly thrilled that ‘All Rise’ will be back in court, and we are so thankful to our great partners at OWN for ruling in favor of another season of this powerful drama. Dee Harris-Lawrence and the creative team have done an incredible job of telling important stories about timely subjects which have been brought to life by Simone Missick and the show’s outstanding ensemble cast. We can’t wait for audiences to see what the ‘All Rise’ team has in store for season three. And we are also grateful to our partners at HBO Max and Hulu, without whose support this would not be possible.”
Per its official description: All Rise is a courthouse drama that follows the chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of its judges, prosecutors, and public defenders, as they work with bailiffs, clerks, and police to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal system. Among them is newly appointed ‘Judge Lola Carmichael’ (Simone Missick), a highly regarded and impressive former deputy district attorney who doesn’t intend to sit back on the bench in her new role, but instead leans in, immediately pushing the boundaries and challenging the expectations of what a judge can be.
The series also stars Wilson Bethel as Judge Carmichael’s best friend, Deputy District Attorney ‘Mark Callan,’ Jessica Camacho as public defender ‘Emily Lopez,’ J. Alex Brinson as bailiff-turned-lawyer ‘Luke Watkins,’ Ruthie Ann Miles as Lola’s assistant ‘Sherri Kansky,’ Lindsay Mendez as court reporter ‘Sara Castillo,’ and Lindsey Gort as defense attorney ‘Amy Quinn.’
Though the show was not a breakout in the ratings, a scandal behind the scenes of the show surely did it no favors. The creator and showrunner, Greg Spottiswood, was accused of misconduct last August. Dee Harris Lawrence of David Makes Man was brought in to work with him initially. However, Spottiswood ended up being fired altogether in March and Lawrence helmed the remaining episodes herself.
As reported in August 2020, several writers left the show, citing issues with the series’ gender and race portrayals. The New York Times reported back then that five of the seven original writers, including three of the series’ leading writers of color, would not come back for the second season after arguing with Spottiswood, who is white, regarding depictions of minorities and gender. A decision was made to keep Spottiswood as showrunner but pair him with a Black female corporate coach. A Warner Bros. representative told TVLine that their internal findings “did not reveal conduct that would warrant removing” him.
One writer, Sleepy Hollow alumna Sherlnold Edwards, left All Rise and revealed that the writers “had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive.” One episode mentioned by Edwards was written by white writer Greg Nelson featuring a Latinx gang antagonizing Los Angelenos with machetes. Lindsay Mendez, who plays Sara Castillo in the series, refused to act in the episode, and a Latinx writer called the script into question. The machete idea was axed after Spottiswood learned about Mendez’s refusal. Another writer, Sunil Nayar, left after his concerns about the show’s portrayal of people of color and Black people, in particular, weren’t addressed. Nayar, who was the showrunner for ABC’s Revenge, said that Spottiswood “hired me to be his brown guy.”
Deadline later reported, “According to sources, the climate in the (now virtual) writers room did not improve in Season 2, and some writers were reportedly offended by remarks Spottiswood allegedly made that were perceived as insensitive, especially for the writers of color. Complaints about Spottiswood’s behavior led to a new investigation by Warner Bros. TV, which resulted in his dismissal.”