ABC has officially picked up the Katey Sagal-starring series Rebel. The alphabet network on Wednesday gave a straight-to-series order for the drama, which was originally put into development at ABC last October and is written by Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff.
Inspired by the life of activist Erin Brockovich, Rebel stars Sagal as Annie "Rebel" Bello, a "blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree" who is described as "funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost."
In announcing the series order, Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, said that Brockovich "has never stopped the extraordinary work she does fighting for her clients like they’re family," according to Deadline. Burke called Vernoff's take on the activist's life "undeniable" and said that Sagal is "a powerhouse in Rebel." She promised that "viewers are going to fall in love with these characters and the world Krista has created for them." Meanwhile, Brockovich, in her own statement, said that Rebel "is not just my story, it is all of our stories," adding that "there is a hero that exists in all of us, and I am so excited for Krista Vernoff and ABC to bring their visionary storytelling to this series."
Rebel had originally been put into development at ABC in October 2019, with Sagal joining the project in January. In June, it became one of five 2020 ABC pilots, all of which had been halted by the coronavirus pandemic, to be selected by the network to begin production once doing so was deemed safe. Prior to the straight-to-series order, the network had commissioned a writers' room for Rebel, which has reportedly produced six scripts to date.
The series will mark Vernoff's third at the network, joining Grey's Anatomy and Station 19. In a statement, Vernoff said that "it has been a tremendous honor to get to know [Brockovich] and to create a show inspired by her." She said that she is "thrilled to be working with a dream cast" that is led by Sagal, adding that she "could not be more excited about the series order for Rebel."
Along with Sagal, Rebel also stars John Corbett as Grady Bello; James Lesure as Benji; Lex Scott Davis as Cassidy; Tamala Jones as Lona; Ariela Barer as Ziggie; Kevin Zegers as Nate; Sam Palladio as Luke; and Andy Garcia as Cruz. Vernoff wrote the pilot and executive produces along with Alexandre Schmitt of Trip the Light. Brockovich also executive produces along with John Davis and John Fox. Rebel is expected to premiere sometime in 2021.