Skip to main content

'The First Lady' — release date, cast, plot, trailer and all you need to know

The First Lady — GIllian Anderson is set to star as Eleanor Roosevelt.
The First Lady — Gillian Anderson is set to star as Eleanor Roosevelt. (Image credit: Getty)

Epic new anthology series The First Lady will see Designated Survivor star Kiefer Sutherland head back to the Oval Office but this time as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Gillian Anderson as his wife Eleanor. 

The series is described as a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House, with Michelle Pfeiffer starring as Betty Ford who entered the White House in 1974 and Viola Davis as a much more recent First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Here’s everything we know so far about Showtime's ambitious new series The First Lady

The First Lady release date

The First Lady is still in pre-production so there’s no release date set by Showtime in the US. In the UK a channel has yet to be announced. We're expecting the series to start in 2022. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more.

What is The First Lady about?

The First Lady will explore the personal and political lives of three dynamic First Ladies, tracing their journeys to Washington through interweaving storylines. It won’t just focus on their lives as Presidential spouses, but reveal what got them to the White House, starting out during their early years and following them as they move to Washington D.C. 

The First Lady cast — the Roosevelts

Franklin D Roosevelt and his First Lady Eleanor.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his First Lady Eleanor. (Image credit: Getty)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (aka FDR) was the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945, and the only US president to serve for more than two terms. He married his fifth cousin Eleanor in 1905 and, despite contracting polio and losing movement in his legs in 1921, he went on to become one of the nation’s most revered presidents, navigating America through World War Two after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Eleanor was one of the first First Ladies to take an active interest in policy-making and promoting causes close to her heart such as Civil Rights and eliminating poverty.

Kiefer Sutherland is set to play FDR, having starred as fictional POTUS Tom Kirkman in Netflix series Designated Survivor, while Gillian Anderson is starring opposite him as Eleanor Roosevelt. And she’s no stranger to playing powerful women, either, having starred as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown Season 4 on Netflix.

Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.

The First Lady cast — Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown. (Image credit: Netflix)

After playing a fictional president in Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland now plays FDR inThe First Lady.

After portraying a fictional president in Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland now plays FDR in The First Lady. (Image credit: Getty)

The First Lady cast — the Fords

First Lady Betty Ford supporting her President husband Gerald in the 1970s.

First Lady Betty Ford supporting her President husband Gerald in the 1970s. (Image credit: Getty)

Gerald Ford served as POTUS from 1974 to 1977 following Richard Nixon’s resignation for his role in the Watergate scandal. Domestically he presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression, while his wife, Betty, was noted for raising breast cancer awareness following her mastectomy in 1974 and her support for the Equal Rights Amendment. She also set up the Betty Ford Centre for addiction following her own long running battle with alcoholism and substance abuse. The clinic has been visited by many high-profile celebrities including Liza Minnelli and Robert Downey Jr.

Aaron Eckhart (Erin Brockovich, The Dark Knight) will play President Gerald Ford alongside Michelle Pfeiffer (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Betty Ford, while Dakota Fanning (The Alienist) is the couple’s daughter Susan Ford.

First Lady Betty Ford will get the Michelle Pfeiffer treatment.

First Lady Betty Ford will get the Michelle Pfeiffer treatment. (Image credit: Getty)

Aaron Eckhart plays Gerald Ford.

Aaron Eckhart plays Gerald Ford. (Image credit: Getty)

The First Lady cast — the Obamas

First Lady Michelle Obama watches Barack take the Oath of Office.

First Lady Michelle Obama watches husband Barack take the Oath of Office. (Image credit: Getty)

Barack Obama, the 44th president, was in office between 2009 and 2017 and made history as the first black US president. He married attorney Michelle in 1992, who has gone on to have success as an author since leaving the White House, with her bestselling autobiography Becoming. Both also executive produce shows such as Crip Camp and We The People for Netflix.

Viola Davis won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences and has starred in hit crime series How To Get Away With Murder. Viola will play Michelle in the series, while British star O.T. Fagbenle, from Black Widow and The Handmaid’s Tale fame, has been cast as Barack Obama.

Viola Davis will become First Lady Michelle Obama.

Viola Davis will become First Lady Michelle Obama. (Image credit: Getty)

President Obama is played by O.T.Fagbenle.

President Obama is played by O.T.Fagbenle. (Image credit: Getty)

Is there a trailer for Showtime's The First lady?

Not yet! But we can’t wait to see The First Lady trailer to get a glimpse of Kiefer Sutherland and Gillian Anderson playing a married Presidential couple from the 1930s, so we’ll be sure to update as soon as one lands!

Will there be The First Lady Season 2?

Obviously a Season 2 will depend on the success of The First Lady Season 1, but it could well follow a successful formula of following three First Ladies and Presidents. Could we get an insight into the Reagans, Carters, Johnsons, Kennedys, Nixons, Eisenhowers or even further back to the Wilsons, Tafts and Lincolns.