ABCs Simran Sethi Previews Alaska Daily Premiere: Its Very Entertaining but Very Impactful

With the launch of “Alaska Daily” — the new drama series starring Academy Award winner Hillary Swank and hailing from Academy Award winner Tom McCarthy — ABC is shining a spotlight on an important issue: violence against Native women in the U.S.

Swank plays an investigative journalist who takes a job at a daily metro paper in Alaska, where she becomes embroiled in a mystery involving murder and a string of unsolved disappearances.

Simran Sethi, ABC Enteratinment’s executive vice president of programming and content strategy, said that the show was inspired by a series of articles published by the Anchorage Daily News, and that the lack of media attention around the crises facing Native women helped push ABC into picking up the show.

“I think the idea that this crisis isn’t talked about much in that we don’t talk about it on TV very often certainly was a big part of us wanting to do this,” Sethi told Variety. “So there is all of that while still making a character drama for ABC that has all the hallmarks of a character drama from ABC. There’s the workplace element, there’s rivalries and friendships and the office dynamics, there’s romance. It’s got all those hallmarks at the same time. I think the writers have done a really deft job of exploring these issues, the systemic issues with this crisis, the overall murder mystery that is uncovering who killed Gloria, and the history of why the system’s broken. It’s still very entertaining but very impactful.”

The show certainly feels like a big swing for the broadcast network, particularly given the star power both in front of and behind the camera. Sethi, however, thinks that is not where the pressure comes from with the show’s debut. “I think that candidly, the pressure I feel is because it feels like an important story,” she said.

“I think this project was really about telling the story of journalists as heroes,” she continued. “And I think it’s talking about how journalists are at the frontline of exposing so many faults in our system. And I think the tenor of the discussion of this profession over the past few years felt like it was worth emphasizing the heroism that goes with doing the job.”

“Alaska Daily” premieres Oct. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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