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Posted on 09.04.2014

Similarities between Public Relations and ABC’s Hit Series “Scandal”

Television Drama Imitates (Sometimes) Real Life at Lovell Communications

It’s official: fall is underway. As we say goodbye to summer pool days and outside grilling, we usher in football season, crisp autumn leaves and, one of my personal fall favorites, the return of several hit television series.

My recent television addiction is “Scandal,” which enters its fourth season on September 25. With 10.5 million viewers having tuned into its May 2014 season finale, I’m not alone in my obsession. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, “Scandal” is an American political drama that focuses on main character Olivia Pope and her Washington D.C. – based crisis management firm, its staff, and the firm’s (often life or death) work with the White House and other clients.

While there are several differences between the suspenseful drama and life at Lovell, I can’t help but notice the similarities. The show features a PR firm and its crisis management experts. Sounds a bit like agency life to me.

First, however, allow me to note a few differences between Lovell Communications and Olivia Pope & Associates. For one, we’re located in the nation’s healthcare capital of Nashville, Tenn., where we manage strategic communications for a lengthy roster of healthcare and other industry clients. Olivia, on the other hand, serves only political clients from our nation’s capital. Additionally, Lovell’s services range from issues management to publicity, internal communications, media relations, online promotion and everything in between, while Olivia specializes solely in reputation and crisis management.

As for the similarities, among the 12 PR professionals who currently work at Lovell and the thousands of clients we have served over the years, Lovell has handled a significant number of crises, dramatic activities and major press events. A few years ago, we were even asked to participate in a reality television series!  Although we turned down the offer, I must say the work at Lovell provides enough suspense, drama and entertainment to easily fill a show.

While we neither hide dead bodies for our clients (thank goodness!) nor juggle multiple life or death crises a day like Olivia does, I do believe there are a number of similarities between Lovell and the agency on “Scandal.”

  • Dedication to clients. Like Olivia, Lovell staffers provide our clients with undivided attention whether we are handling a crisis, managing social media accounts, developing marketing plans or fulfilling any other client need.

  • Control and level-headedness in a crisis. In my first month here, I was invited to sit in on a meeting with Lovell PresidentRosemary Plorin as she handled a hospital crisis. (Ironically, Rosemary bears an uncanny resemblance to “Scandal” character Abby Whelan played by Darby Stanchfield!) I listened in awe to her steady, confident voice inform the CEO exactly what he should be doing and exactly what we planned to do every step of the way. Like our fellow PR star Olivia, we meet the crisis challenges and provide unparalleled support to our clients.

  • Hand selecting the best for our team. During my interview, CEO Paula Lovell told me the most challenging part of her job is selecting the right team members. Lovell’s agency staff are strategically chosen, and together make a diverse group that artfully and skillfully meets all of our clients’ differing needs.

  • We have each other’s backs. Similar to associates at the “Scandal” agency, Lovell employees comprise a team. It’s at the very core of our culture to rely on one another for support, ideas and challenges. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed. And we don’t let each other fail.

It’s not every day that we are helping a client deal with some sort of scandal. But to be sure, we are well-equipped to help when there is one.


Jacqueline Miller is an Administrative Assistant at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Jacqueline’s blogs here. Connect with Jacqueline at Jacqueline@lovell.com, or @JacqMills28

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