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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Judith Light and Bette Midler join Ryan Murphy's The Politician

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Ryan Murphy has a “diva update” for all of us.

During the Pose panel at PaleyFest on Saturday night, the multi-hyphenate creator had lots of exciting casting news to share with audiences. Legendary actresses Bette Midler and Judith Light are officially joining the cast of Murphy’s debut Netflix project, The Politician.

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Their roles are still undisclosed, but they join a stacked cast that includes Tony winner Ben Platt as the leading man, and favorite Murphy collaborators Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange among many others. Light previously worked with Murphy on last year’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, earning an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Marilyn Miglin, the widow of one of Andrew Cunanan’s victims.

This marks Midler’s first partnership with Murphy, who has a knack for showcasing the talents of actresses over 50, often overlooked by an industry obsessed with youth, as he’s done with everyone from longtime muse Lange to Kathy Bates to Angela Bassett.

Midler celebrated the announcement on Twitter, writing, “#RyanMurphy gave the “Diva Update” last night…Yes, Judith Light and I have joined the fantastic cast of The Politician premiering on Netflix Sept 27. Great writing, great fun and great insight! See you on TV!!”

Murphy announced the primary cast, release date, and general plot of his first Netflix series last week. Platt stars as Payton Hobart, a wealthy student vying for Student Body President at elite private school Saint Sebastian High School. “To get elected Student Body President, secure a spot at Harvard, and stay on his singular path to success, Payton will have to outsmart his ruthless classmates without sacrificing his own morality and carefully crafted image,” the logline reads. “Full of dark comedy and sly satire, Ryan Murphy’s The Politician offers a rare glimpse into just what it takes to make a politician.”

The series will debut Sept. 27 on the streaming platform. It kicks off Murphy’s partnership with Netflix as the first project to arise from his reported $300 million exclusive production deal with Netflix. Two other series have been announced — Ratched, his prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Sarah Paulson, and Hollywood, his “love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown.”

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

PaleyFest featured the cast and creators of FX’s Pose, Murphy’s groundbreaking series about drag queens in 1980s New York and ball culture. Murphy had a “diva update” for this series as well, noting that Tony winner and Broadway icon Patti LuPone will appear in season 2, which premieres in June.

Further details are still to come about her role, but the series notably is making a time jump to 1990, aligning with the release of Madonna’s “Vogue.”

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