How to watch 'The First Lady' and relive American history through its famous females

Consider us your guide to the women's White House

the first lady on showtime showing viola davis as michelle obama
(Image credit: Jackson Lee Davis/SHOWTIME)

Wondering how to watch The First Lady? Consider us your guide to the women's White House. 

If shows like Impeachment: American Crime Story, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife and Scandal found their way into your streaming queue, we have a feeling your interest will be piqued. Whether you cannot help but get caught up in politics, love learning about history or naturally gravitate towards TV shows about gossip and drama, this one's for you. 

Prepare to relive America's most significant time periods from a new vantage point.

(L-R): Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt in THE FIRST LADY

(Image credit: Ramona Rosales/SHOWTIME)

How to watch 'The First Lady'

The First Lady premiered on Sunday, April 17 at 9pm ET and PT on SHOWTIME. New episodes will air every Sunday until June 19. 

You can opt into Showtime's streaming service (opens in new tab) to access The First Lady at other times if your Sunday evenings are a bit hectic. For a limited time, those who sign up will have a 30-day free trial, followed by $3.99 per month for four months—commercial-free!

Additionally, Prime members can subscribe to SHOWTIME with Prime Video Channels. It's free for seven days, then $10.99 per month. Likewise, Hulu subscribers can opt for SHOWTIME as a Premium Add-on, which is also free for seven days then $10.99 per month. 

Showtime Streaming Service
30 days free, $3.99 per month for four months

'The First Lady' trailer and synopsis

Weaving in and out of three different time periods, The First Lady focuses on the women behind the nation's most powerful men: Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt. 

The show explores what it took for these women to transition to life in the White House, what policies they intended to change and how such a public and difficult undertaking affected their families and personal lives—certainly no easy feat.

When speaking to Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), the series' showrunner and co-executive producer, Cathy Schulman, said: "They were so enormously relevant and had a huge impact on social activism in this country. They were ordered to be in the background and refused. They fought their way through and were able to have their voices be heard. We all have a voice, and that’s such an important lesson we can’t forget.”

'The First Lady' cast

Curious who's who? See the list of actors and their real-life counterparts below.

  • Viola Davis as Michelle Obama
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford 
  • Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt
  • O-T Fagbenle as Barack Obama
  • Kiefer Sutherland as FDR
  • Aaron Eckhart as Gerald Ford
  • Dakota Fanning as Susan Ford
  • Saniyya Sidney as Sasha Obama
  • Lexi Underwood as Malia Obama

Though it's common to learn about American history through textbooks, shows like The First Lady offer another narrative that might not be as well known, and we know how vital it is to have different perspectives. Think of how many stories we haven't heard. 

We cannot wait to dig into the remaining nine episodes to see how everything unfolds for these notable female figures. Yes, you can definitely consider our Sunday nights booked until June. 

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)