'Scandal': TV's Kerry Washington and Oprah on Breaking a Hollywood Race Barrier (VIDEO)

12/07/2012 11:47 am ET | Updated Dec 09, 2012

In the December 9 episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," Oprah sits down with actress Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope on the hit TV series "Scandal." When the show debuted in April 2012 on ABC, Kerry became the first African-American actress to have the lead in a network drama in almost 40 years. (Teresa Graves, star of the short-lived 1974-75 series "Get Christie Love," was the last African-American actress to have that distinction.)

"I didn't know the exact statistics when I read the script," Kerry says. "I didn't know, because I wasn't born in '74. So not in my lifetime has there been…"

"Oh, do tell," says Oprah. "Really?" -- and the two women share a laugh.

"Humblebrag!" jokes Kerry. Then, on a more serious note, she says, "I didn't know that it actually would be this momentous."

"[Olivia Pope] is a fully realized woman," says Oprah. "She's not just in this role because she is African-American. [She represents] a new moment for our culture."

Correction: It was previously stated that Kerry is the first African-American actress to have the lead in a primetime show in almost 40 years. She is the first African-American actress to have the lead in a network drama in that time period. Note to all of you "HawthoRNe" fans out there: That was a cable show.

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