Simone Missick Opens Up About 'All Rise' Moving to OWN — and Her Memorable Encounter with Oprah!

"I felt so at peace with knowing that this was meant to be," Simone Missick said about All Rise's switch to a new network

Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS

Simone Missick is more than ready for the third season of All Rise.

The actress — who stars as Judge Lola Carmichael in the courtroom drama — is opening up exclusively to PEOPLE about the show's fresh start on OWN, how she hopes to inspire young women of color and why her first encounter with Oprah Winfrey was so memorable.

"When we left off season 2, we had a huge jumping-off point with our characters just being challenged in different ways and making different decisions," says Missick, 40. "Lola was going to be up for reelection, Mark [Wilson Bethel] and Amy [Lindsey Gort] got engaged, Emily [Jessica Camacho] moved to Puerto Rico, Luke [J. Alex Brinson] moved from the DA's office to the PD's office, everyone is trying something new."

"At the top of season 3, we are seeing where all of those people are," she added. "And I just think that our fans are going to love seeing cases that still pull at the heart, that speak to things that we are seeing currently in our news. But then also these really fun characters exploring different relationships and rediscovering love in their current relationships. It's going to be a lot of fun."

All Rise Season 3 Simone Missick

All Rise was canceled by CBS after two seasons in May 2021 before the Oprah Winfrey Network picked it up for season 3 last September.

"When the show was canceled, I want to say within days, our executive producer and showrunner were very hopeful, and they immediately said, 'But, we're looking at other places for the show to go,'" Missick recalled. "And it was kind of cagey, and we didn't really know what that meant. I was certainly trying to guess, 'Well, which Warner Brothers entity would be able to carry this show?' And then the seed, it started to sprinkle in that, oh, it might be OWN."

"When we got closer and closer to the deal being done, I was so excited about the possibilities," she added. "I've long been a fan of OWN, I've watched shows on that network and just felt like they really love centering the Black women in their stories, and I feel like their stories are oftentimes beautifully shot and beautifully told. And we get to see romance and important issues that happen within communities of color on screen in a way that I think is compelling."

Missick is also excited about "the prospect of being able to tell All Rise on a cable network where you can curse and lean into reality in a way that sometimes network TV [doesn't allow]."

She concluded, "When we finally got the pickup, I felt so at peace with knowing that this was meant to be, and so thankful. I am so excited about this being the third season. I know that I've said this before. Our theme is new beginnings, but it's a new beginning for our show on the network with this new partnership with OWN, and their level of excitement about the show, it's like it is the first season all over again."

Simone Missick, Oprah Winfrey
Gregg DeGuire/Getty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

After learning the news that All Rise would be joining the OWN family, Missick admitted, "My mind just started running with all of the possibilities — first being: I get to meet Oprah? Will I get to finally meet Oprah?"

She shares, "We had our cast table read that we did virtually, and it was for the first episode of the season, and there's so much excitement behind that, and they were like, 'Oprah's going to come on.' It was like Santa Claus coming to town. I was so excited. Thank God it was on Zoom because we probably would've touched her and hugged her and just been pulling on her from all directions if it had been in person."

She continues, "It wasn't until we got off the Zoom where someone said, 'How does it feel to have Oprah Winfrey sing your name?' And I was like, 'What?' And they were like, 'She said, Simone Missick!' And I was like, 'Oh my God. She did.' And we recorded her on the Zoom, and we posted it on social media, so I get to watch that over and over again. If we still had voice answering machines, I would make it my answering machine message — Oprah Winfrey saying, 'You have reached the house of Simone Missick!'"

Mike Windle/Getty Images for People

One of the reasons Missick is so passionate about continuing her work on All Rise is because she knows what inspiration her character will bring to younger women — not unlike the soon-to-be newest Supreme Court Justice.

"Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the ultimate possibility," she said. "And for her appointment to happen in this time, at the same time that the show is a weekly reminder that this trajectory in the legal field as possible, I can't express how hopeful I am that little children of all races and ethnic backgrounds and cultures believe that is a possibility, but specifically little Black and Brown girls.

"To see that for the first time in history, it makes you feel like what we put out into the world as artists helps for people's minds to become accustomed to something being a possibility," she added. "And then it doesn't make it that far-fetched when it actually happens."

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All Rise premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on OWN.

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