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TCA: CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary’ Sprang From Hillary Clinton And Benghazi, Exec Producer Says
Deadline Hollywood ^ | July 17, 2014 | Lisa De Moraes, TV Columnist

Posted on 07/27/2014 11:12:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

CBS‘ new drama series Madam Secretary, in which Tea Leoni plays the Secretary of State, came about because of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, exec producer Lori McCreary told TV critics today at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.

McCreary said she and Morgan Freeman had lunch with CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler about producing a scripted series for the network, after which, McCreary says, they set about “trying to come up with a great character…And then, guess what happened — the Benghazi hearings,” McCreary said. They went back to Tassler with the idea of a series about what it’s like to be the female Secretary of State, “and how it translates overseas when rights for women are not what they are here,” she said. Tassler introduced them to Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall, who “took that kernel of an idea” and ran with it.

In Madam Secretary, Tea Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who becomes the shrewd, determined, newly appointed Secretary of State, driving international diplomacy, battling office politics, and circumventing protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues both at the White House and at home. This is not to be confused with NBC’s new State Of Affairs, in which Katherine Heigl plays a tough CIA analyst, who presents the U.S. President’s daily briefing on security issues facing the country, or ABC’s returning Scandal, in which Kerry Washington plays the White House’s favorite tough-as-nails crisis manager/creator.

One critic wondered, given the likelihood Clinton will run for president again, why the series isn’t called Madam President. Exec producer Freeman said no such idea came across his desk. “But then, there’s Season 4,” Leoni joked/hinted. Freeman dodged the saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-off question as to whether he would show up in the series playing a former or future POTUS.

Asked if she had met with any of the three recent female Secretaries of State as she prepped the series, Hall mentioned former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who was introduced to her by Tim Daly, who plays Leoni’s religion-professor husband on the series. Daly who is well-connected in Washington as president of The Creative Coalition — the nonprofit advocacy group formed of members of the entertainment industry — called Albright “my White House Correspondents Dinner girlfriend. She became very close and she gives the best [worldwide] restaurant recommendations of anyone I’ve ever known,” Daly added. He hinted his role on the show will grow in upcoming episodes, saying coyly, “You may have noticed religion has played a significant role in the …violent conflicts around the world.”

“She’s very eager to weigh in and help us; she’s very excited about the show,” Hall said of her meeting with Albright. Nobody pressed Hall as to whether she’d met with Clinton for the show, which Hall said is set about five years in the future — so if she were to write an episode about a Benghazi-ish situation, for instances, there would be references to Benzhazi as being a previous attack. Hall wanted the Clinton…er, McCord character have a “successful and realistic” marriage — if not a “perfect” one, because the TV trope of a woman in a strong position of leadership whose life is broken everywhere else is so over — or words to that effect. “We as women have to overcome that image,” Hall urged.

One critic called the pilot episode “prescient” because it involves a terrorist group that uses Facebook. Hall said she used the story of American kids kidnapped in Syria because it would be “recognizable to people who are not necessarily schooled in international politics.”

Signing Leoni to the series was considered quite a “get.” The actress, who has stayed away from network television since 1998 when her NBC sitcom The Naked Truth ended its run, had been approached for pilots ever since, but her only TV gig in the past 15 years was the 2011 HBO pilot Spring/Fall. Asked about her decision to return to series TV with this series, Leoni said the decision was as simple as her kids turning 12 and 15 and the younger telling her, “I’m getting kinda sick of you….So, I’m back.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Politics; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: 2016; benghazi; hillary; television
The masks are falling.
1 posted on 07/27/2014 11:12:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Two years of free campaign ads.


2 posted on 07/27/2014 11:27:13 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

this came about b/c hillary’s running for president, and they’re going to make great stories for her and infer the character’s “successes” onto hillary. thus substituting actual hillary history w/ fake successful artificial history.

this is basically a west wing project to get hillary elected.


3 posted on 07/27/2014 11:27:28 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man ( Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It came about because people forgot about the last forgettable effort with the same purpose starring Geena Davis.


4 posted on 07/27/2014 11:40:58 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (Liberals make unrealistic demands on reality and reality doesn't oblige them.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hopefully it will crash and burn early on.


5 posted on 07/27/2014 11:44:05 PM PDT by mass55th (Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway...John Wayne)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

all these poli dramas seem to have leftist adivors from Dem presidents. Heck even the last GI Joe movie had a Clinton advisor in it, forgot his name tho.
Think I will pass on watching.


6 posted on 07/28/2014 12:10:18 AM PDT by RginTN
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To: Vince Ferrer
Two years of free campaign ads.

Two years? I give this show two or three episodes before it disappears.

7 posted on 07/28/2014 1:10:20 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You couldn’t tell? I mean Tea Leoni had the same stupid, cold stare that Hillary Clinton has, and she has the same
frosty exterior that Hillary projects, as well as the same
meanness and pomposity. Tea Leoni is not one of my favorite actresses anyway, and for her to play the role of a spoiled brat Hillary Clinton, she reaches an all time low—right after Spanglish.


8 posted on 07/28/2014 1:13:33 AM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: righttackle44

Tea’ Leoni’s only redeeming value in this barely-disguised Hillary role is that Tea’ doesn’t have cankles.


9 posted on 07/28/2014 1:32:40 AM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: righttackle44

And she said her kid was SICK of HER!! WOW....great mother!!


10 posted on 07/28/2014 2:18:56 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion.....the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

More liberal West Wing wet dreams of competency.


11 posted on 07/28/2014 2:25:27 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Rummyfan
Two years? I give this show two or three episodes before it disappears.

If profit was the only motive for producing the show, that would be true. But this one isn't about profit, it's about making sure that Ms. Inevitable becomes president, so it's more of a long-term investment.

12 posted on 07/28/2014 2:44:10 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: righttackle44; All
I know some of Leoni's relatives...The family name actually is Pantaleoni.....she dropped the first syllable early on in her career. Considering that her doppledanger is Hillary..the "PANT"....is sort of fitting...

BTW..back in 2005..also pimping for a Hillary run...ABC had a series "Commander in Chief"..starring Geena Davis...about a female VP who becomes President when the POTUS dies...it was cancelled after a few shows...

13 posted on 07/28/2014 2:58:38 AM PDT by ken5050 ("One useless man is a shame, two are a law firm, three or more are a Congress".. John Adams)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It is hard to believe that enough viewers still watch CBS to make this worthwhile for Hillary’s campaign, which it transparently is designed to support.....this instead of the planned “documentaries” I guess, which SHE would never agree to so they were canceled....


14 posted on 07/28/2014 3:32:50 AM PDT by browniexyz
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I will be sure to put this on my “must see” viewing.

When will these dopes in the various media outlets come to realize that anything you try to sell us with Hillary is going to be a monumental loser?

Let’s see book deal? 6 million loss? TV? 40 million?

Smarten up..

AS for Morgan...? et tu Brute?


15 posted on 07/28/2014 4:13:02 AM PDT by nikos1121
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To: Rummyfan
I'm with you; one episode will be all they need since there is a dearth of accomplishments by Killary. Her Machiavellian side may carry the show into the far distant future. A much better title for the show would be: “Horrible Harridan POS”
16 posted on 07/28/2014 4:41:26 AM PDT by blaveda
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The media will do all it can to help Hillary.

Meanwhile, Hillary is trying to ban three books which are highly unflattering:

#1 New York Times Bestseller blood feud obamas clintons hillary barack bill

This book is far outselling Hillary's latest fairy tale.

17 posted on 07/28/2014 4:50:42 AM PDT by Fear The People (When the government fears the people, you have LIBERTY.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hope this turkey turns out to be a career-ender for everybody involved.

Who wants to watch a one-hour program every week about Hillary? This program is going to lose out in the ratings to MSNBC, and that’s tough to do.

Tea Leoni is an attractive looking woman. But if people start thinking “Hillary” every time they look at her, that impression will soon change.


18 posted on 07/28/2014 5:03:54 AM PDT by Haiku Guy (Health Care Haiku: If You Have a Right / To the Labor I Provide / I Must Be Your Slave)
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To: righttackle44
I caught one of the promos for this show. Secretary (Hillary) was sitting around with a couple of her speechwriters work out what to say about something, and Secretary (Hillary) spouts off some well crafted bit of pompous nonsense, that the speechwriters think is just wonderful, and Secretary (Hillary) says, amusedly, "Do you want me to write that down for you?"

The annoying conceit, of course, is that the character is brilliant because she can phrase things wonderfully right off the top of her head. Of course, she is just a bubble-headed actress reading a line that was probably crafted over two days by a team of writers. And, as I recall, though pleasant sounding, the blather was just more of the stupid, ahistorical, can't-we-all-just-get-along nonsense that has caused most of our diplomatic faceplants over the last six years.

But this "I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters" schtick reminds us too much of the Narcissist in Chief.

19 posted on 07/28/2014 5:14:44 AM PDT by Haiku Guy (Health Care Haiku: If You Have a Right / To the Labor I Provide / I Must Be Your Slave)
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To: browniexyz

What? CBS is the only worthwhile network of them all. NCIS, CSI, Blue Bloods, Big Brother, Survivor and tons more. Best network on TV by a mile.


20 posted on 07/28/2014 5:15:16 AM PDT by napscoordinator (I guarantee every FRiend Misses the lost opportunity of a President Santorum!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
In Madam Secretary, Tea Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who becomes the shrewd, determined, newly appointed Secretary of State, driving international diplomacy, battling office politics, and circumventing protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues both at the White House and at home.

A show about a smart and competent woman working as Secretary of State would present a stark contrast with Hillary's tenure in that position. Do these fools understand how devastating that is going to be to Hillary and her supporters?

21 posted on 07/28/2014 5:32:27 AM PDT by Zeppo ("Happy Pony is on - and I'm NOT missing Happy Pony")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Brooke Hogan saving the day in 2-Headed Shark Attack is far more entertaining. How that didn't become a blockbuster is beyond belief. /sarc.
22 posted on 07/28/2014 4:29:16 PM PDT by ConservativeStatement ("World Peace 1.20.09.")
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To: napscoordinator

Not a regular TV-watcher! Of the shows you mentioned, I do know of CSI, because it is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and he is good!


23 posted on 07/28/2014 6:22:10 PM PDT by browniexyz
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Being promo’d now on CBS Sunday football. Unreal.


24 posted on 09/21/2014 12:22:26 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The media learned they can craft political personalities with the Tina Fey SNL comparison. LIVs really are stupid enough to see characters as the politician. They will give Hillary some accomplishments out of whole cloth.


25 posted on 09/21/2014 12:33:31 PM PDT by pgyanke (Republicans get in trouble when not living up to their principles. Democrats... when they do.)
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To: browniexyz
Saw the new show Secretary of State. It was excellent.

Hope you saw it. Syria, US Kids in prison, CIA agent murdered, etc. Very well done.

26 posted on 09/21/2014 8:45:50 PM PDT by Chgogal (Obama "hung the SEALs out to dry, basically exposed them like a set of dog balls..." CMH)
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To: Chgogal

Nope. We don’t watch TV in our house! So, was it an advertisement for Madam Hillary’s run for office?


27 posted on 09/22/2014 5:10:00 AM PDT by browniexyz
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