Skip to comments.TCA: CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary’ Sprang From Hillary Clinton And Benghazi, Exec Producer Says
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 its 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 NBCs new State Of Affairs, in which Katherine Heigl plays a tough CIA analyst, who presents the U.S. Presidents daily briefing on security issues facing the country, or ABCs returning Scandal, in which Kerry Washington plays the White Houses favorite tough-as-nails crisis manager/creator.
One critic wondered, given the likelihood Clinton will run for president again, why the series isnt called Madam President. Exec producer Freeman said no such idea came across his desk. But then, theres 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 Leonis 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 Ive 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.
Shes very eager to weigh in and help us; shes very excited about the show, Hall said of her meeting with Albright. Nobody pressed Hall as to whether shed 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, Im getting kinda sick of you
.So, Im back.
Two years of free campaign ads.
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.
It came about because people forgot about the last forgettable effort with the same purpose starring Geena Davis.
Hopefully it will crash and burn early on.
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.
Two years? I give this show two or three episodes before it disappears.
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.
Tea’ Leoni’s only redeeming value in this barely-disguised Hillary role is that Tea’ doesn’t have cankles.
And she said her kid was SICK of HER!! WOW....great mother!!
More liberal West Wing wet dreams of competency.
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.
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...
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....
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?
AS for Morgan...? et tu Brute?
This book is far outselling Hillary's latest fairy tale.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
Being promo’d now on CBS Sunday football. Unreal.
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.
Hope you saw it. Syria, US Kids in prison, CIA agent murdered, etc. Very well done.
Nope. We don’t watch TV in our house! So, was it an advertisement for Madam Hillary’s run for office?
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