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'Military' duo Michelle and Robert King worried about where Hollywood is headed

The sixth and final season of Paramount+ The Good Fight is a powerful proof that the world is possible It’s coming to an end. During its Sept. 8 premiere, riots filled the streets, grenades were thrown into crowded elevators, and suicide birds were bloodied through office windows. If the series’ creators Michelle and Robert King feel the same low-key panic as the characters in the legal drama, they won’t show it.

The couple, who have been delivering their dark comedy social commentary since the beginning of the previous series The Good Wife making them two of the most popular TV writers and producers in people , who shared the block with Central Park during a Zoom from their Manhattan home in late August—even if the conversation tends to focus on the transformation of the TV industry and their own inherent differences, they Still hilarious. (The secular Michelle is one of hundreds of female producers who signed a letter in July asking Hollywood studios to ensure the production’s abortion-safe protocol, while Robert is a lifelong Catholic.)

but the king, since 550 married, parents have an adult daughter, have more in common not. They seem to think the same may be true of Americans, and they have subtly tried to reinforce this concept in their work, including Paramount + Paranormal Program Evil and Showtime Lord , all produced under their King Size banner. “Our characters have different perspectives, and ideally, people want to hear their voices,” Robert said. “The more you play three-dimensional chess in politics, the harder it is for people to sit in their cozy little thought bubbles.”

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Militant captures the fear many people have about life in America. How does spending so much time on this material affect your own perspective?

ROBERT KING It’s kind of weird, isn’t it? One day is scary, and the next day is hopeful.

MICHELLE KING Usually half an hour – not even days. We’re all news junkies, whether we’re doing a show or not. The fact that there’s a show that incorporates these ideas is very helpful, especially since these writers’ rooms are filled with thoughtful, well-informed people. There is a place to deal with this anxiety.

ROBERT Sometimes the happiest writers write the most tragic ‘s script. There is a strange thing that a person can use writing as therapy. I feel a bit like Michael Emerson’s character [at evil ], reading the upcoming civil war and laughing at that there How fun it will be. It’s kind of scary.

andThe Good Fight, you’ve been through a lot Actors leaving – Ross Leslie, Kush Jumbo, Del Roy Lindo. Does this give you mixed feelings?

Michelle No. People have other obligations.

ROBERT Streaming lets creators in a deep bench The show gets more difficult. There are plenty of other opportunities, and the actors really want to be number one on the list. However, with any show, there really is only one first.

existMilitant Season 3, CBS canceled Includes plans for an animated music short film about Chinese censorship. The episode ends with a reference to the “CBS has reviewed this content” tag, which you’ve said you wish you had handled differently. This season revisits the entertainment industry’s ties to China. Are you going to do it right this time?

Robert I get a little pissed off when I’m told “no” instead of for a good reason – when it’s because of some corporate needs elsewhere. It felt like, “Okay, if you’re okay with Chinese drama, we’re going there.” Not only are we going there, we’re going to put it in Evil middle. Also, in order to be truly ethical, I’m appalled that the entertainment industry is so cowed by China’s mandate. Genocide is happening, Uyghurs are being held in concentration camps. How will people look back when American entertainment seems so subservient to overseas dictatorships?

The Good Fight final season by Audra McDonald (left), starring Christine Baranski, ends the King’s story from The Good Wife. by Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+ supply2015

The episode in question featured a manager saying, “Don’t fuck China,” and a pop star offering a flattering apology to China. Did the executives react differently this time around?

Michelle back to zero. They could have said, “You know what? This question is too hot, choose something else.” No one blinked.

Robert I do think [animated short] because you That can be attached to an email and sent to other bigwigs in the CBS world, so there’s more, “Oh my God, we don’t want that!” That cartoon from Jonathan Coulton and Headgear Animation is simply Perfect sublimation. How much did we spend page says that they literally do 29 second. That’s what makes it dangerous. The third episode of the season is about racism in football, which I think is more dangerous for conglomerates these days. I think the show is being given more leeway because we’re out of the gate. But they have always been nice to us.

Needless to say, Season 3 evil The end can objectively be called an unwanted pregnancy. What does the abortion talk in the writer’s room sound like now? How do your different perspectives affect these conversations?

Michelle We did not consider Roe v. Wade conspiracy with demon children. Unwanted pregnancy, it’s just what the egg donor doesn’t want — in fact. But the surrogate mother was eight months pregnant, so the conversation was over.

ROBERT It didn’t surpass The Good Conversation on Fight. The overthrow of Roe v. Wade is at the heart of the show. Michelle and I, no matter how many years we’ve been married, have had healthy arguments and conversations. I won’t talk about arguments…healthy conversations. Now it’s about the mindset of Diane [Kristin Baranski]. What does she think?


It’s easy. This has nothing to do with our disagreement on the topic. We know very well what Diane is thinking.

ROBERT No matter what we do, I will go to the comedy . And Roe v. Wade is not a comedy subject for anyone. So, it’s trying to figure out how to get it — comedy first, emotion second, and make sure we never preach. This is how we resolve any differences that may exist on political issues.

The Good Wife Alumni Mike Colter stars Wicked , which opened its fourth season of Writers Room in September. 2 by Elizabeth Fisher /Paramount+Provide

Do you think we’ll see more depictions or discussions of abortion on TV and movies now?

Michelle More Hollywood producers are shocked by the repeal. We can only think about our shows, and the one thing we want to avoid the most is seriousness. So we’re not jumping into an obvious abortion story.

Robert Regarding the business itself, applied to the company to protect the The pressure on employees in those states – even to prevent filming in those states – will gain traction. But I do worry that as the entertainment world becomes three or four conglomerates, they will grow more fearful of politics. They worry that the other side of the Disney brand will oppose their lobbying efforts in Washington So, I do think you won’t find that many adventurous TVs about politics. Going forward, entertainment programs will be hard to come by except for late night shows.

Both of you have said you’re going to leave movie broadcast TV because you don’t like the development process. But with all the consolidation, TV looks more like movies these days. Does this have anything to do with you?

Robert Most importantly, because it affects creativity. About good wife , aggressive , evil and even BrainDead , we basically have finals. No notes due to time constraints. The more time producers — and now I’m talking about non-writing producers — have to fill in the gaps, the more time they’ll find the energy and ability to [intervene]. You’ll find a lot of different executives being laid off, a lot of white executives being pushed in, and more money going into the C-suite because they add so-called value along the way. In my opinion, it’s a huge gap where they kill features, making writers the kind of stenographers that producers want. If producers don’t want something, they rewrite it to do it another way. You will find these mini rooms are the same. They’re just a way for producers to repurpose a story in some way that they think makes the story more valuable and kills the writer’s intuition. We had a great time in our lives, but I’m worried people will show up. There isn’t as much freedom to keep things running smoothly. We don’t do mini rooms because writers deserve their value.

MICHELLE is a misnomer. Nothing mini. It’s a room in which the writers hired to work work as hard as they would in a traditional room. It’s a meaningless distinction just to make writers less paid than they should be.

Robert This is like development hell in the movies . Who wants to go back to that state? too crazy.

Are you worried about such a programBrain dead only run After a season, suddenly being lifted off the platform, lost in time?

Michelle There are too many worries. God bless BrainDead but I can’t stay up all night worrying it will be removed by Paramount+. ( laughed. )

Robert I’ll tell you what I’m worried about. We don’t have a copy of it anywhere. We don’t have DVDs. If I need to memorize lines we’ve used to make sure we don’t copy ourselves, I’ll go ahead and use Paramount+ and find it.

MICHELLE We can probably get a copy. Or can we record it?

ROBERT With my iPhone? (Laughter.) Well, I gotta tell you, you run into a pain point for showrunners pretty much everywhere. They’re terrified by the feeling that the work they’ve spent so much time on could be lifted into the sky just like you said. Sometimes it’s done by people o they don’t have creative bones in their bodies.

MICHELLE This is a bigger concern. Books are out of print. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it seems to be happening for all the wrong reasons.

What is your own pipeline like now? You selected Happy Face Last year’s true crime series podcast.

MICHELLE We are in the final stages of negotiating with the directors Happy face . Your Honor Season 2, filmed in New Orleans and filmed in Los Angeles for New Orleans.

Showtime Limited SeriesYour Honor, starring Carmen Ejogo and Bryan Cranston, was renewed after high ratings. by Skip Provided by Bolen/SHOWTIME

Where can I find New Orleans in Los Angeles?

Michelle Santa Clarita. ( Laughs. ) This is an interior set.

ROBERT Season 1​​, we are in New Orleans Everything was photographed – including the interior. This year we saved money by shooting in Santa Clarita.

MICHELLE (Whispering .) No, we don’t. More.

ROBERT Then why do we do this?


What sacrifices are you making these days to stay on a budget?

Robert We tried to address funding at the script stage, but it’s hard if you want any scope. Another thing is that we are a family business. It’s us, [King Size President] Liz Glotzer and our assistant. We don’t have executives.

MICHELLE Other production companies It turns out that a considerable number of shows Have more executives and more infrastructure.

ROBERT I keep saying to Liz and Michelle, “We More people have to be hired.” I think they were worried about losing control.

Your last statement for this part of THR, in 1987, you introduced King Size so you can become an executive and spend more Show less time. That’s not what happened. Do you still want to give up more creative control?

MICHELLE We said we were cutting expenses. Now that The Good Fight is over, we won’t be running two shows at the same time. We just got evil . However, in three hours we will be promoting a new show with CBS.

ROBERT We can’t stop ourselves, but I don’t know that Whether it is our credit. I think it’s a twitch. Once we’ve done The Good Wife , there’s a feeling we’ll never do 09 TV show for one year. Well, if you’re doing two shows, you’re doing episodes even 2009 .

Michelle then third A show slipped in and all of a sudden it was 29 episodes. That’s a not a plan!

Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the September 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. 1987Click here to subscribe .



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