TV dramas

Producers Of Some Of TV’s Top Dramas Talk About How They Do It

By Luaine Lee
McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

PASADENA, Calif.

How do the wizards of television keep audiences coming back for more?

With so much competition it requires a mysterious alchemy to spin straw into television gold.

And it’s an uber-challenge when some of the shows run a marathon of 24 episodes.

Robert King and his co-producing wife, Michelle, are show runners for the popular series “The Good Wife.”

They manage, he says, by cautiously approaching any explosive change in the plot.

“We only want to go someplace if we think we have enough story to go there. And we always worry about painting ourselves into a deeper and deep corner. So we only tend to go to some place if we think we can stabilize it afterwards,” he says.

“So much of our instinct is to try to keep blowing things up just because you’re so aware of TV being comfort food, and just establishing a family that makes you feel comfortable with it.”

Their leading character is Alicia Florrick, an attorney played by Julianna Margulies. “It felt like Alicia’s life from the very beginning, the very moment that started, the series was about her life exploding,” says King.

“And we’ve always told ourselves the show is the education of Alicia Florrick and that can only happen with change. And so each year there’s change.”

Rob Doherty is the executive producer of CBS’ “Elementary,” the tale of a latter-day Sherlock Holmes. He says his magic wand was making Dr. Watson a woman (Lucy Liu).

“Part of the plan from the very beginning was to establish a female Watson.

There was a symmetry to the plan that I liked, and the rest of the staff really liked.

It also seemed the best way to break our Holmes was to say he made the mistake of falling in love once.

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