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CBS using 'Good Wife' spinoff to sell its streaming service

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/9/2017 By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Delroy Lindo, back row from left, Erica Tazel, Justin Bartha, Sarah Steele, Michelle King, Robert King, Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo and Rose Leslie attend "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Delroy Lindo, back row from left, Erica Tazel, Justin Bartha, Sarah Steele, Michelle King, Robert King, Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo and Rose Leslie attend "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The loud expletive coming from Christine Baranski's lips during the trailer for the upcoming spinoff of "The Good Wife" makes you immediately realize you're not on CBS anymore.

Christine Baranski speaks during "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Christine Baranski speaks during "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The new show, "The Good Fight," will air starting Feb. 19 on the CBS All Access streaming service. CBS executives hope the 10-episode original series will entice more people to subscribe to CBS All Access, beyond the one million they currently have.

Cush Jumbo attends "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Cush Jumbo attends "The Good Fight" panel at The CBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The spinoff is centered on Baranski, the most high-profile actor to stay on for the new series. Her character learns midway through the first episode that her retirement savings have been lost in a Ponzi scheme — hence the expletive.

Robert and Michelle King, the creative forces behind "The Good Wife," are running the new series. They were supposed to be more peripherally involved, but the failure of their summertime political satire "BrainDead" on CBS gave them more time. The chance to make the series in a new environment with a Trump administration also excited them, they said on Monday.

Baranski said she turned down another drama offer to do the new show.

"I still like to work with the Kings," she said. "I still like to work with this character. There was a real reluctance on my part to let go of what was a great job, a great role and great writers."

Another returning actress, Cush Jumbo, will work at an all-black law firm in the spinoff and said she appreciated the chance to tell new stories.

"The last thing I would want to do is a diluted version of 'The Good Wife,'" she said.

Although other people involved in "The Good Wife" will also appear in the new show, don't expect the old series' star, Julianna Margulies, Robert King said.

It will be the second original series on CBS All Access following "Big Brother: Over the Top" last fall. In May, the highest-profile new show, "Star Trek: Discovery," will bow.

Subscribers are able to see all current CBS series, their full seasons and past seasons. CBS All Access also recently began live-streaming pro football. The service's library of vintage programs — including some that CBS owns but didn't broadcast, like "Cheers" and the original "Star Trek"— accounts for about one third of the material streamed regularly, said Marc DeBevoise, president of CBS Interactive.

About 8,500 program episodes are available on the site, which DeBevoise said is designed for the superfan. The goal is to reach 4 million subscribers by 2020.

The Kings said they were attracted to the elements that will make the storytelling experience different. Each episode will be longer than what CBS was able to air, and there were glimpses of nudity on the trailer.

"They are going to use the swear words you would have expected them to use in 'The Good Wife' but didn't," said Michelle King, but her husband said they don't want to overdo it.

Baranski's swear scene actually took multiple takes. Since the premiere episode is also being shown on CBS, they had to record another version; she uses the phrase "son of a bitch." They also recorded, and rejected, another version using an even more profane word.

The show's first episode was filmed around, and even on, Election Day in November. The night before the election, Baranski recorded a scene where she's packing up her office and removing a photoshopped picture of herself with Hillary Clinton.

They didn't re-record it after Trump was elected.

"When they see that scene, when they see me looking at the picture and putting it in the box, it's going to have a very different resonance," she said.

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