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Remote Controlled: ‘The Good Fight’ EPs and Christine Baranski on How Election Gave Show a ‘Kick in the A–‘

Variety logo Variety 2/10/2017 Debra Birnbaum
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Welcome to Remote Controlled, Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

This week’s episode features Variety managing editor of TV, Cynthia Littleton, in conversation with “The Good Fight” creators and executive producers Michelle and Robert King — as well as series star Christine Baranski, who chatted with Variety executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, and chief TV critic Maureen Ryan.

The producers reveal that the idea of spinning off “The Good Wife” was always in the back of their minds, given the richness of their characters.

“The characters are so real to me that I always have the sense that they’re off living their own lives, even if they don’t happen to have a camera trained on them,” says Michelle King. “For me, they all were doing their own little shows. We just didn’t happen be telling those stories. I just wasn’t consciously thinking, oh, it’s now time to be making that television show.”

The catalyst for “The Good Fight” ultimately coming to fruition was a way to keep the behind-the-scenes production crew together, as well as the appeal of doing 10 episodes for a streaming service, vs. the traditional 22 episodes for broadcast. “We were much more intrigued by that,” reveals Robert King. “The Good Fight” will launch on CBS All Access on February 19, the first scripted series on the streaming service.

As with the original drama, the series will also reflect what’s happening in the news. As soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election, the producers rewrote the first episode. “It was a kick in the a– to the show creatively,” says Robert King. “It gave a creative spine to the show.”

“Our characters are political,” says Michelle King. “It isn’t so much that we want to impose politics on the show. It’s that we have a show with characters that are politically aware. They are going to be responding to what’s going on in the news.”

Series star Christine Baranski says it’s “amazing” to be returning to the character of Diane Lockhart — so much so that she signed on without any scripts. “I always thought how lucky I was to play a character with so much intelligence and complexity as Diane Lockhart,” she says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

But the show finds Diane in a very different place: Having announced her retirement from the law firm, she learns she’s the victim of a Ponzi scheme and all of her money is suddenly gone. “What is it like when you lose your foundation completely? Everything that defined you is gone,” she says. “She suffers a spectacular loss.”

She welcomes the challenge of stepping up to number one on the call sheet. “I’m happy to get up early, I’m happy to work hard, I’m happy to see my character go through hell. Who wants to see her just sipping rosé in the south of France? That doesn’t make for great television.”

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday.

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