Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Not surprisingly, today’s freewheeling TCA panel of showrunners from CBS dramas echoed entertainment president Nina Tassler’s defense of traditional network television at her executive session earlier in the morning. On the panel were Rob Doherty (Elementary); Gary Glasberg (NCIS); Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife) and Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman (Person Of Interest). Glasberg said you just can’t argue with the wider-than-cable exposure a network show can bring. “We have 18 million Facebook followers. It’s crazy,” the producer said.
After a career mostly in feature film, Nolan said he appreciates the immediacy of TV. Still, he noted that the producers had joked backstage about the pressure of producing 22-24 episodes rather than cable’s usually smaller series orders. “It’s very difficult. The [number of episodes] is probably calibrated not to the length of the season but to the exact point a showrunner will have a nervous breakdown,” Nolan said. He added that the absolute breakdown point would be 25. One of the realities of 22-24 episode orders: A single season eats up a lot of story. The panelists addressed some of the big changes that have recently occurred on their shows.
During Tassler’s session, she joked that when she heard that Nolan and Plegeman would be killing off Person Of Interest’s Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson), “I almost killed myself. “The real situation was the opposite, said the producers, adding that the network was always supportive. The Kings found the same to be true when Julianna Margulies’ Alicia defiantly left the law firm: “We sat across the table from Nina and she said: ‘Oh my God, that’s lovely,’ ” Michelle King said.
Glasberg addressed the decision to paralyze NCIS‘ Delilah character and put her in a wheelchair, saying he is proud of the choice. “Delilah’s not dead … the intent is to show a really smart individual take control of her life and rise up and take control of her life,” Glasberg said. “If we can stir the pot a little bit, that’s great. I hope that we do it justice.”
The panelists were asked what they thought of one another’s shows. Doherty confessed to being two years behind on watching The Good Wife. Said Nolan, “The second you start working in television is that last time you ever watch it.” After the laughter, Robert King deadpanned: “And we’ve watched all of your shows. Every single one.”