CBS dropped a bombshell at TCA last week, revealing that The Good Wife creators/executive producers/showrunners Robert and Michelle King will be departing the series after the current seventh season. While not completely unexpected — the duo had publicly discussed a plan to do the show for 7 seasons — the move compounds the uncertain future of the series, which also faces the fact that the contracts of most of its original cast members, including star Julianna Margulies, are up.
CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller was pretty confident that The Good Wife “can certainly continue” beyond the current seventh season, and producing studio CBS TV Studios has been working on a succession plan, with The Good Wife executive producer Craig Turk tipped to take over showrunner duties from the Kings after working under them for the past few seasons.
But the confluence of the two things — cast’s contracts expiring and the Kings’ exit — certainly complicates plans for continuing the series. Robert and Michelle King have written every pivotal episode of The Good Wife and have earned all but one of the show’s major writing awards nominations.
I hear Margulies was joking when she told a room full of casting directors last night at the Artios Awards’ tribute to the Kings that “I’m unemployed come April, and I think you haven’t seen me in a while, at least not in person, so I thought I should show up.”
Margulies was not lying — she does not have a contract beyond Season 7 after only adding one extra year at a previous renegotiation. Alan Cumming also is said to have a one-year-deal as he has been doing short-term contracts, while Matt Czuchry is believed to be the only major Good Wife cast member signed for Season 8.
There hasn’t been much movement on negotiating new contracts with the actors that I’ve heard of but things are supposed to start moving soon, and a decision on whether the series will continue or not is expected to be made in the next few weeks so the show — the last broadcast drama to get major awards recognition — can get a proper sendoff. The decision will likely hinge on whether Emmy winner Margulies, who also is a producer on the show, would want to return, something that she certainly raised doubts about with her comments last night, jest or not.
Calling it a day would likely not involve rewriting the last episodes of the current season. The Kings, who have said that they would stay on in a supervisory role if there is a Season 8, have made it clear that the storytelling they had had in store for the show will be completed with the Season 7 finale, which would serve as a satisfying ending to the series.