“Mark is a master manipulator of the press,” longtime Larry King Live producer Wendy Walker said of criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos during ABC’s TCA panel for new drama Notorious.

Notorious is inspired by the relationship between Geragos and Walker, both of whom are EPs on the series. Written by Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman and blogger Allie Hagan, names have been changed for the provocative look at the relationship between lawyers who are good at manipulating the media, and the media they manipulate. The attorney is Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata) and the TV news producer is Julia George (Piper Perabo).

To Walker’s point, the panel had included a message from Geragos, who was not present, that he intended to be there, only a judge had told him if he was not in court he would be held in contempt. Dramatic, image polishing stuff.

“Nobody does it better than he does,” Walker said. “He really used our show to get sympathy for [then accused pregnant-wife killer] Scott [Peterson],” she said by way of example, “and I looked at this as an opportunity for great ratings and a great story…We did 210 OJ shows, and Peterson was the next best thing, as far as as story. I used him,” she said, but added, Geragos “owned my show.”

“We didn’t do anything wrong,” she insisted, but acknowledged it “was a relationship that worked well” for both their purposes.

Notorious EP Josh Berman marveled that, one say when he and EP Allie Hagan were working

Mark Geragos

on the pilot, at his house, they called Geragos’ office with a question about a point of law, thinking they’d leave a message. Only Geragos actually picked up the phone!

He was whispering, and they could hear voices. “Mark are you in trial?” they asked. Geragos said he was, according to Berman, but said the judge was going on, so they could go ahead and talk about the ABC TV series.

Asked if, in the show, the relationship between the news producer and the lawyer was such as would be a scandal if made public, Berman insisted, “today we’re at a point in journalism” where the intersection of law and media “is not as secret.”

A hundred year ago, he said, people accepted journalism as “truth, no matter what,” which he called “naive empiricism.”

Berman insisted this is not a series about actual collusion, rather “sometimes they are in collusion and sometimes in conflict.”