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In Madam Secretary, Leoni will play newly appointed secretary of state Elizabeth McCord. Elizabeth’s husband will be played by Tom Daly. Though Leoni’s character is starting off in the cabinet in the West Wing, the actress is optimistic that McCord will one day make her play for the presidency.
“Wait until year four,” Leoni said Thursday at the Television Critics Association.
Leoni also addressed why she’s deciding to return to television now, when she’s turned down a number of offers over the years. The mother of two revealed that now that her kids are older, she’s in a position where she can spend more time away from home to commit herself to a TV project.
"My kids at 15 and 12 are ready. »
This coming fall, CBS is premiering a new series called Madam Secretary, in which Téa Leoni plays a character that was, at least partly, inspired by Hillary Clinton. During a presentation at today's Television Critics Association summer conference, the show's executive producer Lori McCreary explained how it was Clinton's testimony at hearings over the 2012 attack in Benghazi that helped give her the idea for the show. »
- Matt Wilstein
"Madam Secretary" shares a Washington D.C. setting with one of TV's hottest dramas, "Scandal," but the similarities will end there. "Secretary," a new CBS drama starring Tea Leoni as a one-time CIA analyst who steps into the role of Secretary of State, airs on Sunday nights beginning this fall, serving as a natural bridge between the in-depth current events reporting of "60 Minutes" and the high class drama of "The Good Wife." So don't expect to see Leoni sleeping with the President or facing off with a mother who's an international terrorist. As executive producer Barbara Hall ("Joan of Arcadia") explained during a panel discussion at the TCA 2014 summer press tour, she's aiming for something more, shall we say, realistic. "From what I understand about 'Scandal' and [NBC's] 'State of Affairs,' [our show] is a little less heightened reality than that," Hall explained. "We're really trying to pull back the curtain on »
- Geoff Berkshire
The cast and producers of CBS’ upcoming drama “Madam Secretary” appeared at the Television Critics Association press tour at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Thursday and tackled a range of issues, such as how the hearings over the embassy attack in Benghazi played a crucial part in shaping the show. Executive producer Lori McCreary recalled how the show's producers were attempting to come up with the central character of the show — which stars Tea Leoni as the secretary of state, and Tim Daly as her husband — when the Benghazi hearings began to dominate the headlines. Also read: Dave Grohl »
- Tim Kenneally
Creator-exec producer Barbara Hall made it clear that the Beltway-set drama starring Tea Leoni as Secretary of State will focus in large part on the business of the State Department. “Scandal,” it’s not.
“We really want to have that pull back the curtain effect with this show and show you how the State Department actually works,” Hall said. “There’s enough interesting stuff there that people would be surprised to learn.”
Another element that was important to Hall in crafting Leoni’s character, a CIA alum who is reluctantly drawn into the job after the previous secretary dies, was to give her a solid home life, anchored by her marriage to a professor of religion, played by Tim Daly.
“I was trying to create a woman in a strong position of leadership »
- Cynthia Littleton
Téa Leoni is the star of CBS's upcoming political drama Madam Secretary, but someone may already be upstaging her. Morgan Freeman is the show's executive producer - or as he referred to himself, "executive executive executive executive producer" - and when asked at the show's Summer TCA panel whether he would appear on the show, he was a bit tight-lipped. "One never knows, do one?" he mused. "Whether or not I show up is going to depend on the opera, and what the idea that comes up is." Can I put in my vote for president? He's already played the commander in chief before (see: Deep Impact, Olympus Has Fallen), so he's definitely prepared for the role. Madam Secretary premieres Sept. 21 at 8 p.m., and you can check out the trailer now. Source: Getty / Frederick M. Brown; Front Page Image Source: CBS »
- Maggie Pehanick
Madam Secretary follows the journey of Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) when she unexpectedly is asked to be Secretary of State. She's not a politician, but a former CIA analyst and friend of the President.
Stars Leoni and Tim Daly (Henry McCord) along with Executive Producers Barbara Hall, Lori McCreary, Morgan Freeman were on stage for the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour to talk about their new political drama. »
Madam Secretary‘s home life just got a touch more harried.
CBS’ freshman drama has cast newcomer Wallis Currie-Wood to join the cast as the eldest daughter of Tea Leoni’s Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord.
Related Fall TV First Impression: Madam Secretary
Stephanie “Stevie” McCord, who is neither seen nor referenced in the show’s pilot (unlike her younger brother and sister, who get a fair amount of screen time in the first episode), is described as strong-willed and rebellious — in other words, just like her famous mom. Upset with a new college procedure, Stevie has dropped out and »
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Question: Any word on who will be writing Castle‘s season premiere? —Ben
Ausiello: The good news: Newly coronated showrunner David Amann is penning the Season 7 opener. The even better news: Rob Bowman is directing. And now, the provocative news: Castle will return with a two-parter, and to that end is casting the guest-starring role of “Henry,” a highly intelligent yet unassuming gent who’s deft at blending into a crowd. (A spook-y nemesis of Jackson Hunt’s? »
The broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including a new Shondaland drama, and a trip to Gotham, a third NCIS and a Flash-y Arrow offshoot. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
Next up on our list….
Photos Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!
The Show | CBS’ Madam Secretary (Sundays at 8/7c, premiering Sept. 21)
The Competition | NBC’s Sunday Night Football, ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Fox’s The Simpsons/Brooklyn Nine-Nine
CBS is second out of the gate this year in detailing its premiere plan for the 2014-15 TV season. It kicks off (appropriately enough) with its brand-new Thursday Night Football offering, starting Sept. 11.
The Eye’s non-sports fare starts unspooling on Sunday, Sept. 21 — with the debut of Tea Leoni’s Madam Secretary followed by The Good Wife. Then, as previously and well-reported, The Big Bang Theory will open Season 8 in a new time slot (Mondays at 8/7c, stating Sept. 22). But by Oct. 30, it’s business as usual for America’s most watched network, as Tbbt, The Millers, Two and a Half Men »
It’s not that strange for a stage actor to play the same role for the film version. Erich Bergen is different, though, in one key way: He was fired from the Las Vegas cast of Jersey Boys five years ago, only to land the part of Four Seasons songwriter and singer Bob Gaudio in the Clint Eastwood–helmed movie edition that opened Friday. Bergen, who kicked up a media ruckus in the Vegas press in 2009 by badmouthing the producers after his dismissal, admits he wasn’t sure what would become of his career after that. But the 28-year-old booked a series of plays and musicals, including a starring role in the touring cast of Anything Goes, and appeared on Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, and other TV shows. This fall, he’ll star opposite Téa Leoni and Bebe Neuwirth in Madame Secretary, which CBS is slipping between 60 Minutes and The Good Wife on Sundays. »
- Steve Friess
They came, they schmoozed, they screened. More than 1,500 television buyers from around the world have made the studio rounds in Los Angeles the past few days, checking out the 50-plus new series that landed orders from major networks last week.
The L.A. Screenings are a lower-profile affair than the upfront presentations mounted in Gotham last week, but in many ways they are equally important. International licensing, to linear and digital platforms, is crucial to funding production, particularly for high-end dramas. Unlike upfronts, which are geared to advertising sales, L.A. Screenings are organized around the studios that control the international distribution rights to shows.
“This is an important week,” said Armando Nunez, president and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group. “It tees up a (sales) process that depends on the market. Every year there are more channels to put content on. We need to talk to them all and »
- Cynthia Littleton
Exclusive: Emmy-winning character actor Željko Ivanek (Damages) has joined the cast of CBS‘ new drama series Madam Secretary as a regular after guest starring in the pilot. Written by Barbara Hall and exec produced by Morgan Freeman, Madam Secretary, from CBS Studios, stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, the shrewd, determined, newly appointed Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home. Ivanek, repped by SMS Talent and Leading Artists, plays the President’s intimidating and opinionated Chief of Staff Russell Jackson. »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
ABC Studios is selling a diverse slate of new hours as well as a trio of unique comedies.
On the drama side, “Marvel’s Agent Carter” and “The Whispers” may hold the most global appeal, but others have potential as well.
“Agent Carter,” the second series from Marvel in the last two years, follows Peggy Carter in 1946 as she balances her administrative work with embarking on secret missions for the covert Ssr (Strategic Scientific Reserve). It should hold more appeal for women than last year’s “Agents of Shield.”
In “Whispers,” aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination — our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in a race to save humanity.
- Variety Staff
Look who’s in the bread line after pilot season!
Lots of exciting stars will join the broadcast TV lineup this fall (Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Tea Leoni, Ioan Gruffudd) but an equal amount were left jobless after the networks announced their schedules last week in New York. Here’s who (and what projects) we will miss now that the upfronts are over:
- Lynette Rice
With the oncoming end of the 2013-2014 television season, many network channels, and television fans, are looking ahead to the fall, when the 2014-2015 television season kicks off. With a stable of shows that already include hourlong dramas such as The Good Wife and sitcoms such as Mom, many were interested to hear what CBS would be picking up, especially with the end of long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother this past television season. The new shows that shall be appearing on CBS, starting from the fall, are NCIS: New Orleans, CSI: Cyber, Madam Secretary, Stalker, The McCarthys, The Odd Couple, Scorpion and Battle Creek. CBS released the trailers for some of their new shows, which can be seen below.
- Deepayan Sengupta
Welcome back to TV, Téa Leoni! The Naked Truth star is headlining CBS' new drama Madam Secretary where she plays the newly appointed secretary of state. In the drama, Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst-turned-college professor who gets an offer from the president that she can't refuse. "There was something—I adored her. I adored her by page two, there's no sarcasm to her. Sarcasm is too slow," Leoni told E! News' Kristin Dos Santos about her character. "I want to wake up and be her every day." The show, which hails from Barbara Hall of Judging Amy fame and Morgan Freeman, follows the character as she battles office politics, international »
Some sources (i.e. the whole world) have speculated that CBS's new series Madam Secretary will focus on a character loosely based on -- or inspired by -- former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It'll be interesting to see if these comparisons continue to be made now that the trailer for Madam Secretary is out. Tea Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst turned college professor. When asked by friends if she misses the CIA, Elizabeth explains that she misses the people, but not the life. Madam Secretary was created by Barbara Hall, who has written for Homeland and Judging Amy. Hall created cult classic Joan of Arcadia. Madam Secretary will air on Sundays at 8-9 pm, after 60 Minutes and before The Good Wife a prime berth which shows that CBS is high on the show (It is rumored to be CBS chief Nina Tassler's favorite pilot. »
- Laura Berger
What’s the best new show coming to CBS? Well, we have high hopes for Vince Gilligan and David Shore’s Battle Creek, but as CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler explained during the network’s upfronts presentation, that doesn’t premiere until midseason. For fall, CBS knows what you want: More NCIS! Your guide to non-ncis offerings also appears below.
- Melissa Maerz
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