Is it time for CBS to consider changing the name of Madam Secretary?
Anyone who’s been watching the Sunday night drama featuring Téa Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord knows by now that several characters have been urging her to run for president. Right now, McCord is dismissing the suggestions. But will she change her mind?
We asked executive producer/creator Barbara Hall to tease whether a McCord presidential campaign is in the cards for the four-year-old drama.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide to have characters around Elizabeth suggest she run for president?
BARBARA HALL: I have always felt that it was a possibility that we were going to have to explore because it would happen in this kind of political landscape, especially when Elizabeth is successful at her job and so well-regarded. We thought it was a good time to see her interest in it. We’re certainly looking at that possibility for her.
Will we know by season’s end whether she will run?
I think by season’s end we will get a good idea of her level of interest and whether it’s something that’s she going to pursue. It’s a long journey anyway, so we want to see what that holds for her. Some stories you will see in the future will be about her relationship with Teresa Hurst (Jayne Atkinson), who is the Vice President. We’ll explore whether Teresa sees Elizabeth as a threat. That will indicate how far along Elizabeth is in that journey.
So if it does happen and Elizabeth ends up winning, will you have to change the name of the show?
[Laughs] I think that would be a CBS decision. But a lot of shows, if they stay long enough, evolve past their original premise. So I think that’s a possibility for us.
The West Wing was such an aspirational show for many when it aired during the Bush administration. Is Madam Secretary becoming that, too?
I certainly feel in the zeitgeist and a lot of people talk about it being an aspirational show. I really feel a responsibility. Obviously, when you are doing a TV show, your main responsibility is to entertain people. But somewhere along the way, I feel we have an opportunity to talk about politics and civics and how it should work and how it has the potential to work. We also have a great opportunity to talk about the State Department, to show people how that works and why diplomacy is such an important thing.
Madam Secretary airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.