David E. Kelley was one of TV’s biggest hitmakers in the 1990s, with four shows on the air simultaneously at one point. (In 1999, he even pulled off the unthinkable feat of winning both the Emmys for Outstanding Drama – “The Practice” – and Comedy – “Ally McBeal.”)
But after a string of disappointments in the broadcast arena, Kelley is reinventing himself as a producer for streaming and premium cable. First up: “Goliath,” a legal drama starring Billy Bob Thornton as a down-in-his-luck lawyer who takes on a shady mega-corporation and its equally gigantic law firm.
“I think the ability to be a little darker and to be a little more specific with what this show is about,” Kelley tells us. “There is a burden in broadcast. I think, you’ve got to appeal to a lot of folks in order to survive. In the streaming world and in the cable world, you can succeed with more of a cult favorite. Without the burden of having to appeal to everybody, you can just be darker, more specific and more patient.”
In the interview, Kelley also explains another reason why he has given up on broadcast: His last experience, with CBS’ “The Crazy Ones,” was a disappointing one, he says.
Also on this edition of IndieWire’s “Turn It On,” Thinkfactory founder/CEO Leslie Greif tells us about the making of “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le,” including how the producers tapped Michel’le to appear as a narrator of sorts through the film. He also responds to Dr. Dre’s complaints, and shares how difficult the process was for Michel’le in reexamining some old wounds.
Meanwhile, senior editor Hanh Nguyen looks at the importance of the stories on ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat,” and critic Ben Travers discusses Epix’s new spy drama “Berlin Station.”
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now in TV – no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. Each episode features interviews with producers, reviews, essays on the latest buzz and trends, plus a roundup of what’s premiering and what’s returning over the coming week. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.