Pay the woman

CBS picks the wrong “fight” with former star

By on April 23, 2019

A decade ago, legal drama “The Good Wife” first aired on CBS. The series had a 156 episode, seven season run that included a Golden Globe win and over 200 total award nominations. Among the show’s accolades, lead actress Julianna Margulies won that aforementioned Golden Globe and two Emmy awards as the show’s protagonist, Alicia Florrick.

By snagging the awards for best performance by an actress in an American television series, Margulies made the show must-watch television and made herself a household name. She was appropriately rewarded for her success by being named a producer on the show and receiving a massive salary. In 2015 towards the end of the show’s run, Margulies made $10.5 million.

Following the end of “The Good Wife” in 2016, it was announced that creators Robert and Michelle King would be making a spin-off titled “The Good Fight” based on Diane Lockhart who is portrayed by Christine Baranski. In 2017,              the series aired on CBS All Access, the company’s subscription service.

Now in its third season, “The Good Fight” has been moderately successful. Other cast members of the original show have returned such as Michael Boatman, Cush Jumbo, Sarah Steele and Gary Cole, to name a few. Those are pretty decent characters from “The Good Wife” but fans have been clamoring for Margulies’ character, Alicia, to show up.

This season, it reportedly could have happened. The Kings had planned for a three-episode arc in which Alicia could return to the show. Margulies was on board. There was only one problem. CBS did not want to pay her more than a normal guest star’s rate to appear.

Let’s think about this for a second. Without Margulies, there would be no “The Good Fight” in the first place. If there is anyone that deserves to be paid a king’s ransom (pun intended) to appear on the show, it should be her. The show has already had a guest arc for “Friends” star Matthew Perry in its first season and has also egregiously misused former “Game of Thrones” star Rose Leslie since her season two arc ended.

The show has also tried and failed, to lure back fan-favorite Eli Gold, played by Broadway star Alan Cumming. The character’s daughter, Marissa Gold, is a series regular and mentions her father often, but the show has been unable to work around his busy schedule for an appearance.

Margulies, upon being interviewed about the dispute, was “shocked” to find out that CBS refused to pay her. Speaking with Deadline, Margulies said that she “really wanted to do it,” and brought up the obvious gender hypocrisies the television industry is displaying adding, “I wanted to be paid my worth and stand up for equal pay.”

Margulies is setting a great example by taking a stance. In an era where women are fighting for equal pay, she should not settle for anything less than what she is worth. Immediately I thought of other spin-offs in recent memory that have heroically greeted its former male stars such as John Stamos and Bob Saget on “Fuller House.” Margulies felt the same way apparently, adding “If Jon Hamm came back for a ‘Mad Men’ spin-off or Kiefer Sutherland wanted to do a ‘24’ spin-off, they would be paid.”

This is all on the heels of the entire “Roseanne” disaster on ABC so you would think CBS would strike on an opportunity to do the right thing. Granted that situation is different because Roseanne Barr barred herself from returning but doesn’t this set up a perfect PR move to combat the axing of the “bad” Roseanne with the triumphant return of “the good wife?”

Margulies could boost the ratings substantially and an appearance of her on the show can literally pay for itself if you factor in the additional subscriptions they would receive from fans who want to see her back.

Ironically, as this news broke about a week ago, the show had released the fourth episode of their its season “The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme.” During that episode, havoc breaks loose in the law firm when a character releases a document to everyone showing the pay discrepancies among male and female and white and black employees at their firm. Discussions between the characters seem almost too meta considering the glaring Margulies-sized hole in the show thus far.

Even more glaring for the company is the fact that CBS All Access is a paid subscription service, which quite frankly without “The Good Fight,” I would not even pay for. As someone who is handing over my money to CBS, I am asking them to have a say in how it is spent. Go bring in Margulies for three episodes or however long she wants to come back because you wouldn’t have me as a paying customer at all without her.

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