Two weeks ago, the co-creators of the CBS show, The Good Wife, sat on a New Yorker Festival panel called "Television and Politics." At one point, they were asked if they envied the freedom granted their cable counterparts. Michelle King, sitting next to her husband and Good Wife co-creator, Robert King, said she was a little jealous that the cable folks could make far fewer episodes in a season. But in terms of what they could write about on CBS? They had freedom. In the video above, she said:

Michelle: In terms of content, of what we're able to talk about politically, we have never been waved off anything by CBS in terms of what—

Robert: Football.

Michelle: Oh. Well. No, I mean in terms of political content.

So what exactly does football mean there? Well, CBS broadcasts AFC games and SEC games. The Good Wife is a legal drama. Maybe something about a concussions lawsuit? Maybe something about an NFL player? It's not clear. All we know is CBS may or may not have "waved off" something about football. A source tells Defamer that "no NFL storylines ever made it into Good Wife scripts," though, as our sister site points out, that doesn't preclude the possibility that something was scuttled well before.


The NFL has a history of using its product as leverage with its broadcast partners. ESPN killed Playmakers because the NFL didn't approve of the show. The NFL also wasn't pleased with ESPN's role in League of Denial; the network wound up removing its branding from the documentary. "The power of the NFL is great," said CBS CEO Les Moonves, himself a friend of Patriots owner Bob Kraft. He was talking last month about the denouement of the CBS-Time Warner dispute, but he knows as well as anyone how generally applicable the sentiment is.


When we asked for an explanation, CBS sent us a statement from the Kings, via a spokeswoman, that very conspicuously avoids mentioning the whole football thing:

We are the happiest writers in the world. It's almost unimaginable how much freedom we've been allowed to pursue hot-button issues. We've touched on everything from NSA wiretaps to abortion, from the FCC to Bitcoin, from the Defense Of Marriage Act to Syria. And every step of the way, CBS has been wildly supportive.


Know more? Email me.

UPDATE, 3:49 p.m.: A commenter notes that there was a March 2012 episode of The Good Wife that may have used a "hockey league" as a stand-in for the NFL. Here's the description of the episode:

Alicia and Julius Cain represent a former professional hockey player, Grant Duverney, who is suing the maker of his snowmobile after the steering locked, causing an accident that led to his wife's death. When it appears they are about to lose the case, the defendants lawyer raises issues related to injuries Duverney may have suffered as a hockey player and which may have contributed to the accident. Alicia then suggests they also sue the hockey league...