Watch THR's Full, Uncensored Drama Writers Roundtable With Lee Daniels, Damon Lindelof and More
THR's Emmy season roundtables air on SundanceTV and stream at THR.com. The shows air Sunday at 8 a.m. PT on channel 557 on DirecTV, 126 on Dish nationwide and at 11 a.m. ET/PT on cable (channel 625 on TWC in L.A., 94 in NYC).
Which singer turned actress got the boot from Fox's ratings juggernaut Empire?
"There was a character that I wrote into the original pilot who was Hakeem's love interest, a mother figure, [played by] Macy Gray," says series co-creator Lee Daniels. "There was a love scene, and [network executives] said, 'This is too much.' "
That's just one revelation to come out of THR's candid — and at times heated — roundtable featuring six top drama writer-producers, including Daniels, 55; Damon Lindelof, 42 (HBO's The Leftovers); Alex Gansa, 54 (Showtime's Homeland, up for a best drama series Emmy this year); Michelle King, 53 (CBS' The Good Wife); Sarah Treem, 34 (Showtime's The Affair); and Beau Willimon, 37 (Netflix's House of Cards, also vying for a drama series Emmy). The topics touched on everything from race to ignoring critics to the pressures and rewards of running TV's hottest dramas.
For the first time, you can watch the roundtable discussion, debuting today on SundanceTV as part of the cable channel's new original nonfiction series, Close Up With 'The Hollywood Reporter,' produced in partnership with THR. And come back to THR.com on Monday for the full, uncensored discussion.
The series is comprised of 14 hourlong episodes, with the first of seven episodes — the drama actress roundtable — kicking off Sunday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on cable systems and at 8 a.m. PT on satellite systems (Dish and DirecTV). New episodes will air every Sunday leading up to the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20.
The first half of the season will present filmed roundtable panels featuring Emmy nominees and other top stars of the year's most buzzed-about shows, including drama actors and actresses, comedy actors and actresses, creators and showrunners from both comedies and dramas, and reality show hosts and producers. Guests will discuss everything from their individual projects to their craft and true stories of the business that keep them coming back for more. The panels will present thoughtful, informative takes on the film and television industry today.
The complete schedule for the first half of the season is as follows:
Sunday, Aug. 2: Drama Actress Roundtable
Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex: Showtime)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder: ABC)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman: SundanceTV)
Taraji P. Henson (Empire: Fox)
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: FX)
Ruth Wilson (The Affair: Showtime)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Drama Actor Roundtable
Timothy Hutton (American Crime: ABC)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul: AMC)
Clive Owen (The Knick: Cinemax)
David Oyelowo (Nightingale: HBO)
Justin Theroux (The Leftovers: HBO)
Jon Voight (Ray Donovan: Showtime)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Comedy Actress Roundtable
Lena Dunham (Girls: HBO)
Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Netflix)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live: NBC)
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin: The CW)
Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish: ABC)
Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer: Comedy Central)
Sunday, Aug. 23: Comedy Actor Roundtable
Fred Armisen (Portlandia: IFC)
Don Cheadle (House of Lies: Showtime)
Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth: Fox)
Ricky Gervais (Derek: Netflix)
Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley: HBO)
Jordan Peele (Key and Peele: Comedy Central)
Sunday, Aug. 30: Drama Showrunner Roundtable
Lee Daniels (Empire: Fox)
Alex Gansa (Homeland: Showtime)
Michelle King (The Good Wife: CBS)
Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers: HBO)
Sarah Treem (The Affair: Showtime)
Beau Willimon (House of Cards: Netflix)
Sunday, Sept. 6: Comedy Showrunner Roundtable
Kenya Barris (Black-ish: ABC)
Alec Berg (Silicon Valley: HBO)
Robert Carlock (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Netflix)
Jay Duplass (Togetherness: HBO)
Steven Levitan (Modern Family: ABC)
Jill Soloway (Transparent: Amazon)
Sunday, Sept. 13: Reality Roundtable
Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice: CBS, ABC, NBC)
Julie Chen (Big Brother: CBS)
Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance: Fox)
Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol: Fox)
Craig Piligian (The Ultimate Fighter: FX)
Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race)
The second half of the season will broadcast in early 2016 in the run-up to the 2016 Academy Awards and will feature interviews with Oscar-nominated directors, producers, actors, writers and more.
The Hollywood Reporter is well known for hosting influential and award-winning roundtable conversations with industry insiders; 'The Hollywood Reporter' in Focus: 'The Wolf of Wall Street' — featuring the likes of Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill — won four staffers Emmy Awards.
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