'TV's Top 5': David E. Kelley Opens Up About 'Mr. Mercedes' and That 'Big Little Lies' Controversy

David E. Kelley - Getty - H 2019
Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Welcome to another episodes of TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the week in TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunner and executive guests and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week's five topics are:

1. Apple's prancing and TV strategy revealed. The iPhone maker finally announced that its Apple TV+ service will cost $5 a month and launch Nov. 1 with four scripted shows, including Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon drama The Morning Show. What does that price point mean for Apple's larger strategy? And for the money, is that $60 a year worth it when the tech behemoth does not have any library programming? The segment begins at the 3:49 mark.

2. The Muppets TV woes at Disney. Why can't Disney get a new Muppets TV show off the ground? The Disney+ live-action comedy, from Once Upon a Time duo Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis and Josh Gad (Frozen), was scrapped after producers Muppets Studios changed executives and the trio had creative differences with its new regime. But in a larger sense, The Muppets shouldn't be a hard formula to crack. The discussion begins at the 12:02 mark.

3. Bad Robot and WarnerMedia finally made their new relationship public. Five years and $250 million later, J.J. Abrams' company will create and develop new feature films, TV shows, video games and digital offerings for the John Stankey-led media giant. So what makes this deal different than say Ryan Murphy and Greg Berlanti's $300 million-$400 million overalls? And what does this mean for Abrams' feature film future? The analysis begins at the 16:43 mark.

4. Showrunner Spotlight: David E. Kelley. In TV's Top 5's regular interview segment, the legendary creator of hits like Ally McBeal, Doogie Howser, The Practice, Boston Public and exec producer behind Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes — which returned for its third season this week — and HBO's Big Little Lies joins us this week for an extensive and wide-ranging interview about the current state of television. Kelley, in a rare interview, opens up about the struggle to cut through on a platform like Audience Network, why he enjoys being a free agent and isn't tempted to cash in with his own nine-figure overall deal and his upcoming return to broadcast with CBS' The Lincoln Lawyer. Kelley also, for the first time, responds to the behind-the-scenes controversy on season two of Big Little Lies involving director Andrea Arnold and weighs in on reboot culture and if he'd revisit Ally McBeal or L.A. Law. The interview begins at the 22:47 mark.  

5. Critic's Corner. As always, every episode ends with Fienberg offering his thoughts about what to watch (or skip). This week, he sounds off on Netflix's Unbelievable and Amazon's groundbreaking Undone. Tune in at the 49:18 mark.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email Goldberg and Fienberg with any topics or questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

TV's Top 5 is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including Awards ChatterScott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; genre reporter Josh Wigler's Series Regular; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.