David and ‘Goliath’: Star Creator Finds a Home at Amazon

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David E. Kelley, creator of Boston Legal, Picket Fences and several other iconic broadcast shows, isn’t likely going back to broadcast television for his future series. His legal drama Goliath, with Billy Bob Thornton in the lead, debuts on Amazon Prime Oct. 14, and Kelley says he loves the freedom a streaming service provides.

“I had a great run on broadcast and never felt unable to tell my stories in terms of content,” he tells B&C. “But the erosion of time was the biggest thing for me. We started out with 48 minutes, and now it’s 41 minutes.…It’s not conducive to storytelling—certainly not subtle storytelling.”

He also notes “higher decibel level” commercials also getting in the way of a storyteller’s craft.

During a TCA panel, Kelley said it was unlikely he’d return to broadcast. Speaking with B&C after, he backtracked slightly, but suggested the top shows are found elsewhere these days. “I’ve heard there are good shows [on traditional TV] coming down the pike,” he says. “Maybe now they’ve gotten the message—they’ve got to improve the product and stop making widgets, so to speak.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.