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Julianna Margulies was basically slapped all over again when she tried to bring Alicia Florrick back on The Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight. CBS wouldn't show her the money. From her perspective, she was due her regular fee -- no more, no less -- which was in line with what she had made on The Good Wife.
Apparently it turned into a thing, and plans for Alicia to return for a three-episode arc in The Good Fight Season 3 went down the drain. As Julianna Margulies put it:
CBS wouldn’t pay me. ... [I] really wanted to do it.
I’m not a guest star; I started the whole thing with The Good Wife. I wanted to be paid my worth and stand up for equal pay. If Jon Hamm came back for a Mad Men spinoff or Kiefer Sutherland wanted to do a 24 spinoff, they would be paid.
It's hard to know exactly how much money we're talking about for this three-episode arc, but ... I can see both sides of this. She's right that if Jon Hamm or Kiefer Sutherland came back for an arc on a spinoff to their shows, networks would back up a money truck for them.
However, The Good Fight airs on CBS All Access, not CBS. That still ticks me off, since fans of The Good Wife now have to pay a whole separate subscription to watch many of their favorite characters return on this other show. But the reality is, CBS All Access is not CBS. It's not a broadcast network show, it doesn't get the same viewership -- as far as anyone can tell, without CBS All Access releasing specific numbers. So the budget isn't going to be the same. You can't give a huge chunk of your budget to a returning star, even if that star is Julianna Margulies, who is absolutely right that she started this whole thing and there would be no spinoff without her.
Still, if CBS All Access wanted to bring in more numbers, they could've turned The Return Of Alicia Florrick into an event, as promoted on CBS. CBS could've invested some money in that.
The Good Fight premiered its first episode on CBS in February 2017 and averaged 7.17 million viewers, with a 0.7 rating, according to TV By the Numbers. After that, it moved to CBS All Access as the streamer's first original scripted series.
Julianna Margulies led The Good Wife through all seven seasons but turned down a chance to appear in Season 1 of the spinoff because she wanted to let the show establish its own voice. However, Alicia's name came up frequently in conversations, so she was definitely -- and still is -- part of the spinoff's world. Now that the CBS All Access show is in its third season, Margulies was ready to let Alicia make an on-screen appearance.
Apparently Julianna Margulies was recently at a festival in France and talked about showrunners Robert King, Michelle King, and Phil Alden Robinson having found a nice way to reintroduce Alicia Florrick across three episodes. But now? She reportedly told Deadline she she was "more surprised than hurt" by CBS' decision to just pay her a guest star rate.
She's now reportedly ruling out a return to The Good Fight, which is a shame because she regrets not being able to work again with co-stars/friends Christine Baranski (Diane Lockhart) and Cush Jumbo (Lucca Quinn). The Good Fight is packed with former Good Wife stars -- also including Sarah Steele as Marissa Gold, Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, Gary Cole as Kurt McVeigh, Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney, and Zach Grenier as David Lee.
The Good Fight Season 3 drops new episodes Wednesdays on CBS All Access, with Episode 5, "The One Where a Nazi Gets Punched," streaming April 10.