When truth is stranger than fiction: TV writers weigh in on the presidential campaign – Los Angeles Times

There was the “Access Hollywood” tape exposing Donald Trump’s lewd comments toward women. The barrage of WikiLeak-ed Hillary Clinton emails.  And, of course, Ken Bone and his red sweater. With its seemingly daily plot twists, cliffhangers and quirky side characters, the presidential election has given new meaning to must-see TV.

Maybe it was inevitable. Trump is a reality TV star-turned-Republican presidential nominee. Clinton has celebrities including Julia Roberts and Jon Hamm supporting her as the Democratic nominee. That the process of choosing the next commander in chief would take on the sort of high-stakes pacing of a popular drama series, the buffoonery of a comedy, or the tawdriness of a lowbrow reality show makes the lead-up to Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate all the more harrowing. 

We spoke to show runners of political-themed TV shows to get their thoughts on how real life is stacking up against fiction: Barbara Hall of CBS’s “Madam Secretary,” about a former CIA analyst and professor (Tea Leoni) who is thrust into the position of secretary of State (a role inspired by Hillary Clinton); David Mandel of HBO’s “Veep,” a political satire that tracks the political career of narcissist Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who briefly becomes president; and Jon Harmon Feldman of ABC’s “Designated Survivor,” about a low-level Cabinet member (Kiefer Sutherland) who becomes president after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the line of succession.

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