CBS Gushes Over 'Madam Secretary' Star, Asks If She Called Hillary For Pajama Party

CBS has a new drama called “Madam Secretary” where the main character, played by Tea Leoni, is a newly appointed Secretary of State, and on Thursday, CBS This Morning did their best to swoon over the new show.

The character is said to be a cross between Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand, and as a result co-host Gayle King eagerly hyped the show's inspiration. The CBS host enthusiastically wondered “so did you call Hillary Clinton and say pajama party at your house, tell me everything?”

While Leoni didn’t admit to calling Clinton, she joked that she “called Madeleine Albright.” The two then had a cheerful back-and-forth as they admired the former Democratic Secretary of State Albright:

LEONI: Actually I called Madeleine Albright. Exactly the same thing.  

KING: I was kidding, of course. 

LEONI: She’s very bouncy, very peppy.  

KING: And she’s fun.  

LEONI: Very fun. 

KING: And she wears lovely broaches.  

LEONI: She does.

Nowhere in the segment did any of the CBS hosts bother to ask Leone if she called former Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for advice, instead choosing to only discuss Democrats. 

Norah O’Donnell continued to promote how Leoni has a “great role because you're the Secretary of State but you don't come from a political background” to which the “Madam Secretary” star noted how she can do so much more with her character than the actual Secretary of State could do:

There’s more wiggle room for me being a character on television. I get to sort of try things out. And it’s fun to play that. Again, she's a rogue Secretary of State, so not a career politician, and so she's going to do things a little differently. 

As the interview concluded, Leoni admitted that her “feet were killing me. I just want to call Hillary and say good lord, woman, how do you people, I mean, I don't know how John Kerry is doing it at all.”  

Unsurprisingly, the folks at CBS This Morning eagerly jumped at the opportunity to promote the latest CBS show inspired by two prominent Democratic politicians. Only time will tell if the viewers will respond positively to the Hillary Clinton-Kirsten Gillibrand inspired drama or will they reject it just like they did with ABC’s “Commander in Chief” back in 2006.

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS This Morning

September 18, 2014

GAYLE KING: Tea Leoni joins us at the table. Good morning to you. 

TEA LEONI: Good morning. 

KING: Tea. It's nice to have you back on TV. 

LEONI: Thank you. 

KING: So did you call Hillary Clinton and say pajama party at your house, tell me everything?

LEONI: Actually I called Madeleine Albright. Exactly the same thing.  

KING: I was kidding, of course. 

LEONI: She’s very bouncy, very peppy.  

KING: And she’s fun.  

LEONI: Very fun. 

KING: And she wears lovely broaches.  

LEONI: She does.

KING: All kidding aside I heard that when you first heard about it you thought, I don't even know if I'm going to read this script I don’t know if I'm interested but by page two I read you were hooked. 

LEONI: I know. I mean sometimes I think I read a script and it's not so much that I know that I have to do it. I know that I can't -- I can't not do it. 

KING: What was your hesitation in the beginning? 

LEONI: Just I think coming back to this schedule. I have two really great kids that I like. 

JEFF GLOR: Wow, amazing.  

LEONI: Yeah. Teenagers too and I adore them. So it had to be a great. 

KING: But it sounded like the kids were okay with you going back to work. 

LEONI: They were. I mean I laugh because my son who’s younger, Miller is 12. And I said it's going to be a little different, different schedule, latchkey kid, all that kind of thing. And he was like mom, seriously, I'm getting a little sick of you. 

KING: I’m getting a little sick of you.

LEONI: A little sick of you and I was like wow, ouch, but great. 

NORAH O’DONNELL: It's a great role because you're the Secretary of State but you don't come from a political background. 

LEONI: No I think that if this had been come play a seated Secretary of State, well first of all I don't think they would ever come to me. I don't know just on a whim I'm thinking. I like playing a fish out of water.  And I like the opportunity. There’s some great, I think the dirty little secret on this character is that she’s hopeful and she's not cynical and she's a believer. 

O’DONNELL: A believer. 

LEONI: I think she believes that this can be done. 

O’DONNELL: And the plot line of the first—I mean we were just talking about this. 

GLOR: We were saying how topical it is. 

O’DONNELL: Explain what’s happening.

GLOR: Two Americans who are held hostage overseas and the U.S. government is trying to figure some way to get them out and there's tension over how that gets done.  

LEONI: Well of course, I have a lot of – there’s more wiggle room for me being a character on television. I get to sort of try things out. And it’s fun to play that. Again, she's a rogue Secretary of State, so not a career politician, and so she's going to do things a little differently. 

KING: We had a, talking about doing things differently, I thought we had a nice moment before you came on. We have all the monitors up. And there’s a picture of David Duchovny who we all know you were married to. But you looked and you said is that David Duchovny? You said I like that guy. Most people don't say that about their ex-husbands. I thought that was a nice thing to say.


LEONI: Listen, you know David gave me the two best gifts ever so I adore him. 

GLOR: He gave you advice before the show started.

LEONI: He did. Well at one point I called him because I was like first of all this is not so relevant for him but my feet were killing me. I just want to call Hillary and say good lord, woman, how do you people, I mean, I don't know how John Kerry is doing it at all. But you know, the hours were so different and David has been through this a few times. And he said, oh, you'll get used to it. 

KING: Do you feel pressure because listen it's Sunday night, CBS, strong lineup. 

LEONI: I feel less -- maybe I feel better. Should I not? 

KING: No. You're in good shape. 

O’DONNELL: Tea Leoni, congratulations. 

LEONI: Thank you very much.

O’DONNELL: “Madam Secretary” premieres Sunday at 8:030 P.M. Eastern, 7:30 P.M. central here on CBS.

KING: Cheering you on.

LEONI: Thank you guys.

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