How to Write TV in the Age of Trump: Showrunners Reveal All

LOS ANGELES — It’s got to be one of the best jobs in Hollywood: Sit around all day dreaming up fantasy political scenarios that are either so over-the-top crazy or wishfully idealistic — plotlines that could never play out in real life — that they provide the sort of escapist television viewers crave.

Then came Campaign 2016, the Nov. 8 results and, finally, President Donald J. Trump.

Suddenly, the writers who work on political television shows were competing less with one another and more with real life, because of a president who transformed their seemingly escapist scripts into something resembling nonfiction — and scrambled the traditional notions of political cause and effect that they tended to base their drama upon.

(A leaked tape with lewd comments from a male candidate about grabbing a woman’s genitals? No problem!)

The New York Times gathered some of the nation’s leading political dramatists for a cathartic group therapy session on the CBS Studio Center lot here last month.

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Chris Alexakisgovernment