Gaslit Showrunner Robbie Pickering Explains Watergate’s Warnings for Today

Sharon Waxman & Daniel Goldblatt • June 27, 2022

Episode 64: Plus, we look ahead to the Jan. 6 hearings and talk Peter Rice’s Disney ouster and the huge success of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

This week on TheWrap-Up podcast, ahead of the Jan. 6 congressional hearings, host and TheWrap founder and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman spoke at length with Robbie Pickering, showrunner of Starz’s Watergate drama “Gaslit.”

The series — starring Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, Dan Stevens, Betty Gilpin, Shea Whigham and Darby Camp — focuses on several of the lesser-known figures involved in the scandal. Including people like Martha Mitchell, Nixon Campaign Chair John Mitchell’s wife, who was the first to publicly condemn Nixon’s lawbreaking.

During their discussion, Waxman and Pickering discussed the cynicism that scandals can inspire — and how that cynicism can justify further misbehavior by other bad faith actors.

“I feel like sometimes when people say, ‘well they’re all corrupt,’ or ‘all politicians lie,’ it’s a way of letting yourself off the hook for really finding out who does that,” Pickering said.

Pickering later noted that ‘every scandal is an inflection point of a bunch of people… you see this commonality in every scandal of, the reason that they’re doing it is because they’ll point at somebody else who did it, and they feel that everybody does it.”

“And it gives you permission structure to do these things,” he added, explaining how that rationalizing was portrayed in “Gaslit.” He also compared that kind of cynicism to the justifications used by Trump supporters, or supporters of Putin in Russia.

Elsewhere in this week’s episode, Waxman and her guest co-host Adam Chitwood, TheWrap’s assistant managing editor of audience, dig into the latest Hollywood headlines — which of course includes the astonishing worldwide success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” fueled by moviegoers aged 35 and over, and the turmoil this week in the Washington Post newsroom — plus a look ahead to the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, which deal with the riot that was fueled in part by the same kind of corruption examined on “Gaslit.”

Finally, Sharon Waxman and TheWrap senior television reporter Brandon Katz talk at length about the shocking ouster of Disney’s TV content boss Peter Rice, who was fired this week.