Julianna Margulies Used to ‘Joke’ With James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli About ‘ER’ on ‘The Sopranos’ Set

ER’s Julianna Margulies says she “felt so bad” for the writers of the hit TV show. It led to jokes on The Sopranos set and, later, feeling the same when she starred on The Good Wife. So why did the now-55-year-old feel “so bad” for the writers? Because of how many episodes they had to write.

Julianna Margulies ‘always felt so bad for the writers’ on ‘ER’ and ‘The Good Wife’ because they ‘never had a break’

Julianna Margulies smiles wearing a brown outfit
Julianna Margulies | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Speaking to the Pilot TV podcast in September 2021, Margulies discussed the differences between network TV and streaming. As someone who has been on two “big network shows,” she said the difference doesn’t come down to swearing or sex scenes but the sheer number of episodes. 

“It wasn’t so much about being able to swear, as it was that they have the time and the luxury of only doing 10 episodes,” she said. “There’s no beating clock saying, ‘We need Episode 5!’ There’s no filler episode because we’re only doing 10.” 

The actor continued, saying she witnessed just how difficult it could be delivering many episodes. 

“I always felt so bad for the writers on The Good Wife and ER. They never had a break. They’re always writing, writing, writing, writing,” she said, per Empire. “We would get two-month hiatuses, they would only get three weeks to take a break. How can you keep coming up with new stuff?”

She followed up with “How can you refresh? How can you keep going?” noting that streaming typically requires actors to shoot 10 episodes.

Julianna Margulies’ ‘Sopranos’ stint involved jokes about ‘ER’ with James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli

Anthony Edwards wears a black shirt as he stands next to George Clooney and Julianna Margulies as they embrace
Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, and Julianna Margulies | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

After walking away from ER Margulies went on to play Julianna Skiff in The Sopranos Season 6. She appeared in four episodes, according to IMDb, between 2006 and 2007. While filming the hit HBO series she used to joke with members of the cast about how many episodes they’d filmed.

“I used to joke with Michael Imperioli and James Gandolfini – I had done 160 episodes of ER, I hadn’t done The Good Wife yet, but I’d done 156 episodes of that – that their six seasons took 10 years to make,” she said. “Six seasons! I don’t even think they got to 40 episodes in six seasons, and I had done 156 episodes.

“That is such a difference between streaming and network. I really don’t think I could ever do another network show after experiencing what it’s like to have the luxury of time,” she added. 

Julianna Margulies now stars on ‘The Morning Show’ with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston

After her recurring role on The Sopranos Margulies is now in the world of streaming. She’s a newcomer to The Morning Show Season 2 cast. The actor plays Laura Peterson, a veteran anchor at a massive news network. Peterson has her own one-hour news program and gets tasked with interviewing Alex Levy (Bradley Jackson) and Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston). 

Similar to her co-stars on The Sopranos, Margulies is now part of a show that has few episodes. Margulies made her debut in The Morning Show’s Oct. 1 episode, which is appropriately named after her character. 

RELATED: ‘The Morning Show’: Julianna Margulies Says She and Jennifer Aniston Had ‘This Is Crazy’ Moments on the Set of Season 2