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The Executive Producer of a sketch show entitled Studio 60, which is celebrating it's 20th season, has a melt-down on air and is fired from the show. He leaves behind a PR disaster and a show in need of new management and guidance. Network president Jordan McDeere hires Danny Tripp and Matt Albie as Executive Producers for the show, hoping that together they can save the show.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 1x1
Production Number: 276003
Airdate: Monday September 18th, 2006

Director: Thomas Schlamme
Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Alternate Airdates:

CA (CTV) Sep 17, 2006

Special Guest Stars
Edward AsnerEdward Asner
As Wilson White

Guest Stars
John F. CarpenterJohn F. Carpenter
As Herb Sheldon
Kirstin PierceKirstin Pierce
As Marilyn Rudolph
Merritt WeverMerritt Wever
As Suzanne
Michael StuhlbargMichael Stuhlbarg
As Jerry Jones
Nate TorrenceNate Torrence
As Dylan
Simon HelbergSimon Helberg
As Alex Anderson
Vernee Watson-JohnsonVernee Watson-Johnson
As Zelma
Wendy PhillipsWendy Phillips
As Shelly
Jayma MaysJayma Mays
As Daphne
Josh WeinsteinJosh Weinstein
As Michael
Judd HirschJudd Hirsch
As Wesley Mendell
Kris MurphyKris Murphy
As Karen
Three Six MafiaThree Six Mafia
As Themselves

Co-Guest Stars
Emiko PariseEmiko Parise
As Assistant Producer
Jah ShamsJah Shams
As Production Assistant #2
Jennifer PenningtonJennifer Pennington
As Control Room Assistant
William Stanford DavisWilliam Stanford Davis
As Floor Manager
Amy WattAmy Watt
As Production Assiatant #1
Clement E. BlakeClement E. Blake
As Cue Card Man
Dave Allen ClarkDave Allen Clark
As Monitor Reporter #1
Dilva HenryDilva Henry
As Monitor Reporter #4
Glen WalkerGlen Walker
As Monitor Reporter #2
Jason WorkmanJason Workman
As Waiter
Kate Bayley (1)Kate Bayley (1)
As Shelley's Assistant
Michael OMichael O'Haver
As Club D.J.
Rod TateRod Tate
As Security Man #1
Shaun RobinsonShaun Robinson
As Monitor Reporter #3

Sean LakeSean Lake
As Audience Member
Main Cast
Matthew PerryMatthew Perry
As Matthew Albie
Bradley WhitfordBradley Whitford
As Danny Tripp
Amanda PeetAmanda Peet
As Jordan McDeere
Sarah PaulsonSarah Paulson
As Harriet Hayes
D.L. HughleyD.L. Hughley
As Simon Stiles
Nathan CorddryNathan Corddry
As Tom Jeter
Timothy BusfieldTimothy Busfield
As Cal Shanley
Steven WeberSteven Weber
As Jack Rudolph
Episode Notes
Ratings: 13.39 million viewers

Guest Host: Felicity Huffman
Musical Guest: Three 6 Mafia

Development Changes: Amanda Peet's character, Jordan McDeere, was originally named Jamie McDeere; Bradley Whitford's character, Danny Tripp, was originally named Danny Moore; and Kris Murphy's recurring guest star character, Karen, was originally named Martha Moyer.

Parallel: Actors Bradley Whitford (Danny Tripp), Matthew Perry (Matt Albie), Timothy Busfield (Cal), Kris Murphy (Karen), Evan Handler (Ron Oswald), Carlos Jacott (Ricky Beck), Diana-Maria Riva (Lilly) and Felicity Huffman (as herself) all previously starred or guest starred on Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing.

Both Amanda Peet (Jordan McDeere) and Matthew Perry (Matt Albie) originally turned down their roles. However, creator Aaron Sorkin convinced both actors to take the roles.

The character of Jordan McDeere is based on real-life executive producer Jamie Tarses who has been president of both NBC and ABC during her career.

This episode along with the NBC "Pilot" of Kidnapped was offered by Netflix as part of a deal that would allow NBC to promote its new TV shows and promote Netflix during commercial times. It ran from August 5, 2006 - September 17, 2006.

This episode was voted #43 on the Futon Critic's 50 Best Episodes of 2006 article.

ArtistSong TitlePlayed When
BodyshakersI Like the Way You Move 
David Bowie and QueenUnder Pressure 
John ColtraneLush Life 
Mongo SantamariaHippo Walk 
Three Six MafiaSide 2 Side 
Zapp and RogerCalifornia Love 

Episode Quotes
Danny: What are you smiling about?
Matt: It's a nice studio. It's a great facility with an incredible history. I feel privileged to be here.
Danny: You like it?
Matt: Yeah.
Danny: Good, 'cause we live here now.

Jerry: What do you want me to say to the 50 million people who are gonna go out of their minds as soon as it airs?
Wes: Well first of all, you can tell 'em we average 9 million households so at least 41 million of them are full of crap. Second, you can tell 'em that living where there's free speech means sometimes you're gonna get offended.

Wes: (on air) You should change the channel right now, or better yet turn off the TV.
Lilly: (in control room) Does anybody know what the hell is going on?
(audience laughs)
Wes: (on air) No, I know it seems like this is supposed to be funny, but tomorrow you're gonna find out it wasn't and I'll have been fired by then. This isn't supposed--this isn't a sketch.
Cal: (in control room) This is for real.
Wes: (on air) This show used to be cutting edge political and social satire, but it's gotten lobotomized by a candy-ass broadcast network hell-bent on doing nothing that might challenge their audience. We were about to do a sketch you've already seen 500 times. Yes, no one's gonna confuse George Bush with George Plimpton, we get it. We're all being lobotomized by the country's most influential industry which has thrown in the towel on any endeavor that does not include the courting of 12-year-old boys. And not event the smart 12-year-olds, the stupid ones, the idiots, of which there are plenty thanks in no small part to this network. So change the channel, turn off the TV. Do it right now.

Danny: I have no reason to trust you and every reason not to.
Jordan: Why?
Danny: You work in television.

Matt: Are you people using the confidential information that Danny failed a drug test to force him into taking over Studio 60 to deflect attention from what happened on the air tonight?
Jack: He failed a drug test?
Jordan: Yeah, actually Matt, I was the only one who knew about that. Shoulda trusted me a little, Danny.
Matt: (to Danny) Sorry about that, that one was all me. (to everyone) Ironically, I'm the one who's high as a paper kite right now. But legitimately. I had back surgery on Tuesday. L-5/S-1, if that means anything to you. Stop talking now? You bet.

Jack: Wesley!
Wes: Yeah!
Jack: You're fired!
Wes: No kidding!

Matt: Where the hell did you go?
Danny: Sorry about that.
Matt: I said "He's never not been there for me," then there was a follow-spot on a basket of dinner rolls.

Felicity Huffman: (when asked to choose between a slutty or a very slutty dress) I need the very slutty dress and somebody else to wear it.

Jack: The remark about worm eating and "Who Wants To Screw My Sister"? He was talking about our shows?
Michael: We don't know.
(Jordan chuckles.)
Jack: Is there something funny about this, Jordan?
Jordan: Oh God, Jack, there's like seven things funny about this. We're not sure which sister-pimping show he was talking about?

Matt: It's going to be our show now, and only one of use can screw up at a time. And I think we both know that most of the time it's going to be me.

Cultural References
Series Title: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Studio 60 is a parody of the backstage happenings of the NBC hit sketch show, Saturday Night Live.

Wes: (during his on-air rant) People are having contests to see how much they can be like Donald Trump.

Wes is making a reference to the NBC reality series The Apprentice in which contestants compete to win a job at The Trump Organization and a six-figure salary.

Wes: (during his on-air rant) We’re eating worms for money!

Wes is making a reference to the NBC reality series Fear Factor in which contestants complete a series of stunts and tasks, such as eating worms, for a large sum of money.

Wes' Rant

Wes' on-air rant is a reference to the film Network. The same movie is later referenced when Jordan says that the rant has "got people talking about Paddy Chayefsky". Paddy Chayefsky wrote the screenplay for Network and won an Oscar for his work.

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