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Studio 60.pdfHow many of you have been watching Studio 7 since high school? We're in the moments before a life broadcast. And audience of 400 is seated on three sides of a huge thrust stage with several playing areas that can be dressed for various sketches as well as an area for the house band.
Network PAGES wearing blazers man the aisles and we'll start to notice the logo of UBS, the United Broadcasting system.
LARRY, with a pleasant and easygoing manner, is doing the warm-up.
How many have been watching since the show went on air in 1986? We can't hear what the GIRL says, 'cause she's not mic'd.
No, excuse me pal, I'm trying to hit on your girlfriend.
LARRY (CONT'D) Those are re-runs on Comedy Central you're talking about, this is the real thing. It's our 20th season, we're very proud of that.
LARRY glances to the back of one of the vomitoriums under the seats where WES, the Executive Producer, is in the middle of a heated argument with a NETWORK EXECUTIVE. LARRY's glance back there because some of the argument--inaudibly--is making its way out to the stage. He casually motions for a PA to come over without tipping the audience that anything's wrong.
You all know how it works. We start with what's called a cold-open, then we smash into the VTR or Video Tape Recording, which is the main titles. And over the VTR I say, "Liiive, from Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip, it's Friday night in Hollywood--" The places breaks into CHEERS at the signature announcement-- Tell those guys we can hear 'em out here.
All right, we've got about three minutes to air. It's gonna be a great show, an exciting night. From the ABC smash hit Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman is here.
Let's give it up one more time for Bobcat Willy and the Studio 7 Band. Willy, take us to the starting line.
And the HOUSE BAND kicks into warm-up music.
We've FOLLOWED the PA to the back of the vomitorium where WES is in the middle of it with the network executive, JERRY.
No let's keep this rational, okay, let's have some rationality, I've been here-- Jack pays me to make these phone calls.
And Jack pays me to do this show, you ridiculous fat-ass.
I'm trying to save us all a lot of tsuris.
Jerry, it's a funny sketch. It killed at dress and funny has been in short supply around here lately.
I'm in charge of Broadcast Standards and Practices, I'm not in charge of funny.
People who--religious people. God, Wes, and you know that when you--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? 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.
Whatever you want. Peripheral Vision Man is ready, you can-- Peripheral Vision Man isn't funny and it's never been funny. I want to talk to Jamie McDeere.
Yes, yes she is, it's the same dinner party. It's a dinner party for Jamie McDeere. You don't have a lot of time.
(beat) What happens if I say no. What if I go on air with the sketch? 'Cause if you still had the muscle to do it you wouldn't have asked.
Tell the control room we're cutting 4A and filling with Peripheral Vision Man.
WES stands there for a moment. He looks onto the stage from the back of the vomitorium and sees RICKY and RON--two guys we'll get to meet later. They catch his glance and give him a nod. WES looks as them the way a king looks at illegitimate sons who are plotting to take his throne. Then he heads off as we Three tiers of seats facing banks of monitors--one of which, we'll notice, is marked "DELAY". Three clocks, Eastern, Central and Pacific and a large digital read-out counting us down to airtime. The room's being very capably run by CAL, the Director, and LILLY, the Assistant Director.
We HEAR a man's voice over LILLY's console phone-- Studio 7, this is the broadcast center, you're up on Router 2, have a good show.
Two minutes to cold open. We need Tom and Dylan set. Larry standing by. Felicity Huffman standing by.
The whole room reacts. They liked the sketch too.
It never had a chance. What are we filling with? We're just gonna keep doing that one till someone laughs, huh? What's the time on Peripheral Vision Man? Alright, tell the writers room they're gonna have to stretch it another 25 seconds, and that I'm sure that making it longer was the missing ingredient in making it funny.
Stand-by, we've got at change at 4A.
We HEAR the House Band as the CAMERA takes us past open dressing room doors. Two cast members, SIMON and TOM, who we'll also get to know in a bit, pass each other with a low-five-- --where final touches are being put on FELICITY HUFFMAN's hair as she looks over cue-cards that are being held in front of her.
".which isn't how we'd do it on Wisteria Lane. On Wisteria Lane--"--you know I actually was told this was gonna change. Are these the newest cards.
Felicity, decision time. Are we going with the slutty dress or the very slutty dress? FELICITY HUFFMAN sees WES walking past the open door.
She grabs the cue cards and goes out into-- There's something absent from WES now.he's going through the motions.
Yeah, I'm not dressed yet, but I wanted to ask you about the Desperate Housewives run in the monologue? I'll do what you want, but I thought we decided it didn't really work, which the rehearsal audience kind of confirmed.
Plus we're doing two Desperate Housewives sketches, so I thought it was decided-- Yeah, I apologize. I really do. We weren't about to get to it.
Yeah. I'm sorry I wasn't about to spend that much time with you this week.
You're in a class by yourself, Felicity. Knock 'em dead.
Is there anything you can tell me that'll make me feel better about the monologue? Your instincts aren't wrong. It isn't funny.
A CAST MEMBER across the hall has observed this.
He doesn't seem right tonight, does he.
FELICITY HUFFMAN's not exactly bathed in confidence as the WARDROBE ASSISTANT steps out to help-- Come on, babe. Just tell me what you need.
I need the very slutty dress and somebody else to wear it.
A part of the stage is set for an Oval Office sketch and TOM, who'll be playing George Bush is sitting behind the desk getting the last touches. Same thing for another CAST MEMBER playing Dick Cheney, who's standing further off to the side.
The HOUSE BAND winds up and finishes.
LARRY the announcer is at a podium off-stage.
All right, folks, 30 seconds till we're live in the East. And here's our Executive Producer, Wes Mendell, taking his seat.
WES absently acknowledges his APPLAUSE as he takes his seat in front of a quad-split and puts on a headset.
The digital display counts down. The DELAY OPERATOR takes his seat in front of his monitor.
He silently counts in the last three seconds before pointing at the actor playing Bush-- My fellow Americans. I'm here to speak to you tonight about a very serious subject. My legacy. Legacy is a 480 S.A.T. word which, it turns out, does not mean a woman with nice legs. As in, "Paula Zahn, a gal who's got some serious legacy goin' on." Or, "Angelina Jolie--primo legacy." No, my friends, legacy means-- There are all kinds of ASSISTANTS and PRODUCERS near WES's chair, all of whom are suddenly confused.
WES has gotten out of his chair and stepped on stage.
I've asked by Vice President, Dick Cheney, to join me this-- No. I want you both to clear the stage, I don't want anyone to think you were a part of this.
The AUDIENCE is laughing a little bit, assuming this is part of the show.
TOM and the cast members playing Cheney step to the side, but not too far away as they're a little concerned.
This isn't gonna be a very good show tonight and I think you show change the channel.
People are flipping through their scripts--lost-- You should change the channel right now, or better yet turn off the TV.
Does anybody know what the hell is going on? 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.
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.
At the edges of the stage, cast and crew are starting to grow nervous. Just not sure what's happening or what they're supposed to do.
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.
TOM has been silently joined by SIMON, who we saw give him the low-five backstage. At one point, SIMON will make a gut reaction to move out and get WES, but TOM will just hold his hand out to stop him.
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.
JERRY, the network executive we saw before, bursts into the control room as WES continues.
It's his show, I take my instructions from him.
.and there's always been a struggle between art and commerce, but now I'm telling you art is getting is ass kicked, and it's making us mean, and it's making us bitchy, and it's making us cheap punks and that's not who we are.
He hasn't said anything you're not allowed to say.
He's telling people to change the channel.
I don't think you have to worry about anybody changing the channel right now.
Get him off or you don't have a job tomorrow.
I'm running a live national broadcast, can you threaten me later? I'm the network executive in charge here and I'm threatening you now. Get us outa this! .We're eating works for money, "Who Wants to Screw My Sister", guys are getting killed in a war that's got theme music and a logo. That remote in your hand is a crack pipe.
I'm waiting for him to say something that isn't true.
She said you got two kids in school whose father's give seconds away from never working again.
.and it's not even good pornography. They're just this side of snuff films, and friends, that's what's next 'cause that's all that's left.
And the two things that make them scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho-religious cult that gets positively horny at the very mention of a boycott.
CAL's almost made up his mind. It's like he's a trained and experienced policeman by this is the first time he's faced live fire.
All right--I think we're just gonna go to titles. Stand by VTR.
These are the people they're afraid of, this prissy, feckless, off-the-charts greed-filled whorehouse of a network you're watching. This thoroughly unpatriotic-- It's a spectacular house with an incredible view of the L.A. lights. There's a dinner party underway--14 or so guests--and a catering staff that looks like the cast of The O.C. is at work.
WILSON WHITE is tapping his wine glass with a fork, gathering attention to offer a toast to the guest of honor. The guest of honor is JAMIE MCDEERE. JAMIE's an instantly likeable 30-something woman who we'll get to know as we go on. She's one of the stars of our show and someone who every man's wife can find an irrational reason to hate.
WILSON WHITE is the 70-something Chairman of The Atlantic Media Group, parent company of UBS.
We're at the home of JACK RUDOLPH, the 40-something Chairman of UBS.
If you'll give an old man your attention? Well I suppose we're all older than we think. I'd like to offer a toast to Jamie. Two years in Business Affairs at Atlantis Records, two years as Vice President in charge of Production at United Artists--I company I was surprised to learn still existed-- --four years at NBC, where she shepherded such modest hits as Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You and Frasier, and where she saw to it that Jay Leno spanked David Letterman on a regular basis. I believe you were personally responsible for booking Hugh Grant after his Sunset Boulevard mishap.
Yes, but that was the only think I was personally responsible for with regard to Hugh Grant.
To the news division you went and the CBS morning show, where you took the program from a 16 o 19 share and a 13% increase in the demo. Jack, I commend you for making such an astute hire. Jamie, I welcome you to The Atlantic Media Group, and as the new President of the United Broadcasting System, I ask only one thing of you: Huge success. To the newest President of UBS: Jamie McDeere.
I'll have to get used to that. And thank you Jack and Marylyn for hosting this wonderful party.
I also want to thank the caterers, this food is really incredible. I didn't immediately recognize a lot of it, but it was all delicious.
JAMIE notices that one of the WAITERS is standing right beside with a note for her.
Oh I didn't--the food was really great.
It's from my assistant. Something's happened at Studio 7.
It can't be that big a deal. Nothing bad's going to happen on my first day, right? And at that moment, cell phones and blackberries begin to go off around the table--two, three at a time, until it's a 14-piece band of ring tones, all spelling emergency-- As a small caravan of Range Rovers, Porsches and BMWs scream up to the stage door, knocking down orange pylons as they do.
CREWS from Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! and all the local news plus CNN have begun to arrive and take up positions.
Out of the various cars spring JACK, some NETWORK EXECUTIVES from the dinner party and JAMIE.
How the hell did these guys get on the lot? They were here already covering the party for the thing.
They bust through the stage door and into-- I need Shelly Green, I need Steve Cantor. I need a tape, somebody play this thing back for me. I need a room.
Excuse me, we're still in the middle of a show.
Counting Crows, but they're backstage at stand-by.
JACK and a growing entourage of network people step into-- --which is foggy with pot smoke. JACK immediately reacts-- Somebody want to get rid of the bong and the loose joints? A PA runs in with a three-quarter inch tape which JERRY tries to slam into the half-inch VCR-- We need it on half-inch for the love of-- We work in television! But before he can even finish his sentence, another PA has run in with a half-inch tape, which gets tossed to JERRY and slammed into the VCR.
No, we're live. I want you both to clear the stage, I don't want anyone to think you were a part of this.
This isn't gonna be a very good show tonight and I think you show change the channel.
As WES continues on the TV, we see JACK's face turn blood red. Behind him is JAMIE, who's watching poker-faced.
The tape of WES continues and JAMIE watches a bit before she slips out of the room and into-- JAMIE moves down the hall to an open door, outside of which stand two STUDIO SECURITY GUARDS.
WES sits alone on the couch. The show feed is on the monitor.
I'm Jamie McDeere, I'm the new President of-- But before WES can answer, JACK and the crowd can be heard coming down the hall.
We're meeting in the 18th floor conference room in 30 minutes. Legal's gonna be there along with publicity. Jerry's in charge here and they'll figure out a way to deal with the opening 60 seconds for the West Coast air. Wes? Escort him off the lot. He doesn't talk to any press while he's on this lot.
JAMIE turns to leave and hears the start of a new sketch coming from the stage and over the hall monitors. There's ominous music, then-- In times like these, the world needs a superhero with a full 180 degree field of sight. The world needs. Peripheral Vision Man! A bank of 12 televisions are being turned on for the benefit of JACK, JAMIE and everyone else in the room.
The volume will get turned up on the monitors that interest them, and there are a growing number, which will all start to play simultaneously.
In a scene reminiscent of Paddy Chayefsky's classic film, Network, Studio 7 executive Wes Mendell hijacked tonight's live broadcast and instructed his audience to-- In a stunning impression of Peter Finch's Oscar-winning performance in the 1977 film, Network, Wes Mendell, longtime Executive Producer of Studio 7-- He was as mad as hell and he's wasn't gonna take it any more. The UBS flagship program, Studio 7, celebrating its 20th season on air, had a message for its viewers tonight-- Disaster and embarrassment at UBS as tonight's broadcast of Studio 7 got off to a start that would've made Paddy Chayefsky smile-- I'm pleasantly surprised these guys have heard of Paddy Chayefsky.
People start to take seats and JAMIE sits, SHELLY, the head of publicity, confides in her-- At the dinner party. You don't compliment the caterer in front of the hostess.
I don't want to start throwing my weight around, Shel, but that's probably not gonna be a high priority tonight.
Shelly, muzzles on the cast, mouths shut, nobody talks until I say so. Howard, what's legal thinking? They're looking at the tape. There could be anything from the FCC to a class action suit.
They're not gonna like the crack about having theme music and a logo for the war.
We're trying to get 'em on the phone, but it's not easy this late on a Friday.
The remark about worm eating and "Who wants to screw my sister"? He was talking about our shows? Is there something funny about this, Jamie? Oh God, Jack, there's like nine things funny about this. We're not sure which sister-pimping show he was talking about? The FCC doesn't have us on anything and a law suit wouldn't pass the laugh test.
They're worried about a class-action suit-- --being brought by who? People with bad taste? They all got together and hired a lawyer to sue for defamation? Mitch, when the advertisers and affiliates see the east coast overnights and the fast nationals they're gonna be plenty happy and but the way, you can try, but you can't stop the cast from talking to the press. Certainly not the Big Three.
The news division can kiss me, report the damn news.
She's talking about Harriet Hayes, Tom Jeter and Stiles, they're the leaders in the group. Jamie, are you saying we're over-reacting to this hideous, humiliating and possibly actionable event that occurred on our air? No, I'm saying that you're dramatically under-reacting to it. Look, we caught one break. It happened on a Friday night and nobody ever learns anything new on a Saturday. But I'll be my stock options against anyone's in this room that by Monday noon, Wes's rant will be the most searched for it in the history of the Internet. I mean, it's gonna break records. And they'll say he's crazy and they'll say he lost his marbles, but you know what else they're gonna say? They're gonna say he was right and courageous and hallelujah somebody said it. Every cable show's gonna have non-stop roundtables about how Hollywood's taking our national culture to hell on a speedboat and we just became the symbol of that. I don't know who the bookers are even gonna get who are gonna be on our side. People for the American Way isn't gonna show up to defend UBS's primetime schedule.
When the hell did there become two sides to this? When you fired Wes. He's a martyr now.
Jamie, you can't be suggesting--this is what happened in the damn movie--you can't be suggesting we give him the show back.
Absolutely not. What he did was unforgivably irresponsible and he put me, to say nothing of his cast and crew, in a terrible position. He's done at this network.
JAMIE gets up and exists. JACK, with not many choices, follows her out into-- WES [transcriber's note: presumably this is meant to read Jack] shakes his head and points and JAMIE follows him into-- She hasn't moved into it yet, this being her first day. Unopened packaging cartons are everywhere. She's got a hell of a view out of her floor to ceiling windows, though.
We need a new story and Studio 7 needs a new Executive Producer and head writer. I want to hire Matt Albie and Danny Moore.
I have a history with those two guys.
I know the history, Jack, people in Kansas know the history. That's why it's a good story. It's a big story and we get to control it. We're gonna hire two people who hate your guts and we're gonna do it 'cause we're committed to quality. It's a tacit admission of guilt and a silent act of contrition and that's what's required here.
You talk to your bosses at NBC like this? Everyday. That's how I became president of a network.
You don't need all the fingers on one hand to count the number of people who care about your balls tonight.
I got news for you, sister, as long as I'm one of 'em, so are you.
Wes basically game 'em the show when they were there. They were his boys.
Yeah, Wes didn't seem to kick up much of a fuss when I fired his boys, which, by the way, doesn't seem to have hurt their careers any.
We don't need to debate four years ago. They're exceptionally qualified, it's a splashy choice. They're classy, and we need that right now.
My thought was that we'd promote Ronald Oswald and Richard Beck. They've been co-execs for three years, they know what they're doing, they know the current cast and staff, it'll bring stability and they're--what's the word I'm looking for-- Hacks. Ron Oswald and Ricky Beck are hacks and stability isn't what we're looking for, we're looking for surprise.
The most expensive thing in television are executive producers you can't control.
The most expensive thing in television is a show that doesn't work.
They've got a hit movie out right now.
A critical hit, but nobody's buying a ticket.
They're still gonna be offered everything.
I'm gonna get them to come back to television.
Yeah, and we're keeping it that way.
Now. Tonight. I want all this done and together for a press conference Monday noon to announce and take questions.
You're gonna get this all done on a Friday night.
You're gonna have to pay these guys.
Oh I'm gonna back up a Brinks truck. And I'll have to do what it takes to get 'em Wes's blessing.
They're not gonna care about Wes's blessing, Wes is at least as guilty as I am of-- Do you have a thing for one of these guys? Or both of these guys? I don't know either one of them personally. Is that a question you were asked when you hired me? I need to get started now. I need to get to Matt and Danny.
I'm gonna want to meet with 'em before any hands are shaken.
They're not auditioning for you, Jack.
And what will you say in this conversation.
I don't think it's a secret to you that I want Wilson White's job. I'm gonna be CEO of Atlantic Media and to do that I've gotta show White I can delegate when it comes to UBS and particularly the entertainment division. But you saw how fast I fired Wes Mendell? Screw this up and I'll fire you faster. I'm not like every other heterosexual man in show business, Jamie. I don't find you charming. And you've earned the loyalty of absolutely no one.
So you go ahead and take your first steps towards making us classy again. We've been waiting for you.
We HEAR the sound of plates, glasses and silverware crashing around for a moment and then --as MATTHEW ALBIE, 33, sits on the floor, having tried to sit in a chair that wasn't there. He's grabbed a bit of the tablecloth on the way own, upsetting some of the place settings. None of his friends seem terribly shocked. As MATT makes his way back up, he apologizes.
Sorry. I'm on some medication right now that makes me--I guess--not know where chairs are.
It's the Writers Guild Awards and the stage of the ballroom is decked out for the occasion. GUESTS and NOMINEES sit at tables in black tie and evening gowns. We're in the dinner portion and a small jazz band is playing so the guests have to raise their voices sometimes.
MATT's wearing a black-on-black tuxedo. Also at the table is DANIEL MOORE, 35--Matt's best friend and partner. DANNY's date is MARTHA, a sexy red-headed journalist.
He means he's on back medication. Matt Albie, this is Martha Moyer from the LA Times.
Thanks, that's nice of you. Are you doing a piece on Danny? No, I'm not working tonight. We're on a date.
It happened when a surgeon sliced it open with a knife.
Yeah. I may have exceeded the recommended dosage.
They haven't gotten to your category yet. They're doing the awards between courses this year.
Great. Martha, you're writing on the op-ed page now, aren't you.
Sure, you're doing terrific, keep it up.
Thank you. That's a nice tux, is that Hugo Boss? Yes. And the way I know is that a huge Bavarian model came to my house with a big rack of tuxedos and said-- You look like the Number 2 guy in a Colombian drug cartel.
I think it says formal but not stodgy.
I think it says Hi, my name is Johnny Cash.
Sure. I didn't see you. I'm on Vicodin and Percocet and a steroid called Neurontin, the side effect of which is mania--I swear to God, it says so right on the bottle.
Martha got invited to the Friday night wrap party, so I thought we might go over after, what do you think? Yeah, I'm friends with Felicity Huffman and she's guest hosting tonight.
No I like Felicity fine, but I used to date one of the cast members and we broke up and it would be awkward if I went to the party and.
.killed her in front of all those people.
Oh she's amazing, I love her. How many women in the world are there who are that beautiful and that funny? She's one of a kind, she's special.
I feel a lot better now about the break-up.
It was because of the Star Spangled Banner, can you believe it? What happened with the Star Spangled Banner? She was singing it before a Dodger game.
St. Louis. But Danny and I had just gotten back from London to do press for the movie and that's an 11 hour flight with an 8 hour time change and a pre-operative spinal cord so I wasn't able to make it out to the stadium.
I'll give you a thousand dollars if you don't ask what pissed her off.
Well ladies and gentlemen, it's time to give out more awards. To present the category of Outstanding Original Screenplay is two-time Academy Award winner and two-time Writers Guild Award winner Robert Towne.
ROBERT TOWNE comes out to great APPLAUSE. We'll HEAR him giving an introduction in the background and announce the nominees as the scene continues at the table.
It was later that night. She was still giving me a hard time about not going to the game and she said, "I was great, by the way, I got a standing ovation." And I said, "Harriet, I'm sure you were great, but it was the National Anthem, they were standing already." And that's pretty much when all hell broke loose.
And at that moment, the ballroom bursts into APPLAUSE. Everyone at MATT and DANNY's table--as well as the near surrounding tables--stands up in their ovation. DANNY grabs MATT and hugs him, which MATT misinterprets as-- Thanks, man. I really miss her. I do. I appreciate your support.
And MATT begins making his way up the aisles, shaking outstretched hands and saying a word or two to people.
Accepting awards in front of ballrooms full of people is the only place he is okay.
From another direction, BLAIR, a good-looking 40ish agent, comes quickly up to DANNY, closing her cell phone as she does. It's urgent but she also doesn't want to draw a lot of attention.
BLAIR reaches up and whispers in DANNY's ear for a moment.
DANNY follows BLAIR out of the room as we join MATT on stage, who's already begun his acceptance.
And the Writers Guild really couldn't have done me any greater honor than to have nominated me alongside Nick Pileggi, Steve Zailian, Carrie Fisher and Akiva Goldsman. Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge Danny Moore.
Whether it's on the set or at me desk he's never not been there for me. Would you put that followspot on Danny at Table 15.
The spotlight moves to where DANNY was sitting, which is now an empty seat in front of a half-used dinner plate.
MATT just shakes his head and smiles a little. Then he steps casually over to the TROPHY GIRL--the model who handed him his award--and says-- The TROPHY GIRL nods her head 'yes' as we BLAIR It's coming in the door right now.
BLAIR'S ASSISTANT is coming through the front doors of the lobby with a tape-- And I want to find Wes, I want to see if he's okay.
We need a room with a half-inch deck.
I just got a text message from my paper. Something happened at Studio 7.
PAPARAZZI and AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS with instant cameras and picture-phones are held at a safe distance behind police barricades as car doors are opened by VALETS.
As soon as HARRIET HAYES steps out of her SUV, the fans start cheering and cameras start flashing.
HARRIET, in her 30's, is effortlessly sexy. She's a multi-talented performer but a world-class sketch comedienne. Most of the time she's able to carry herself with a quiet polish that comes from swimming upstream most of her life, but she's as capable of coming apart at the seams as we all are.
There are some NEWSPEOPLE staked out who are shouting semi-decipherable questions--"Harriet! How do you feel about what happened tonight?!"--"Has Wes been fired?!", "Harriet, over here!" etc.
DAPHNE, an early 20's publicist's assistant calls out-- And two well-dressed men the size of Suge Knight escort HARRIET to the door.
The regular Friday night wrap party is underway. It's indoor/outdoor, tiki torches, glowing blue pool, CAST, CREW, GUESTS-- All right, Stevie's in New York, but I'm in constant contact with him and everybody coordinating through Shelly at the network. You're the one everyone wants to talk to 'cause of the nature of the sketch that got cut--you know what I'm saying? They're gonna want to know if you thought it was offensive.
I'm not an expert on Christian people, Daphne.
Well Stevie says you don't have anything to say to the press right now.
Stevie doesn't have to convince me of that.
HARRIET continues into the party, passing a WAITER who knows to ask-- HARRIET sees CAL, the director from the Teaser, sitting by himself at the bar. She slips up behind him and gives him a friendly scratch on the back.
CAL laughs a little in spite of himself.
We got word the sketch was cut, next thing I knew Wes was up on stage, Standards blew into the room and I waited 53 seconds before I pulled the plug.
There had to be a lot of confusion, it's not like there are rules or procedures for this kind of thing.
No, there are strict rules and procedures for this kind of thing, I just didn't follow any of them. What's Matt saying? Oh. I'm sorry. Not my night. Anyway, I've been told to sit tight and wait for word. Rock stars and cocktail waitresses--there are certainly worse places you can be told to wait.
I faced off with Standards during a live broadcast, Harry, there's gonna be a consequence.
I'm sorry about Matt. I'm a big fan of his and I like him a lot.
I'm a big fan of his and I hate his breathing guts.
I think the boys are waiting for you at your table.
HARRIET gives CAL a pat as she continues through the party and runs into RON OSWALD and RICKY BECK, the illegitimate sons we saw at the beginning, who were clearly seeking her out.
You'd tell me if you weren't, right? You know you can talk to me.
Unbelievable situation. Never seen anything like it in 23 years in television.
Down on the floor. I know we're next in command, but what are we supposed to do, shoot him with a dart gun? Cal needed some back-up in the control room is all.
RON and RICKY can sense that she's not quite with them.
We're all gonna stick together on this Harriet.
As HARRIET moves on, she doesn't hear RICKY, under his breath, say-- EXT. A DIFFERENT PART OF THE PARTY - NIGHT TOM JETER and SIMON STILES who we saw at the beginning and who, along with Harriet, are the three biggest stars of Studio 7, are sitting in a more private area of the party. A few other cast members and writers are there, along with some hangers-on and the gorgeous women who seem to be around SIMON wherever he goes. SIMON's a good looking black man and not occasional dosage of hip-hop attitude is gonna disguise the fact that he went to the Yale School of Drama.
TOM might be a couple of years younger than SIMON. He's winning with a nimble comic mind. It isn't that he's on all the time, it's just that when he's not crafting a joke in his head, he's not sure what he's supposed to be doing.
TOM and SIMON are united by their mutual respect, their dedication to their show and nothing else.
An ad parody. Ephedra or Wellbutrin.
Through a Vaseline lens we shoot skinny supermodels with attitude. Despite the fact that they're young, rich, beautiful, famous and don't work for a living, they're sad and they don't know why.
Like that one over there. So we're seeing these gauzy shots and I don't know what the voiceover is but the tag line is: "Ask your doctor if food is right for you." How 'bout we do a sketch where a madman blows up a network television show and I spend what's left of my career playing the Ben Vereen part in Pippin at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida--No wait, we just did that one! I saw The King and I there, it was good.
The Burt Reynolds Theatre, it's good.
So help me Hannah, I am this close to going Russell Crowe on your ass.
I had to navigate 14 people asking me if I was offended by the sketch and if I'd spoken to Matt.
He's at his house he's meeting there with somebody.
She was gone after the good-byes and I think she deserves a medal for making it that far.
We should probably send her a fruit basket.
It wasn't over the Star Spangled Banner and it doesn't matter so let's just.not.in any way ever talk about him again.
Harriet, you want some nice news on a bad night? Matt just won the Writers Guild Award.
That's wonderful. Really. I'm so happy I could kill myself.
And a young guy, DYLAN, a little too cool for himself--maybe a Jack Black wannabe--speaks out from the other end of the group.
Hey Harriet. You pray before every show. What happened tonight, did it not work? Suddenly, a sense of humorless tension sets in on the group.
Why'd the sketch get cut? Did somebody who's going to heaven complain to Standards? When you start making a contribution to this show you can talk to me any way you want. But you had two lines tonight and you stepped on one of them. So until you either accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior or make somebody laugh, why don't you go drink at another table.
There's a frozen silence for a moment until.
DYLAN gets up, along with a couple of his friends, and they move on.
I was offended I wasn't in the sketch. I thought the writing was of a level we haven't had in years, and frankly I was surprised that Wes was capable of it.
Ron and Ricky suddenly being able to write like that would be like me suddenly being able to play the cello.
You're being called back to the studio.
DANNY is standing in front of the TV, holding a remote and watching--for the tenth time--playback on WES's rant. His agent, BLAIR, sits on the cough talking into the room phone while holding his cell phone.
.and it's not even good pornography. They're just this side of snuff films, and friends, that's what's next 'cause that's all that's left.
There's a KNOCK on the door and BLAIR gets up and answers. It's JAMIE, who gives BLAIR a friendly pat on the arm and an inaudible 'hello' and slips into the room unnoticed by DANNY.
And the two things that make the scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho-religious cult that gets positively horny at the very mention of a boycott.
Well, there are gonna be some horny psycho-religious cults tonight.
I'm sorry are we in your room? The hotel just let us in to use-- As a matter of fact my contract doesn't start till Monday. Technically, I suppose, I could blow all this off and go to Cabo for the weekend. You wanna come? I have a date waiting downstairs in the lobby.
Your date's gonna win a Pulitzer Prize within three years, you heard it here first.
I've actually heard it before but I'll pass on the compliment.
Well since you won't come to Cabo, what about this? You and Matt Albie run Studio 7? Yeah. Right now as a matter of fact. Your cast and crew and staff are gathering at the-- We're making a movie right now. I'm gearing up to start production on a new screenplay of his.
Look, I'm not even comfortable having this conversation without--you fired Wes? Well I'd like to do for him what he never did for us and ask-- You have his blessing. You can call him if you want.
I said I want your blessing and I want your endorsement. In gratitude I'll pay the full term of your contract. If he'd said no, I'd have sued for damages and won and while the case was pending for seven years I'd have successfully sought an injunction against his working at any other network.
Jamie, I think we ought to talk about what we're talking about.
What did you mean when you said--I said we're making a movie and you said I don't think so.
I have an ex-boyfriend who's an executive at Great Western Mutual and he tells me things he's not supposed to tell me.
'Cause he doesn't want to be your ex-boyfriend anymore.
And I'm sorry to bring it up like this, it's certainly none of my business. You'll be able to get bonded again in 18 months and I need you for two years so it just about works out.
I absolutely am not. The information I have interests me only inasmuch as it means you're available to do a job that you're great at and that you love. And the money's not bad either. Blair and I'll settle in on something but you'll be the highest paid showrunners in the business. It'll be roughly three times what you'd make directing a feature which you're not gonna be able to do for another year and a half anyway. What I'd like you to do is to come over to the studio and talk with Jack.
He's meeting you at the stage, he's being taken in a separate car.
'Cause the press is about 8 minutes behind all of us tonight.
I'm going over there now, but I'm not going over to talk to your boss, I'm going over to tell Matt before you do.
Danny, I have no intention of telling Matt or anyone else.
That's nice, but I have no reason to trust you and every reason not to.
Would you call down for my car please.
As the elevators open and DANNY flies off. He looks around and quickly sees who he was looking for--MARTHA--and runs over and grabs her hand.
Marty. I'm sorry. I have to go right now and I can't take you home and I can't take you with me.
--where hundreds of people are waiting to get their cars from the VALETS.
I can't really talk about it. You see a black BMW? We're in Beverly Hills, I see six black BMW's without turning my head. I have friends at the paper who know I'm here tonight.
I get the text message about what happened at the show, I see you getting hustled out by your agent, I see Matt getting hustled out of the press room after he wins, I've got Felicity Huffman telling me Jack Rudolph and Jamie McDeere met immediately after the show and she's preparing for a press conference on Monday.
I'm a columnist but I have friends who work on the news side and they get very pissed off when they get scooped.
I on the other hand don't care at all if they get scooped and neither does anybody else.
Are you dropping Matt's new screenplay and taking over the show? I gave the guy a hundred dollars to keep the car up here.
I'm gonna get in trouble if I don't--I have to tell them what I've seen.
DANNY, who's had it, takes MARTHA's arm and moves her slightly to insure secrecy-- I can't direct Matt's script. 8 days ago I failed a drug test and I can't get bonded.
Movie studios that out completion bonds. Insurance. So that when Tom Cruise breaks his arm during principal photography and you have to shut down for three weeks, you're covered. I failed my physical and with my history I won't be able to get bonded until I've had 18 months of clean tests. The new president of UBS knows this, so pretty soon everyone else will. You guys are gonna have me for lunch and I don't care. I just want to get to Matt and tell him before somebody else does.
SO I HAVE MY CHECKBOOK HERE, AND I'M WILLING TO BUY THE NEXT CAR THE GETS BROUGHT OUT!! Call your guys on the news side and tell 'em that and then let's get this rectal probe started.
There are good reporters and bad reporters, and confusing me with other people is no way to get me into bed with you.
Well if I'd known that was a realistic possibility, I never would've-- Yeah. But I don't think you're gonna have time 'cause my reporter's instinct says you're gonna agree to take over the show.
I don't mean to insult you twice in the same minute, but your reporter's instinct sucks.
DANNY gets in the car and screeches away from the hotel as fast as he can as we HARRIET is coming the down the call with two cups of coffee. The hall is lined with framed photos from 20 years of Studio 7. She stops at one and looks at the picture of herself with SIMON and TOM, laughing at rehearsal with MATT and DANNY. She regards the photo for a moment before she moves into-- TOM's got his feet up on the table, smoking a cigarette and SIMON's lying down on the couch. They're waiting.and while they're waiting, TOM's doing some talking.
We're witnessing the rise of the hack. A sort of celebration of mediocrity.
You can blame the blogs, but I blame The New York Times. They quote the blogs like they've found a source. CNN quotes the blogs. "Beverly, Editor-in-Chief of the BeverlyBlog, says the Fed should cut interest rates to counter the drop in consumer spending over the past fiscal--" who hell is Beverly? I don't believe in free speech, I think it should require a license. What happened to credentials. What happened to being impeccably credentialed, and when did elite stop being a good word? In the Wellbutrin ad parody. Instead of skinny models, they should be Ethiopians.
You want to do jokes about starving children? Yeah, 'cause it's a joke about starving children.
No, it's a joke about Pfizer or Kaiser or whoever makes it and it's a joke about us. They need minimal elements for survival and we have a pill for when you're not in a good mood.
I think you just made the whole thing not funny in a hurry.
What in the hell are you two talking about.
An ad parody shot like Ephedra or Wellbutrin. Gauzy images of glum supermodels.
Yeah. The tag is "Ask your doctor if food is right for you." Okay, well it's definitely not the Ethiopians.
"Side effects may include energy, cohesive thought and hip bones you can't carve trophies with." Ricky and Ron are up in Wes's office right now with Jamie McDeere and Jack Rudolph. The smart money's saying they're the new Executive Producers.
I'm gonna go see what's going on. People are running around like chickens out there. I think the best thing is not to listen to rumors and be calm.
She gets up to wait out and walks right into MATT who's just stepping into the doorway-- What did you guys do that made that man go crazy? Just the same stuff we used to do to you.
SHELLY, the P.R. lady we met in the first act, has been escorting MATT.
They want me to put you in the green room Do the two of you have to be nice to everybody? HARRIET leads MATT down the corridor and through two steel doors onto-- They're standing under the bleachers in one of the vomitoriums.
Two things. What are you doing here and could you please stop telling people we broke up because of the Star Spangled Banner.
Well I'm here because I was asked to come here and I can't remember the second thing.
Would you please stop telling people we broke up because of the Star Spangled Banner. It makes me look like an idiot.
Actually, the consensus is it makes me look like an idiot.
Be that as it may, and truer words were never spoke, could you-- And HARRIET screams and jumps into DANNY's arms--which DANNY accepts but ignores-- I'm just saying if you don't do it it goes to Ricky and Ron.
It's empty as DANNY opens the door and usher MATT in. We can see part of the Hollywood sign in the distance out the window.
I had them move the follow-spot over. I said "He's never not been there for me", and then there was a klieg light on a basket of dinner rolls.
Yeah, but that's not what I want to talk to you about. Somebody else has to direct the movie, I can't do it.
I can't do it. I took my insurance physical and tested positive for cocaine. I can't get bonded for 18 months.
Well, with my alimony and my percent of the first dollar gross on this movie.65 dollars.
We make some budget cuts, we shoot in Vancouver.
We're not shooting in Vancouver. Vancouver doesn't look like anything, it doesn't even look like Vancouver. It looks like Boston, California. Now we can make the movie for 65 dollars but it's gonna end up looking an awful lot like an only slightly more polished version of The Blair Witch Project. You need to go to another director. Go to Soderbergh, go to Curtis Hanson, go to-- They must know. That's how they knew we were available.
A guy at the insurance company wants to sleep with Jamie McDeere.
Who doesn't want to sleep with Jamie McDeere?! Are they swinging this thing in front of your face? The point is, the new movie doesn't have to be-- --and follows MATT quickly down the hall. There are a few people there who are surprised and delighted to see them both, so they get a couple of "Hey, look who's here"'s and respond with a couple of genial "Hi"'s and "How you doin'"'s until MATT goes into-- --where JACK RUDOLPH, JAMIE and a few of the EXECUTIVES we saw earlier are sitting around the table. DANNY comes in a few steps later.
I couldn't be a bigger fan of yours.
You don't have to introduce yourself, Jack, we've met. Are you people using the confidential information that Danny failed a drug test to force him into taking over Studio 7 to deflect attention from what happened on the air tonight? There's a long, puzzled silence in the room.
Yeah, actually Matt, I was the only one who knew about that. Shoulda trusted me a little, Danny.
Sorry about that, that one was all me.
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.
Well now that I understand Jamie's magic ingredients tonight, why don't we siddown.
MATT and DANNY take a moment and then sit.
Hey, congratulations on the WGA Award.
What did you think of Wes's speech tonight? It was unprofessional, it was indefensible, what do you think I think? I'm not talking about the presentation so much as the content.
Its content? It's a little hard--I thought he tried to cram a lot of large generalities into a short period of time.
Because that's what you'll be asked by the press.
No, I think My Mother the Car was bad, I think this is something else.
What the hell are we talking about? You fired us four years ago from the number two spot, we went out and got famous and now you want us back 'cause your in a jam, isn't that what's going on? Well it sounds like you're in a bit of a jam too, fellas.
DANNY gets up and exits.MATT doesn't move.
We're gonna take the job, I'll bring him around. I'm not sure threatening him was the way to go.
I didn't make a threat and by the way I didn't fire you either, you quit.
Please, Jack. The wind started blowing hard in another direction and suddenly my jokes weren't so funny anymore. You put the flag over the network logo--God forbid you should lose the network logo altogether--and you pointed me toward the door, which is understandable. What isn't understandable is how you could also fire Danny. All he ever did was two things--make the show good and keep me from killing you.
For the record, when I pointed to the door, it was your hero Wes Mendell who opened it.
There's gonna be a press conference at noon on Monday announcing that you two are running Studio 7. I know I can count on you to answer questions in a way that doesn't embarrass the United Broadcasting System. Will that be hard for you? I wouldn't think it would be hard for anybody. 'Cause if you pointed a camera at two people masturbating it'd be among the least embarrassing things on the United Broadcasting System. I'll tell Blair to start working on the deal.
MATT gets up and exits.After a silence.
I've already got a dual masturbation show in active development, so.
Keep laughin', Jamie. This is all on you.
MATT walking down the corridor sees SUZANNE, the PA from the teaser.
How many of the cast, crew and writing staff would you say are in the building right now? Probably almost all of them. Are you coming to save us? All MATT can do at the moment is just kind of hear the question and laugh at the impossibleness of it.
Would you page everyone to the stage please.
MATT continues down the hall and KNOCKS on the dressing room door marked HARRIET HAYES.
INT. HARRIET'S DRESSING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Danny and I are taking over the show. I'm your boss now, so we're gonna have to continue this fight in a couple of years.
We didn't break up because of the Dodger game.
When you were promoting the movie I was holding your hand every step of the way. When I had a CD to promote in 52 markets in 15 days, you disappeared.
Right after you went on The 700 Club is that timing lost on you? It was an album of spiritual music, those are the people who buy spiritual music! I don't care if it was an album of the three wise men covering the Doobie Brothers, you put on a dress and sang for a bigot.
I sang for his audience, not every one of whom is necessarily the grotesque stereotype you'd like them to be. Most of these people have nothing except their faith, and that moves me.
Throw in the Halloween costumes and you got yourself a Klan rally.
HARRIET smacks MATT across the face.
Fortunately I'm on about 8000 milligrams of painkillers right now.
And I'm sorry if my going on Pat Robertson offended you and if I had to do it again I wouldn't. But the sketch that got cut? I stood by that sketch all week, and I've stood by it all night and I'll stand by it in front of the press, and you know what that sketch was called? "Crazy Christians".
There's no way to get this idiotic argument behind his? No. But score for us on Friday nights and we won't have a problem. I'm looking forward to working with you.
And MATT takes a few steps and walks through the double-steel doors onto-- DANNY is sitting along on the stage as MATT walks in.
Matt, you can get another director, you can get someone good.
I don't want someone else, I want you.
The joke was "I don't want someone good, I want you." Why didn't you tell me? When I screw up you know about it.
No, I tell you, you're the first one I tell. Now we're back in the NFL and only one of us can screw up at a time and I think we both know that most of the time it's gonna be me. You're the big shoulders.
Good, 'cause I'm pretty stoned right now and I can't really remember what I said.
During the above scene, a few cast and crew members have begun trickling onto the stage and taking up positions in front of the bleachers. Their conversations are hushed and they keep their distance from MATT and DANNY.
JAMIE appears coming out of a vomitorium with a few rolled up sheets of paper-- Boys? Let's not have another meeting like that again, okay? It just makes my job harder.
Why do I care about your job being harder? Because you don't know it yet but I'm gonna be your dream come true.
I appreciate the sentiment but I'll believe it when I see it.
Yeah, I get that a lot. You know what happened the morning after it was announced I was the new president of UBS? AMG stock dropped three-eights of a point. I actually caused a dip in the NASDAQ index just by showing up to work in the morning. I don't think a lot of people are bettin' on me.
How much latitude do we have with personnel.
Some. Some you're gonna have to keep though. Ricky and Ron have two more years on their contract.
They're getting 30 thousand an episode, we're not gonna eat that.
You're paying Beavis and Hackboy 30 thousand an episode? I'm not the one who made the deal but it's there so they're your co-execs.
More people have been filtering in and taking places down in front of the bleachers.
Hey, you know what this is? It's the sketch that got cut. I just read it, I thought it was inspired, but I'm not an expert--Matt, read it and tell me what you think.
Just read it and tell me if it should've gone on the air.
Because I wrote it. Four years ago. Shortly before I apparently quit.
JAMIE walks off and disappears.and now we HEAR the low-pulsing intro into a familiar DAVID BOWIE song.
MATT and DANNY are looking off after JAMIE.DANNY turns back to MATT-- The DAVID BOWIE pulsing is building as DANNY sees CAL and waves him over-- It had to have been a chaotic situation.
If you'd kept him on for 54 seconds I'd have given you a raise.
It's a nice studio. It's a great facility with an incredible history. I feel privileged to be here.
And the two of them stand still for a moment and just as small smiles creep onto their faces, DAVID BOWIE's voice smashes in with DANNY motions easily to a FLOOR MANAGER as he and MATT move to address their team-- Alright, quiet please everybody. Quiet please.
CSIRO PUBLISHING Azithromycin: more lethal than chloramphenicol? Ivan Stratov A,C , Justin Denholm B and Stephen J. Kent AADepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia. BVictorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Department of Medicine, University ofMelbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia. Abstract