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Season One
(1998-1999)
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Pilot
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 1; 1- 1  Prod. Num.: N-301 (alt. 514-H)  First Air Date: Sep. 22, 1998 

Episode Summary
SN_Pilot

Casey begins to slow down at the job, due to his impending divorce. He's been out of his house for 6 months and, according to Dan, for the last three months, Casey "has been showing them nothing but the back of his hand."

The staff tries to get Casey out of his haze, while J.J. and the network brass threaten to fire him based on his on-air performance. At the same time, Casey himself thinks about leaving until he witnesses that he'd only do this for the wrong reasons.

Ntozake Nelson, a 41 year-old South African distance runner, is running the 15,000 meters that night in the World Pacific Games, which CSC is broadcasting. J.J. objects to having a 3-minute, 20-second piece devoted to him on "Sports Night" because it doesn't fit CSC's demographics, but Nelson proves everyone wrong by winning the race and providing an inspirational moment for the whole staff, including Casey, who calls his son up to have him watch the history-making event.

Dana hires a new associate producer, neurotic, but brilliant Jeremy Goodwin- even though he freaked out when he had to give an instant analysis of the New York Knicks. Dan has a New York Renaissance....

Also, much trivia and background information is released in this episode, such as that CSC stands for Continental Sports Channel, that Luther Sachs is the CEO of the company, and Helsinki is in Finland. Also, Dan and Casey originated the show two years and two months ago- making their first show around mid-July of 1996- and they had worked in the 3rd and 5th largest markets (which, according to the Nielsen system, was Chicago and San Francisco).


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Robert Mailhouse (as J.J.)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)
Bernard Hocke (as Dave)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)

Guest-starring:
Nina Jane Barry (as Claire)
Kim McCall (as Technical Switcher Extra)
Producer: John Amodeo
Casting by: Bonnie Zane, C.S.A. and Paula Rosenberg, C.S.A.
Associate Producer: Stephen Putnam
Director of Photography: Peter Smokler
Production Designer: Thomas E. Azzari
Edited by: Janet Ashikaga, A.C.E.
Unit Production Manager / First Asst. Director: Steve Burgess
Second Assistant Director: Elena Santaballa
Music by: W.G. Snuffy Walden
Set Decorator: Greg Grande, S.D.S.A.
Costumers: Gina Wingate, Christy Ito-Waller
Make-up: Gloria Levinson
Hair Stylist: Sylvia Surdu
Property Master: Karen Holley
Script Supervisor: Kate Wright
Technical Coordinator: Dana DeValley
Production Sound Mixer: Larry LaSota
Production Coordinator: Carmen Herrera

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Many trivia and background information is released in this episode:
  • CSC stands for Continental Sports Channel
  • Luther Sachs is the CEO of the company
  • Dan and Casey originated the show two years and two months ago, making their first show around mid-July of 1996.

Notes:
With the submission of this episode, Thomas Schlamme, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.

Thomas Schlamme, Steve Burgess, Elena Santaballa, and Dana DeValley won the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series. The award was given by the Directors' Guild of America.

Bernard Hocke (Dave, the "Sports Night" Director) was replaced by Jeff Mooring after this episode.

Nina Jane Barry (Claire) appears only in this episode.
"Huh?"
During a rundown meeting, Dana mentions that the story on Ntosake Nelson was to help promote the games. Later that evening, they are watching Nelson run his event, which is taking place before they air their segment on him. How could a story be promoting an event if the story is aired after the event? Either way, the Nelson segment could have been used to create further interest in the games.

Gaffe:
"Isaac's Disappearing Name Badge"

During the initial rundown meeting, Isaac's name badge disappears and reappears throughout the scene.
As Isaac walks toward the conference room to get Casey, he is wearing a name badge. When he goes in, it is gone. When he walks back out, it is back again.



Allusions:
DAN (to CASEY): The Metropolitan Opera under the baton of Mr. James Levine.
ISAAC: What's he talking about?
CASEY: His New York renaissance.
James Levine has been the artistic director and orchestra conductor for the New York Metropolitan Opera Company since 1971.

DAN (to CASEY): Plaza Hotel, Oak Bar, dry martini. New York at night, my friend. This city never sleeps.
The Plaza Hotel is a 19-story luxury hotel, that is the only (along with the Waldorf-Astoria) New York City hotel to be designated a Historic Landmark. The Oak Bar was closed in 2005 for renovations (along with the rest of The Plaza Hotel), and is planned to reopen in 2008.

JEREMY: The Knicks.
DANA: Name three things!
JEREMY: Improve their free throw percentage.
NATALIE: Yes!
JEREMY: Run the floor.
DANA: Okay. One more.
JEREMY: Tell Spike Lee to sit down and shut up?
NATALIE: Excellent!
Spike Lee, a famed American filmmaker, has been a passionate, lifelong fan of the Knicks. He has been attending games since he was a child. Today, he frequently attends games and sits courtside in the front row, sometimes taunting opposing players.

CASEY: Look, I got into this 'cause I liked getting people to like sports. And I've turned into a P.R. man for punks and thugs. Any atrocity, no matter how ridiculous or hideous or childish, it doesn't matter. I make it "sports."
Ten cent bag man whacks a skater's leg with a crowbar, that's "sports"...

Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked in 1994 by a man wielding a blunt object after a practice at the U.S. Olympic trials. Teammate Tonya Harding was later found guilty of hindering a police investigation. The investigation found her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, guilty of helping plan the attack, and her body guard and his friends of executing the attack, with the intention of removing Kerrigan from competition. The thought was that it would improve Harding's chances of winning, since Kerrigan defeated her consistently.

CASEY: Second round draft pick gets cranky in a Houston bar, and that's sports. And let's not forget the mother of all great sports stories: a double homicide in Brentwood.
One-time football great O.J. Simpson was tried and acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted nine months and divided the country. It is generally presumed that O.J. was actually guilty of the crime, but due to police tampering with the evidence along with racial issues, he was allowed to go free.

CASEY (on the phone with his son, Charlie): I'm gonna be on the air in about twelve minutes, and if Mom says it's okay, you can watch the beginning of the show. But then, I'm gonna give you the special signal and that means you gotta turn off your TV and go to sleep.
Sometimes, personalities subtly say or do something to signal something to loved ones. For instance, Carol Burnett, would give her signature ear-tug as a signal to her grandmother.

The Apology
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 2; 1- 2  Prod. Num.: N-302  First Air Date: Sep. 29, 1998 

Episode Summary
Apology

Dan has an article written about him in "Esquire," and is misunderstood on his opinion over marijuana and the law and gives the impression he supports the legalization of marijuana. The network higher-ups, including CEO Luther Sachs, demand an apology, and Isaac and Dana agree with their opinion. The Standards and Practices Department questions Dan because they think he is a recovering addict, stating that Dan says he last used drugs 11 years to the day. Isaac tells Dan to do the apology because "this is television and this is how it's done." No one can come up with a firm answer as to whom Dan should be apologizing to, so he ends up telling the story of his brother who died because he copied Dan's drug habits. Dan's brother, Sam died in a car wreck when he was 16 and Dan was 18. Sam was high on drugs and drunk. The accident occurred 11 years ago that night- the night Dan stopped smoking pot.

Dana decides to do a teaser about a no-hitter currently taking place, but Jeremy politely disagrees with the decision because he says it will jinx the pitcher. After the teaser is done, the pitcher loses the no-hitter.

Casey worries about why he is not considered "cool" like Dan, and he feels that Dan's magazine article makes him seem "not cool." Casey tells Dana he is cool and asks for Dan's help in making him cool again.

Dan thinks he is stalked by one of the CSC fitness show stars.

Jeremy can't make a news spot short enough; his piece being eight-and-a-half minutes long instead of the standard 30-40 seconds. Natalie has Casey help Jeremy with his piece because she admits she has "feelings" for Jeremy.

Natalie also gets Dana thinking romantically about Casey by telling her that Casey is sending her signals.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-Starring:
David Graf (as Chase)
Aaron Lustig (as Gilbert)
Amy Powell (as Kelly Kirkpatrick)

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
It can be assumed that Dan is 29 years old.

At the beginning of the episode, Casey is talking to Ted Lewis. "Ted Lewis" also happens to be the name of the series' best boy grip.

Notes:
Aaron Sorkin received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series based on this episode.

This episode won the PRISM Award for TV Comedy Episode for the accurate depicition of drug abuse.

Dana's and Casey's hair style changed.

The background on the "Sports Night" studio set changed.

There is new furniture inside Dan and Casey's office.

In the opening scene, the numbers "666" can be seen through the windows outside of Dan and Casey's office.

"Huh?"
If Dan did the Esquire interview weeks ago, how come he mentions that he hasn't done drugs "11 years ago, today"? It is possible that, before the interview, the magazine told Dan the release date of the issue, and it falls on the anniversary of his brother's death.

Gaffe:
As Natalie was recruiting Casey to help Jeremy with his first highlight package, Casey has papers rolled up in his right-hand as they walk through the newsroom. Once they enter the office, he is holding the papers flat.



Allusions:
CASEY:I love music, I have a great appreciation of music.
DAN: Dude, I've been in your car, you have the Starland Vocal Band singing "Afternoon Delight."
CASEY: That's right... wait, I do not have the Starland Vocal Band, it's not like I went out and bought the single. It's on my Time-Life Sounds of the '70s.
The Starland Vocal Band was a 70's "one-shot-wonder" known for their only hit, "Afternoon Delight." They actually got to host a summer TV variety show as a result of the hit.
"Afternoon Delight" appears on Time-Life's album, "Sounds of the Seventies: The Late 70's."

STANLEY: Howard Stern did fifteen minutes on you this morning. He said Dan Rydell leant a whole new meaning to the word "highlights."
DAN: Howard Stern is a professional comedian, that's his job.
Howard Stern is a widely-known, popular, and controversial radio host.

CHASE: Dan, I understand your position and I don't necessarily disagree with it. But this is a sports network. Our sponsors expect us to project an image of good health and clean living.
DAN: I'll think about that next time I'm reporting how the Miller Genuine Draft car did in the Winston Cup.
Miller Genuine Draft is a beer made by Miller, and it sponsors one of the cars racing in NASCAR. The Winston Cup, named after the Winston brand of cigarettes, was the name of the championship title given to the winning driver of the NASCAR season.

ISAAC: ...No rich young white guy has ever gotten anywhere with me comparing himself to Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks performed a highly influential act in the early civil rights movement. In the fifties, in Montgomery, Alabama, black people rode in the back of the bus, while white people rode in the front. The middle sections varied, depending on need and the decision of the conductor/driver. In 1955, Parks was on a bus, seated in the middle section. When the white sections filled up, and more whites got on, the conductor directed the black people in front middle row to get up to make room for them. Parks refused, the conductor had her arrested. The subsequent bus boycott was a significant part of the nascent civil rights efforts, especially since it provided a very public soapbox for a then-little-known minister, Martin Luther King, Jr.

CASEY (on air): ...where the Bears were two for nine inside the red zone.
The "red zone" is an American football term where the offense is 20 or fewer yards away from scoring a touchdown. In this case, the Bears scored twice (either a touchdown or field goal) when their offense was inside the "red zone."

At the end of the episode, Dan and Casey refer to people who they think are cool:

  • Elvis Costello:
    an English singer-songwriter and musician, has had a prolonged and diverse career. Mostly known for his punk rock and new wave music, Costello has written music for a ballet and opera; performed blues, jazz, and country music; and appeared in guest-starring roles in television and movies.
  • Jack Nicholson:
    an Academy Award-winning actor. He is internationally renowned for his often dark-themed portrayals of neurotic characters.
  • J.D. Salinger:
    an author best known for his book, The Catcher in the Rye. He last published an original work in 1965, and hasn't granted an interview since 1980.
  • Muppets:
    an informal name and legal trademark to the puppets created by the late-Jim Henson or his company's workshop. His most famous creations appear in television's Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock and in various movies and television specials.
  • Gheorghe Zamfir:
    aka Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute, is a Romanian musician who has received 120 golden and platinum disc awards and sold over 40 million albums. The introduced the folk instrument to a modern audience through his widely seen commercials, selling his albums.

The Hungry and the Hunted
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 3; 1- 3  Prod. Num.: N-303  First Air Date: Oct. 6, 1998 

Episode Summary
Hungry and Hunted

Casey and Isaac regret asking Jeremy to guess a play during a college football game, since Jeremy correctly guesses the play and result.

Jeremy gets "the call " from Isaac and Dana to produce a segment on outdoor activities for CSC's hunting show, "CSC Outdoorsman. " Jeremy initially thinks it is punishment for correctly guessing the college football play. While he wants to advance with his career, Jeremy has a big problem with hunting for "sport."

While filming his segment, Jeremy has to be taken to the hospital. Upon returning, he is confronted by Dana and Isaac. Jeremy gives an impassioned account of shooting a deer, and how he believes it is "just plain mean."

Isaac advises him to speak up more, even though Jeremy believes that speaking up and not fitting in is how qualified people lose their job. Isaac reassures Jeremy that even though Jeremy might not initially trust them, they trust him.

Dan admits he has no interest in soccer and challenges everybody to name the teams in the MLS. Dan is "smoked" when they rattle off each team in the American soccer league.

Technical errors occur on the set.

Natalie tries to orchestrate romance between Casey and Dana for a formal party, which is sponsored by CEO Luther Sachs. When Casey sees Dana in her formal attire, he is literally knocked off his feet. Casey falls for Dana, but he may only be jealous because Dana was on the arm of another man, Gordon. Casey drives Dan nuts over Dana being with Gordon.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Jeremy used to work at USA Today, and his old boss, Mark Sabath, is friends with Isaac. Also, Jeremy either worked at and/or had job references from the Free Press and the Sacramento Bee.

Notes:
This episode won the Genesis Award from the Ark Trust, Inc. for Best New Comedy Series. The episode was singled out for demonstrating "the horrors or sport hunting."

The door to Dan and Casey's office has been moved over by one window pane, closer to the middle of the office.




Allusions:
DAN: Also, grab your notebooks, we're going to take you inside the 4-3 defense, on this week's edition of "Inside The 4-3 Defense."
The 4-3 defense is the most common defensive alignment used in American football. It consists of four linemen (located immediately adjacent the line of scrimmage) and three linebackers located behind the linemen, who can shift function depending on whether the developing play appears to be a run or a pass play.

CASEY: Those stories, plus... grab your galoshes, we're gonna take you out to the Iditarod.
The Iditarod is an annual Alaskan dog sled race, run since 1973 along the Iditarod Trail, a pioneering dogsled route.

DAN: I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky. To the flung spume and the blown spray and the... I don't know, the thing in my eye.
Actually, this is two non-sequential lines from a poem titled, Sea Fever, by British poet John Masefield.
The completed first line is:
  I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by
The second line is:
  And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

CASEY: I'm sayin' I think it's Slim Whitman.
Slim Whitman is an American country music singer-songwriter. He had more success in Britain than in the United States, and preferred to sing laid-back melodies about simple live and love. In 1979, his album, All My Best, became the all-time best-selling TV-marketed record in music history.

DAN: What shoes are you wearing?
CASEY: Whatever shoes are on my feet, Danny, what the hell--
DAN: I was talking to Dana.
DANA: Manola Blahniks.
DAN: The black silk sling backs?
DANA: Yeah.
DAN: Good.
CASEY (TO DAN): Thank you, Coco Chanel.
Coco Chanel was a pioneering, French fashion designer whose designs embodied independence, success, personality, style, and confidence. She popularized the little black dress, and wanted her designs to be simple, comfortable, and revealing.

NATALIE: ...Tomorrow morning you'll take a van with your crew up to the Adirondacks where you'll meet Bob Shoemaker...
The Adirondack Mountain Range is in northeastern New York State.

DAN: How many people can I think of named Gordon?
CASEY: Yeah.
DAN: Two.
CASEY: That's how many I got. Which were your two?
DAN: Gordon Lightfoot and Gordon Liddy.
CASEY: Those were my two. Those were the exact same two that I got. Can you think of any more?
Gordon Lightfoot is a Canadian singer-songwriter, whose folk-pop music inspired many other major recording artists. His 40+ year career is known for his baritone voice and folk-based acoustic guitar.
G. Gordon Liddy served as the chief operative of the White House Plumbers unit under U.S. President Nixon's administration. He also masterminded the first break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building in 1972.

Intellectual Property
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 4; 1- 4  Prod. Num.: N-304  First Air Date: Oct. 13, 1998 

Episode Summary
Intellectual Property

Casey spins out of control due to jealousy when Dana starts seriously dating Gordon. He swats flies that no one else can see, kicks fire hydrants, and other odd behaviors.

Dana prepares for a weekend ski trip with Gordon, and Casey pretends he's not jealous of her new interest. Dana pretends she's not upset by Casey's reaction, and the two "have it out." Shortly thereafter, Dana sees the fly that only Casey could see.

The latest ratings came in, and the network has gained ground on Fox and Bristol, but still remain in third place.

Dana, Natalie, and Jeremy wonder where all their "good" ideas went. Natalie hatches a plan to get Dana and Casey together. Natalie's thrilled Dana's "plan" to get Casey is working because Dana didn't have a strategy.

CSC has to pay $2500 in royalties after Dan sings Casey "Happy Birthday" on the air. That causes Dan to put together a list of songs in the public domain, so they can be sung during broadcasts without penalty.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Yeardley Smith (as Malory Moss)
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Isaac enjoys drinking Double Chivas on the rocks toward the end of the work evening.

Casey and Dana have known each other for 15 years. That means they knew each other in college, and worked together previously in the TV markets of Dallas and Los Angeles.
Yeardley Smith, who plays Malory, the attorney for CSC's Business Affairs, is better known as the voice of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons.

Casey's birthday is September 5th.

Notes:
Yes, the song "Happy Birthday" is protected by copyright. Mildred and Patty Hill were Kentucky school teachers, who created the song as a teacher's aid. The song originated as "Good Morning to You," but it is not known when exactly the birthday lyrics were created. The song was used as Western Union's original singing telegram. The copyright protection was originally set to expire in 2010, but new laws extended the protection to at least 2030.
It is estimated that it generates $2 million annually in royalties.

"Huh?"
"Jammo, Jammo" is actually a part of "Funiculí Funiculá." The music was written by Luigi Denza and lyrics written by Peppino Turco in 1880. In several places, the song has been mistakenly attributed to Giuseppe Verdi, including The Ten Tenors album, Tenology, and a Seinfeld television episode.

On a side note, Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. To this day, his works are performed frequently in opera houses. Some say no composer of Italian opera has managed to match Verdi's popularity.
Verdi wrote, La forza del destino, which is also the title of the series' penultimate episode.




Allusions:
CASEY: Dana, there is a fly in the studio the size of a bald eagle, and every time he buzzes my head on a fly-by it's like a sound check at a Black Sabbath concert.
Black Sabbath is a British heavy metal band, formed in 1968, with a long lineup of now-classic songs. The band was ranked number one in MTV's list of The Greatest Metal Bands of All Time (as of 2008). The most well-known member is lead singer Ozzy Osbourne.

JEREMY: Maybe he only makes himself visible to you.
CASEY (PAUSE): Maybe he only makes himself visible to me?
JEREMY: Like the rabbit in Harvey.
CASEY: This isn't like the rabbit in Harvey.
Harvey is a classic 1950 Jimmy Stewart film, based on a Pulitzer prize winning play, about a man befriended by a giant, anthropomorphic rabbit, called a 'pooka' and named Harvey, which only he can see.

CASEY: It's not a phantom fly. It's a real fly.
DANA: We believe you.
CASEY: I'm like Tippi Hedron in there.
Tippi Hedren, the star of a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960s films, is possibly best known role was as the heroine of one of Hitchcock's most famous films, 1963's The Birds, in which she is repeatedly attacked (as are many others) by feral birds in this Nature-gone-wild horror/suspense film.

DAN: For you, I've boiled it down to "Jammo, Jammo" by Giuseppe Verdi or "Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum."
See "Huh?" for an explanation on "Jammo, Jammo."
"Yo Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum," is not a famous pirate song, but lyrics to a 1901 Broadway musical, inspired by quatrain in Stevenson's Treasure Island. The song is also known as "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest."

DAN: Hey Dana? I notice you've got a birthday coming up, and was wondering how you feel about "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers"?
"Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" was written by James Bland. It was a parody of a spiritual sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. The parody eventually became more popular and overshadowed the original song.

DAN: They were fine Mallomars, but you could've had the Spice Girls serve me the Mallomars in hot pants and I still say you owe me money.
Mallomars are produced seasonally by Nabisco. It is a circle Graham cracker, topped with a puff of extruded marshmallow, and then covered in dark chocolate.
The Spice Girls are an English female pop group, formed in the mid-1990s. Their popularity and media success made them an icon of the '90s.

DAN: "Frére Jacques" for you on your birthday next year.
"Frére Jacques" has many possible origins, and there are many different versions of the song.

CASEY: Saturday the 2nd, Aztec Two-Step at the Bottom Line with Gordon. "Sunday the 10th, Turandot at Lincoln Center with Gordon." I'm assuming, although your modifier was dangling, that you were going with Gordon to see Turandot, and that you weren't going to see Gordon in Turandot.
Aztec Two-Step is an American folk-rock band, who started performing in 1971.
Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini.

Mary Pat Shelby
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 5; 1- 5  Prod. Num.: N-305  First Air Date: Oct. 20, 1998 

Episode Summary
Mary Pat Shelby

Isaac and Dana are excited to be getting a notorious football player, Christian Patrick live in the studio on the show. The staff not when Patricks's lawyers force them to not mention the ex-girlfriend he badly abused, Mary Pat Shelby.

When Natalie goes to pre-interview him, he assaults her by exposing himself and grabbing her arm.

Dana struggles with how she should handle the situation, then makes the difficult decision of breaking the story. After realizing that she has done a "big thing badly," Dana dumps Patrick from the show.

Natalie is worried that the incident will mark her for the rest of her career. After initially trying to be heroically silent, Natalie decides to press charges.

Also, Dan wrestles with whether or not to get a goatee and Dana realizes her absence of a sense of humor.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin and Tracey Stern

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Ray Wise (as Bill Evans)
Jon Simmons (as David Burke)
Brad Henke (as Christian Patrick)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Natalie says she has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

Natalie started at CSC as a summer intern.

Notes:
This is the first episode without a laugh track.

"Huh?"
In the episode, when Jeremy notices the mark on Natalie's arm, he says his sister had once given him a similar mark when she gave him an Indian Burn. He said he didn't know why she had done it and, later, that he should call her and ask. However, in a later episode ("Dear Louise..."), Jeremy tells everyone his sister is deaf, and that they only communicate by mail, making a phone call impossible.

Aaron Sorkin said, "It was a mistake. Even as I was writing 'Dear Louise,' I wondered if anyone was gonna catch it. I'm pleased someone did."

Note: In actuality, there are a number of mechanisms in place for the deaf to receive phone calls, and they have steadily advanced with time. At the time of the show, it was possible to call someone, and have a hearing person type the interaction (and read the response if the deaf person did not speak), using systems called TDD and TRS. These systems now can go so far as to have an operator act as a sign-language relay-translator (using webcams and a broadband connection) for a deaf individual. These systems are free, and are paid for via the Universal Access Charge tacked onto everyone's phone bill.




Allusions:
DANA: ...You do what I'm telling you, and your client stays off "America's Most Wanted"
"America's Most Wanted" can be related to 2 things:
  the Most Wanted List posting the top 10 criminals wanted by the FBI.
  the television program looking at open criminal cases and asking the public's help to catch the alleged perpetrator.

NATALIE: We all remember a Boston Globe reporter who was strong, Danny. There isn't a female sports journalist that didn't learn their lesson from it. She had death threats. The FBI had to open her mail.
In 1990, Lisa Olson, a sportswriter for The Boston Herald, expressed allegations of sexual harassment by five New England Patriots players in the locker room. After an investigation, the National Football League fined the players involved and the team. The Commissioner also wrote a letter to the team saying that the team's actions or lack thereof had "damaged" the league.
News Corporation, the Herald's then owner, offered to transfer her, and she transferred to Australia. She returned to the U.S. in 1998.

The Head Coach, Dinner, and the Morning Mail
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 6; 1- 6  Prod. Num.: N-306  First Air Date: Oct. 27, 1998 

Episode Summary
Coach, Dinner, and Mail

Natalie goes through with pressing charges. She finds it hard to focus when she becomes the target of the media and hate mail ("Morning Mail") from sports fans. Natalie loses a tape, can't remember what is wrong inside the studio, and forgets to add a change into the TelePrompTer.

Jeremy can't sleep because he's trying to protect Natalie. Dana recommends to Jeremy that he ask Natalie out to dinner. Jeremy tries to find the perfect place and creates a program to find what might be his only chance to impress her. After seeking Dan's advice, Dan tells Jeremy to take her to a place that he likes. Jeremy ends up making a picnic in the office("Dinner"), but falls into a much needed deep sleep before they can eat.

"The Head Coach" involves Casey's harsh treatment on a coach's bad decision that cost Casey's alma mater a football game. Dan grows tired of Casey not letting go of the game and the coach's decision. Casey calls himself a pundit, while Dan can't stand the sound effects that Casey uses when bashing the coach on-the-air. Casey defends his bashing until Gordon's support on Casey's stance makes him think twice about it.

When Natalie makes a mistake at the end of a show, the crew tells her that "it's all right." This angers Natalie because she wants to be treated like a professional, and she expects to be yelled at when she messes up. Later, Dana tells Natalie to get her act together and do it fast.

When Natalie discovers the picnic Jeremy made for her, she believes he did it out of charity. Jeremy admits he did it because he likes her. Natalie sits with Jeremy as he sleeps.


Production Credits
Written by: Matt Tarses and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Casey's alma mater has never defeated Miami.

Notes:
Robert Guillaume does the voice over, "Previously on Sports Night..."

There is no laugh track in this episode.

According to "Webster's New World Dictionary," pundit means: a person who has or professes to have great learning; actual or self-professed authority.

"Huh?"
NATALIE: Dan! I spoke to building maintenance about the air conditioning, they're sending someone up.
DAN: The air conditioning...
NATALIE: Yeah.
DAN: That's good, ummm, but the problem we're having in the studio is with the heat.

In any modern commercial structure (as well as most domestic facilities), the two, heat and air conditioning, are a part of the same interrelated system, usually known as "HVAC" (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning). Someone sent up to deal with problems in one would be able to deal with the problems in the other. Unless the entire structure is having lack of heat issues, a problem like this most likely would relate to a valve not opening properly to allow the heated ventilation into the area. Dan's concern with the nature of the problem is irrelevant.

Jeremy states that there are more than 14,000 six-letter words which could have been Natalie's password. The actual number of possible passwords is at least 26^6 (the sixth power of 26), which is over 308 million passwords (this assumes that the case of the letters are irrelevant and that numbers and punctuation are disallowed). Presumably, the 14,000 figure represents the number of actual, legitimate six-letter words which she might have used. Usage of actual words for passwords is frowned upon for exactly this reason. Such a password is much, much easier to hack.




Allusions:
Dan is supposed to give the audience a piece of trivia about Troy Aikman for the show's "You Should Know" segment but, when nothing shows up on his teleprompter, he improvises a piece of trivia about Tony Orlando. He claims that Tony Orlando is neither Italian nor Latin, as one might assume, but that he actually hails from Greece. After the show is over, he admits that he was making it up off the top of his head and had no idea if it was true or not.
His "improv" is partially correct. Even though Orlando was born in New York, his parents are of Puerto Rican and Greek descent.

CASEY: Excuse me, but wasn't I sitting next to you for two weeks when you said that Latrell Sprewell shouldn't be allowed to play professional basketball again?
Latrell Sprewell was a talented NBA player who was thrown out of the NBA for a year after a 1997 incident in which he choked, then later threw a punch at, his coach. Subsequent arbitration restored him to league play in 1999.

DANA: You know, Jeremy, Don Quixote was a hero of my father's, and my father would like you, you're a very 'quixotic' character.
Don Quixote, also known as The Man of La Mancha, is the hero of a highly influential and classic tale of Spanish literature by Miguel de Cervantes. The character embodies chivalry and honor, but taken to the extreme of foolishness and madness. The term "quixotic" refers to being foolishly noble or chivalrous, to an extreme, usually self-destructive level. The term "tilting at windmills" derives from Don Quixote, specifically to the title character, in a fugue of hallucinogenic madness, attacking a windmill while imagining it to be a dragon. The Quixote reference is particularly apt with regard to Jeremy, as Quixote's madness is caused, in part, due to excessive reading and sleep deprivation.

Dan: You are in the most magnificent city in the world. It's the city of Gershwin and Cole Porter, Damon Runyun and Fiorello La Guardia.
George Gershwin was one of America's greatest songwriters and gifted composers. The native New Yorker wrote a string of successful Broadway shows and songs.
Cole Porter was one of America's greatest musicians. His lyrics were literate, sophisticated, yet could be charming, suggestive, even naughty. While in New York, he wrote many Broadway shows and hit songs that are still performed today.
Damon Runyon was a newspaperman and writer, best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era.
Fiorello Henry La Guardia was Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945. He led New York's recovery during the Great Depression and became a national figure, serving as President Roosevelt's director of civilian defense during the run-up to the United States joining the Second World War.

Dear Louise...
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 7; 1- 7  Prod. Num.: N-307  First Air Date: Nov. 10, 1998 

Episode Summary
Dear Louise

One evening, after the show, Dan tries to convince Casey to come out with the rest of the staff to "El Perro Fumando." At this bar, if you wear something blue, you can get a giant blue margarita at two dollars off.

Jeremy is invited to join the group, but he wants to write a letter to his sister, Louise, before joining them. Louise, a sophomore at Amherst College, and her brother correspond through mail, and she is interested in learning more about Jeremy's coworkers at "Sports Night."

Jeremy writes about the events of the week, which include:

  • ...the beating of an 80-year-old Negro League baseball player. Isaac knew the player, Archibald "A.K." Russell, who played for Kansas City and was overshadowed by the talents of Jackie Robinson and Sachtel Paige.
  • ...Dan's writer's block. Natalie tried to help him beat it by putting him through "shock therapy" by giving him things that are surprising and unexpected. For instance, Natalie sneaks up and blows an air horn behind Dan, and she throws water in Dan's face not once, not twice, but three times.
  • ...Casey trying to annoy Gordon, but he finds him to be a more formidable sparring partner than he anticipated.
  • ...Isaac is mad because his daughter is dating a successful and overachieving young man, who happens to be a Republican.
  • ...his love for Natalie and him making a picnic for her in the newsroom.

The staff returns from the bar earlier than expected because Dana got them thrown out for dancing wildly.

Natalie decides to take matters into her own hands, and gives Jeremy a couple of things: stamps to mail his letter, and their first kiss


Production Credits
Written by: David Walpert and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)
Jolie Jackunas (as Stacy Kerr)

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Also, in this cleverly written episode, Jeremy reveals the background of some of the characters:
  • Isaac Jaffee, the managing editor, started out as a stringer for the Atlanta Journal, and went on to win the Pulitzer Price for his coverage of the Gemini Mission. He later went on to be the London Bureau Chief for CNN, which he retired from. Until three years ago, Luther Sachs bought Continental Corps and brought him out of retirement to run a new cable sports show. He has a 16-year-old daughter.
  • Dana has six brothers, one of whom plays for the Denver Broncos. She has attended all-girl schools most of her life.
  • Finally, the show has four run-down meetings a day, at noon, 6 P.M., 8 P.M., and 10 P.M. for an 11 P.M. to midnight airing of the show.

Notes:
The laugh track returns in this episode.

This show indirectly alludes to a technique used by the TV show M*A*S*H (usually a letter by Radar, but sometimes others) to perform similar duties -- filling in background and to flesh out characters -- and to make what is probably a fairly easy to write show, since it stitches together vignettes and thus makes plot interactions much easier.

Gaffe:
In the opening scene, Jeremy is writing and the staff is preparing to head to "El Perro Fumando." As Dan leaves his office, he reaches up on the door frame and flicks off the light switch. In previous scenes and future scenes, there is no light switch located there.




Allusions:
DANA: Casey! Gordon's taking me to Gracie Mansion tonight, for a dinner with the mayor.
Gracie Mansion is the official residence of the mayor of New York City. Due to some odd "blue-law" type legal restrictions, several mayors have not been able to live there, due to marital status.

NATALIE: On page 66, halfway down in the NFL injury report, it says, "Collins is expected to miss practice this week, the result of a bulging disk.
DAN: Yeah.
NATALIE: There's a typo on the teleprompter, they left out the "s"
This actually happened to Steve Levy on ESPN's "SportsCenter." Levy wasn't forewarned, however, and read the line, causing co-host Keith Olbermann to begin cracking up on the air.

CASEY: Lola Falana over here got us thrown out of the bar.
Lola Falana was dancing in a nightclub when she was discovered by Sammy Davis, Jr. He gave her a feature role in his 1964 Broadway musical, Golden Boy. That appearance jump-started her career.

CASEY: There's a law against shooting somebody and dumping the body bayside, but you wouldn't think so to listen to Barney Fife.
Barney Fife was a character in the "Andy Griffith Show." The character was a deputy sheriff, who often panicked in benign situations. Even though he was passionate about law enforcement, he was often naive and easily duped.

Thespis
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 8; 1- 8  Prod. Num.: N-309  First Air Date: Nov. 17, 1998 

Episode Summary
Thespis

November 23rd marks the birthday of Thespis, the Greek God of Theater. A legend states that on his birthday, he has been known to haunt live productions, and for the first half-hour of it, Sports Night is targeted. The date is also the 5-year anniversary of Dan and Casey's first broadcast together, and Dan can't figure out why Casey isn't more enthusiastic. After speaking with Isaac, Casey makes amends with Dan by telling him that he was offered another job, but he turned it down to work with Dan.

Dana is nervous because her family, particularly her mother, is coming to New York for Thanksgiving. She practices thawing her frozen turkey on the light grid of the show.

Thespis wreaks havoc during the show: on-air flubs, broadcasting mishaps, and Dana's frozen turkey falling from the light grid.

Once they made it to the thirty-minute mark of the show, Thespis finally "left the building."

Also, this episode gives away more details about the characters. Besides the 16-year-old daughter described in "Dear Louise," Isaac has an older daughter Cathy, who is married to Douglas, a radar officer in the navy. They live in San Francisco. When Isaac's wife goes to visit Cathy, she goes into premature labor. In the end, Isaac's grandson is born, and mother and son are fine.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Russell Andrews (as Matt McGregor)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Dan and Casey first broadcast together was at Dallas-based Lone Star Sports.

Dana states she is 33.

Notes:
Just to make sure, Thespis isn't made up, here is what Grolier's had to say about it:
"Thespis (thes'-pis) - Thespis (fl. 6th century BC) was an Attic poet traditionally regarded as the founder of Greek tragedy. Hardly anything is known of him, but he is believed to have introduced the role of an actor--the responder--separate from those of the chorus and chorus leader, which modified dithyrambic performance (exchanges between chorus and leader) by instituting spoken dialogue and thus inventing the drama. The word thespian (actor) is derived from his name."



Allusions:
In this episode we find out that Casey allegedly passed on hosting what would have become "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," a situation that would have triggered the beginning of the end for his marriage.
This follows the same parallel as another ESPN "SportsCenter" anchor, Craig Kilborn. After he left ESPN, he went on to host CBS's "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn."

CHRIS (to WILL): "Andruw Jones" is spelled with a "u."
WILL: And Cris Collinsworth doesn't have an "h."
Andruw and Cris have had very successful careers. Andruw Jones has been a five-time Major League Baseball All-Star, and has won ten Gold Glove Awards for his outstanding fielding in the outfield. Cris Collinsworth was a college All-American wide receiver at Florida and made the National Football League's Pro Bowl 3 times during his 8-year professional career. After retiring, Collinsworth has been in broadcasting, and has won five Sports Emmy Awards.

CASEY: Alberto Salazar wins his fourth New York Marathon.
DAN: No.
CASEY: Alberto Salazar wins his third New York Marathon.
DAN (upset): Casey, you're not--
CASEY: Does it have anything to do with Alberto Salazar or the New York Marathon?
DAN: No.
CASEY: Let me take one more stab at it.
DAN: Go.
CASEY: Alberto Salazar wins his second New York Marathon.
Alberto Salazar is an American marathon runner, who set collegiate and post-collegiate records and won many races. The height of his career was between 1978 and 1982, and he won three-consecutive New York City Marathons (1980-82), setting course records in 1980 and 1981.

DAN: You recited the St. Crispin's Day speech from the lobby of the St. Paul Radisson.
The St. Crispin's Day speech was given by the eponymous king in Shakespeare's Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt:
  This day is called the Feast of Crispian:
  He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
  Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named,
  And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
  He that shall see this day and live t'old age,
  Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
  And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":
  Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars
  And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
  Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
  But he'll remember with advantages
  What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
  Familiar in his mouth as household words
  Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
  Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
  Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
  This story shall the good man teach his son;
  And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
  From this day to the ending of the world,
  But we in it shall be remembered;
  We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
  For he today that sheds his blood with me
  Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
  This day shall gentle his condition:
  And gentlemen in England now abed
  Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
  And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
  That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

DANA: She's hoping to make a good impression on her mother. But that's not why she was bleeding. Did they say anything to you about something called placenta previa?
ISAAC: That's what it is.
Placenta previa is a complication of pregnancy in which the placenta grows in the lowest part of the womb (uterus) and covers all or part of the cervix. It occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies, the outcome is excellent when the condition is managed properly. This means hospitalizing a mother who is having symptoms, and delivering by C-section.

DAN (to CASEY): Just answer me this.
CASEY: What are you, the Riddler?
"Riddle me this" is a phrase used by one of Batman's villains, The Riddler. The Riddler just couldn't kill his victims when he had the upper hand. He would put them in a life-or-death situation by giving them a riddle to answer. A correct answer would mean the victim would live.

DANA: How am I bothering Thespis? What have I done? What have I done to this ghost, who, by the way, no one has ever heard of but you. What have I done that he should choose, like Jacob Marley, to spend an entire night in the studio just slapping us around?
Jacob Marley is a ghost that appears in "A Christmas Carol." A former partner of Ebenezer Scrooge, his spirit was condemned to walk the Earth for all eternity.

DANA: For a guy who's read The Hobbit fourteen times, you're not so dumb.
"The Hobbit" is a fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It follows the quest of Bilbo Baggins to win his share of the treasure guarded by Smaug, a dragon.

The Quality of Mercy at 29K
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 9; 1- 9  Prod. Num.: N-308  First Air Date: Dec. 1, 1998 

Episode Summary
Quality of Mercy at 29K

The network is covering some climbers, Desmond Corey and his team, ascending Mt. Everest.

Dan is trying to find a worthy charity to which to donate money. Natalie advises Dan that it doesn't matter what he does because there is no end to what humans can do, so the only important thing it to get in the game.

Natalie and Jeremy admit their feelings for each other and decide to become a couple. Although they decide to keep their relationship completely out of work, they're already having trouble. Jeremy confesses to Casey that he's in love with Natalie and the Everest attempt is seen as a metaphor for of what human beings are capable.

A skeptical Dana goes with her niece to see "The Lion King," and discovers a love for the theater that she never knew she had. Casey is teased for his assertion that he is a climber with the spirit of the hill.

The crew stays late with ongoing coverage of the ascent, and everyone is starving because no restaurants will deliver because a water main is broken outside the office and the kitchen in the building is being exterminated. Dan remembers that he has a half a turkey sandwich inside his office, and he goes to get it.

Dan is given an opportunity to get into the game, when he encounters a homeless man in his office. Dan decides to give him the half a turkey sandwich, but the man surprises him by giving him half of the sandwich back. Together, he and Dan eat their sandwiches and watch the climbers reach the summit and stand on the top of the world.


Production Credits
Written by: Bill Wrubel and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
James Edson (as Mike)
Tawny Moyer (as Libby)
Felton Perry (as Man)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
The title is never spoken during the show, and the closest reference is when Jeremy waxes poetic over the height of Mount Everest, which is, of course, 29,035 feet.

Isaac mentions leaving his 1.5 acre property in New Canaan, CT, and coming to work in a 54 story glass high rise. Although the show constantly depicts the twin towers of the late World Trade Center for exterior atmosphere, this indicates it's not actually in the towers themselves, as might be otherwise assumed.


Notes:
Part of this episode deals with Dana going to see the play "The Lion King." Robert Guillaume did the voice of the baboon, Rafiki, in the animated Disney version.


"Huh?"
The show states that Mt. Everest is 29,029 feet high. Mt Everest happens to be 29,035 feet high. The show wasn't really in error, they found out in 1999, after the episode was made, that it was six feet higher.

Gaffe:
ABC mistakenly labeled this episode as, "The Quality of Mercury at 29K. Many other publications and websites have continued to post this error.




Allusions:
CASEY: Please tell me you have Milk Duds in your purse.
Milk Duds are a round, chocolate-covered soft carmel candy, made by Hershey's.

DANA: You find the ones without the hoe-downs.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, a hoe-down is a lively, rollicking dance, often a square dance.

Shoe Money Tonight
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 10; 1-10  Prod. Num.: N-310  First Air Date: Dec. 8, 1998 

Episode Summary
Shoe Money Tonight

Dan is elated that he is "in the zone," especially since he and Casey are headed to Atlantic City after their broadcast to do some gambling. Then they learn the anchors of the 2 A.M. West Coast Update are stuck in snowy Pittsburgh and they have to cover the show. So, to pass the time, the guys challenge the rest of the staff to a poker tournament.

Dana teases Isaac about his revelation that he is shrinking, and her invocation of the phrase, "shoe money tonight," bugs everyone.

Natalie is angry with Jeremy because he skipped an outing with her to go play tennis with an old friend, who happens to be a famous actress. This causes them to be extremely competitive during the tournament.

Jeremy privately seeks out Dan's help in the situation, and Dan advises him to stand firm with Natalie. Despite Jeremy's victory in the tournament, Natalie gets the upper hand in the end.

Casey blindly approves a rundown from the 2 A.M. producer, Sally, without consulting Dana. That makes Dana feel very angry and unappreciated. Dana and Sally have words when Sally writes the rundown in a way Casey won't like. Upon learning the rundown, Casey begs Dana to fix things.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Dennie Gordon

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Jeremy's reasoning as to why Natalie can't have a full house is flawed. He mentions how she has 3 7's, but Dan folded one of the 6's she needed and he had the other one. But of course there are many ways to have a full house. In addition to the 7's, any pair would do, not just 6's.

In the final scene, Dana deals Casey the 10 of hearts, also known as the Dave of love.

Notes:
Many people said the series, "Sports Night" was ahead of its time, and there are two examples in this episode that could be considered ahead of their time.

  • The episode revolves around the game of poker, which was ahead of the surge in popularity in televised poker tournaments.
  • Showing how "cool" Dan is, when Jeremy pulls him away and they go to Dan's shared office to talk, Dan breaks out a pair of Red Bulls for them... this would be 1998, somewhat before Red Bull became known outside of colleges.

The name, "Shoe Money Tonight," later became the name of Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme's production company.
"Huh?"
Natalie mentions she was taught how to play poker by "the guys at Sigma Kappa Pi."

It is not known if the reference to Sigma Kappa Pi was to the real fraternity or a fictional fraternity. The real Sigma Kappa Pi doesn't have a chapter at Northwestern University, the school where Natalie received her journalism degree (as revealed in "Mary Pat Shelby.").




Allusions:
JEREMY: I never said I was opening for Jack Benny.
NATALIE: You meant Henny Youngman.
JEREMY: I meant Jack Benny.
NATALIE: Jack Benny plays the clarinet.
JEREMY: Jack Benny plays the violin. For that matter, so does Henny Youngman. But you're thinking of Benny Goodman.
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film. He is famous for his comedic timing and his radio and television programs. He had a love of music and playing the violin, and he said that if he could choose, he'd be a famous violin player instead of a famous comedian.
Henny Youngman was a British-born American comedian and violinist famous for "one-liners," his most famous being, "Take my wife- please." Henny was renowned for having worked almost every day for over 45 years without vacations or other breaks.
Benny Goodman was an American jazz musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as "King of Swing", "Patriarch of the Clarinet", "The Professor", and "Swing's Senior Statesman". Many say he was just as successful as Elvis Presley, both bringing black music to a young, white audience.

NATALIE: Thank you, Siskel & Ebert!
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert hosted a program in which they reviewed recently released movies. They approved or disapproved movies with their trademark, "thumbs up / thumbs down," as a bottom-line recommendation.

NATALIE: I was taught to play poker by the guys at Sigma Kappa Pi.
The Sigma Kappa Pi Fraternity is a nationalist, service-oriented fraternity, seeking to bring down the walls of exclusivity surrounding fraternities and be one with the masses in order to serve them better. See "Huh?" for more information.

The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 11; 1-11  Prod. Num.: N-311  First Air Date: Dec. 15, 1998 

Episode Summary
Six Southern Gentlemen

An African-American football player at Tennessee Western refuses to play where the Confederate flag is hung. The player is joined by six of his teammates, and all are suspended from the team and lose their scholarships.

Luther Sachs, a Tennessee Western alumnus and owner of Continental Corp, asks Isaac to put together a feature on Southern gentlemen, tradition, culture, and history. Isaac asks Dan to put together the feature, and Dan tells Isaac that he needs to stand up to Luther and they will stand with Isaac, just as the teammates at Tennessee Western have stood behind their star football player.

Dan accuses Casey of not knowing the people with whom he works in putting together the show. Dan reminds him that everybody works together as a team. Casey makes an appearance on "The View," and he takes full credit for his television wardrobe. Another staffer approaches Casey and reminds him that it is Maureen that dresses him for his on-air appearances and that it would have been wonderful if Casey had given Maureen credit.

The "Sports Night" team debates what should be aired as "Play of the Year."

At the last-minute, Isaac decides to do an on-air editorial. He supports the suspended players from Tennessee Western, Roland Shepard and the "six southern gentlemen" who chose not to let him stand alone. The editorial leaves Dana speechless and makes Jeremy call it the "Play of the Year."

Dan and Casey then take a minute to recognize the support staff of "Sports Night" and wish everybody a merry Christmas.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin and Matt Tarses & David Walpert & Bill Wrubel

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Janel Moloney (as Monica Brazelton)
Joy Behar (as herself)
Star Jones (as herself)
Debbie Matenopoulos (as herself)
Meredith Viera (as herself)
Doyle Holman (as Roland Shepard)

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
The supporting staffers mentioned throughout this episode are the actual names of people involved with the production of the series:

Notes:
Aaron Sorkin, Matt Tarses, David Walpert, and Bill Wrubel Won the Humanitas Prize in the 30-Minute Category for their work on this episode.

"The View" airs on ABC, which also aired "Sports Night."
"Huh?"
It seems odd that Tennessee Western University would be in Chattanooga, as the city of Chattanooga is in the far southeastern part of the state.

In this episode they list the show's website as "csc/sportsnight.com" which is, of course, not a possible web address, as slashes are not allowed where shown.

The segment was called, "Play of the Year," but most of the examples given by the staff could possibly fit better under the title, "Player of the Year."

Gaffe:
Other publications, websites, and the original DVD release mistakenly title this episode, "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee Tech"




Allusions:
DAN: Who's the other guy?
CASEY: It's Wolfgang Puck! You want a piece of me?!
Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian celebrity chef, restaurateur, and businessman. Following the publication of his first cookbook, he opened Spago. His success has made him a celebrity, and he is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball.

ISAAC: He's a Southerner.
DAN: Luther Sachs is German.
ISAAC: He's a Southerner for three generations.
DAN: Faulkner was a Southerner.
ISAAC: Faulkner was a Southern gentleman.
DAN: There's a difference?
ISAAC: The difference, Danny, is all the difference.
William Faulkner was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century and was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. Most of his stories are based in his native home of Mississippi.

Smoky
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 12; 1-12  Prod. Num.: N-313  First Air Date: Jan. 5, 1999 

Episode Summary
Smoky

Thanks to Isaac's conversation with Dana about grooming her to eventually take over for him, the rumor is spreading that Isaac's ready to retire. Everyone begins jockeying for their position up on the ladder, even though Isaac has no intentions of leaving right now.

Dan decides it's time for Casey to start dating. Dan becomes upset when Sally attempts to flirt with an unwitting Casey.

Casey asks Dana for advice on flirting, and she challenges Casey to flirt with her. After several false starts, Casey tells Dana that she is "smoky," a compliment that stops Dana in her tracks.

Natalie tries to have "phone sex" with Jeremy, and Jeremy proves to be clueless.

Sally tries to jockey for Dana's position on "Sports Night," upon hearing that Dana will be taking Isaac's position when he leaves. After Kim and Elliott approach Isaac about possible promotions, Isaac puts his foot down and lets everybody know he isn't quitting or being fired.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Casey met Lisa when he was 19, and the two married when he was 23.

Sally has been the executive producer of "West Coast Update" for 16 months.

Dana states she's known Casey for 15 years.

Notes:
Some publications and websites mistakenly misspell the title of this episode as: Smokey.



Allusions:
CASEY: You think she wants a job on Sports Night?
DAN: No, I think she wants to rule all of Metropolis.
Metropolis is a reference to Superman. It's the large city, similar to New York City, Clark Kent goes to work at The Daily Planet.

DAN: On the entire planet, have you ever seen anyone with eyes like that? She's a Stepford Producer.
CASEY: I say she's a very nice person.
DAN: I say she has no reflection.
"Stepford Producer" is a reference to "Stepford Wives" and how it has been worked into the English language. In this case, Dan is claiming Sally blindly conforms to whatever the network wants.
"I say she has no reflection" is a reference to the legend of vampires, who are said to have no reflection.

CASEY: I'm not thinking about Sally.
DAN: This is science fiction. I'm all alone on this. I stand completely alone. Sally is an alien, do you understand me? At night she peels her body off and lives on Steve Guttenberg's boat.
This is reference to Ron Howard's production of "Cocoon." The alien life forms, Antereans, returned to Earth and posed as humans. Steve Guttenberg played a ship captain, finding the alien cocoons on the bottom of the ocean floor.

DAN: You could be having sex with Yoko Ono right now.
Yoko Ono is a singer and performance artist that was once married to John Lennon of The Beatles. Many Beatles fans attribute their breakup to her, although that was likely only a contributing factor.

DAN: The ACC was the place to be in college hoops last night and we'll take you to the Dean Dome after a quick stop in the Land of Lincoln. You're watching Sports Night on CSC, so stick around.
The Dean Dome is reference to the University of North Carolina's Dean Smith Dome, where the college basketball team plays their home games. The Land of Lincoln is reference to Illinois.

Small Town
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 13; 1-13  Prod. Num.: N-314  First Air Date: Jan. 12, 1999 

Episode Summary
Small Town

It's Dana and Casey's night off, and neither wants to take it due to their decision to double date; Dana with Gordon, and Casey with Lisa, a lawyer who's on a blind date.

Natalie is left to produce the show for the first time, and has to handle an eleventh-hour trade, which in its chaos, her authority is questioned by Isaac and Jeremy.

Casey's replacement is Bobbi Bernstein, a psychotic woman who thinks that Dan slept with her in Spain. Dan says she's crazy because she accuses Dan of never calling her back.

Meanwhile, things aren't going quite so smoothly on the double date as both Dana and Casey have trouble relaxing knowing that it's Natalie's first solo show and a potential blockbuster baseball trade is rumored. A drunken Dana is particularly worried about Natalie's small town upbringing.

When the big story of the trade breaks, Natalie gets the exclusive for "Sports Night," proving without a doubt that she can handle the show. Everyone (including Jeremy, most of all) is impressed with her performance.


Production Credits
Written by: Paul Redford and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Lisa Edelstein (as Bobbi Bernstein)
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)
Brett Barrett (as Waiter)
Alicia Coppola (as Leesa)
Amy Powell (as Kelly Kirkpatrick)
Lisa Welti (as Redhead)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
The original script called for John Mellencamp's song, "Small Town" to be used in this episode. Unfortunately, the production company and network were unable to secure the rights to use this song in the episode.

Notes:
Janet Ashikaga won a 1999 Emmy Award for Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series for her work on this episode.

Thomas Schlamme, Bruce Chevillat, Keri McIntyre, and Nicole Burke won the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series based on this episode. The award was given by the Directors' Guild of America.

Janet Ashikaga received a nomination for Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television for her work on this episode. The nomination was given by the American Cinema Editors.

Series creator Aaron Sorkin appears in this episode. When Dana and Casey sit at the bar a watch the confirmation of the trade, next to them is Sorkin, smoking and with a drink.

"Huh?"
Even though she is credited as guest-starring in the episode, Lisa Welti doesn't appear in the edited episode.




Allusions:
NATALIE: What can we cut?
DAN: Formula 1.
NATALIE: That's good film. Let's bump Oksana Baiul.
DAN: Oksana Baiul?
NATALIE: Lose it.
DAN: The Ukranian Jewel, Oksana Baiul?
NATALIE: Yes.
Figure skater Oksana Baiul won the World Championships in 1993 and won the Gold Medal in the 1994 Winter Games. She turned professional after winning the gold medal.

CASEY: Hey, what do you know about the fennel salad here?
GORDON: What do you need to know?
CASEY: Well, like for instance... what's fennel?
Fennel is a tall herb with feathery leaves and yellow flowers. Its foliage and seeds are used to flavor foods and medicines.

NATALIE: What'd you think I was around here, Jeremy, some gal Friday?
The name Friday comes from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, whose shipwrecked hero named the young native who became his faithful companion for the day of the week when he found him.
Today, it is referred to a woman secretary or clerk who works for a man. It is considered to be condescending to a woman.

Rebecca
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 14; 1-14  Prod. Num.: N-315  First Air Date: Jan. 26, 1999 

Episode Summary
Rebecca

Rumors spread about Isaac's job status when the Wall Street Journal reports the recent trouble between Luther Sachs and Sports Night. Everyone is upset by the article, and Isaac tells J.J. that the article isn't good for him, CSC, and Luther Sachs. J.J. begs Isaac to let him forward messages to Luther instead of Isaac doing it himself. This leads Isaac to realize that J.J. is the only one to gain if there is turmoil between the show and company. Maybe J.J. is starting trouble?

Dana is nervous that Gordon is going to dump her because she is so preoccupied with work. Natalie tells Dana to get advice from Casey, which she does. After receiving the advice, Dana feels much better.

Dan explains to Casey that he met a woman in the elevator, who Natalie says she liked him and is expecting him to call and ask her out. Dan says he hasn't called the woman in the elevator, Rebecca, because he has been dating somebody else. He feels the right thing to do is to do down and apologize and explain everything to Rebecca.

When Dan goes to speak to Rebecca, she has absolutely no idea who he is. Furthermore - much to Dan's surprise - she has no interest in him whatsoever, which makes Dan extremely interested in her. All his efforts to be charming are to no avail as she turns down his request for a date not once but twice.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Robert Mailhouse (as J.J.)
Katie O'Rourke (as Judith)

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Dana admits she likes Zambonis.

Notes:
Around the time of this episode's initial airing, actor Robert Guillaume was hospitalized. It was not said if he was leaving or staying with the show. The decision at the time said he would most likely be written out until he has recovered. Here's what PEOPLE Online Daily said on January 20, 1999:
  • HOSPITALIZED: "Benson" star Robert Guillaume, 71, by a "slight" stroke, reports Variety. The actor was stricken last Thursday while in his dressing room on the set of the new TV comedy "Sports Night" and is now in hospital rehab.
    "I'm doing pretty good," the actor told Variety's Army Archerd. "I'm moving in the right track."





Allusions:
DAN: What are you, Agatha Christie?
Agatha Christie is a famed novelist, who is known for her crime stories.

DANA: Do you think I'm weird?
CASEY: In so many different ways.
DANA: Because I like Zambonis?
A Zamboni is a federally and internationally registered trademark for an ice resurfacer. It is a truck-like vehicle used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice rink, originally developed by Frank J. Zamboni in 1949.

Dana and the Deep Blue Sea
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 15; 1-15  Prod. Num.: N-316  First Air Date: Feb. 9, 1999 

Episode Summary
Deep Blue Sea

Dan is frustrated that his seventeen attempts to get Rebecca to go out with him have been to no avail, and the distraction causes him to make a hideous blunder on the air. Dan asks Casey to help him get with Rebecca. When Casey refuses, Dan tries to recruit Jeremy in his efforts to be "more than friends" with Rebecca. Jeremy to pleads Dan's case to Rebecca, and Jeremy finds out that she used to be married to a sportscaster. Dan goes to talk to Rebecca again, but this time, instead of another no to his request for a date, Rebecca gives Dan a glimmer of hope... and he seizes the opportunity.

Dana agrees to go snorkeling with Gordon, even though she's afraid of fish, in an attempt to keep the relationship going. After Gordon cancels the snorkeling trip, Natalie, thinking that Gordon is about to dump Dana, convinces Casey to go be there for her. Casey does, only to find out that things are good again between Dana and Gordon once Gordon schedules a skiing trip.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Josephine Barnsdale (as Woman)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Dana's fear of fish is a subject of comment. The technical term for this is ichthyophobia.

The "Sports Night" studio is on the 49th floor.

Notes:
The opening scene of this episode actually originates on the ABC sitcom, Spin City. That evening, Spin City aired before Sports Night, so it provided a smooth transition between the two shows.
At the end of the Spin City episode, "Internal Affairs," Michael J. Fox's character turns on the television and changes the channel to CSC and "Sports Night." Casey talks about Wayne Gretzky scoring a hat trick (three goals) in a game.





Allusions:
DAN: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah... zip-a-dee-ay... my, oh my, what a wonderful day... plenty of sunshine, plenty of hay...
CASEY: Uh, it's not "plenty of hay." It's "plenty of sunshine headin' my way."
DAN: That makes more sense.
"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is a song from the Disney 1946 live action and animated movie Song of the South, sung by James Baskett. The music was written by Allie Wrubel, the lyrics by Ray Gilbert and was published in 1946. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
For many years the song was part of an opening theme medley for the Wonderful World of Disney television program.

Sally
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 16; 1-16  Prod. Num.: N-312  First Air Date: Feb. 23, 1999 

Episode Summary
Sally

When Casey has a one-night stand and does not tell anyone, Dan prods him for details. Dan presses for details when he learns Casey left his favorite shirt at her place. Casey refuses to reveal the woman's identity until Sally comes in and not so subtly reveals that she was the woman in question. After learning Casey slept with Sally, Dan questions Casey's judgment.

Jewish Jeremy, panics when he is set to visit Natalie's parents for a Catholic holiday, he knows nothing of. He also stresses about drinking eggnog.

After Gordon cancels a date with Dana, she questions the status and future of their relationship.

Gordon comes by to see Dana and Casey reacts strangely upon seeing him. When Dana goes to take care of some details for the show, Casey confronts Gordon with the fact that Gordon is wearing Casey's shirt, which he left at Sally's. Casey figures that Gordon must have put it on after sleeping with Sally himself. Casey warns Gordon not to take his friendship with Dana for granted.


Production Credits
Written by: Rachel Sweet and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)


Trivia and Other Notes
Notes:
When Comedy Central aired "Sports Night," they aired it in order of the production numbers. Because of that, this episode aired between "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee" (episode 1-11) and "Smoky" (episode 1-12).





Allusions:
JEREMY: ...Number-1: Is it too early in our relationship for me to be spending three days at her parents'? I mean, it's not like I'm Pacino going back to Corleone and bringing gifts to Apollonia's family.
This is a reference to a scene in The Godfather. Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) immediately fell in love with and married Apollonia while he was in exile in Sicily.

CASEY: How was it last night?
DANA: Great. It was great. Dinner at Rainbow and Stars, dessert at Café Luxembourg, then we stayed up all night and we laaauuughed.
Rainbow and Stars is the elegant cabaret adjacent to the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center.
Café Luxembourg is a French bistro on the Upper West Side of New York City.

NATALIE: Aren't we supposed to be featuring the box-and-one?
DANA: Yes.
NATALIE: Well we can probably find a better example of a box-and-one.
The "box-and-one" is a type of defense used in basketball. One defensive player guards one offensive player one-on-one, while the other four defensive players play a zone defense, with each player taking a quadrant.

DANA: "Not the cut of my jib." I've never said that before.
NATALIE: It sounded good.
"Cut of my jib," in this case, refers to a behavior or attitude.

NATALIE: Then thank you, William Safire.
William Safire was a longtime syndicated political columnist for The New York Times and a regular contributor to "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics.

JEREMY: Can any of you tell me anything about the Host wafer?
In the Eucharist in mass, believers take the blessed wine ("blood of Christ") and host wafer ("body of Christ") to be one with God.

How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 17; 1-17  Prod. Num.: N-317  First Air Date: Mar. 9, 1999 

Episode Summary
Glocca Morra

A televised tennis match plays longer than the network anticipated, and it delays the start of "Sports Night." Dana is dismayed that the start of the show has to be held, and she had plans to meet Gordon's friends at a restaurant just after midnight.

During the delay, Jeremy writes a letter to his sister, Louise. Other staffers play garbage-can basketball, a game Dana dominates.

Dan's charms are beginning to work on Rebecca, but she intercepts a call from Elaine, the woman with whom Dan was to have broken things off.

Casey finally confesses to Dan what has been bothering him, and he tells Dan that he figured Gordon had been sleeping with Sally since he caught Gordon wearing Casey's missing shirt.

As the tennis match drags on, Dana tries to reach Gordon to cancel, but her call is too late. Gordon arrives and is upset that the show hasn't started and Dana is sticking with it. Gordon calls into question Dana's commitment, and fearing being dumped by Gordon, Dana dumps the show to Sally. Dana's decision surprises everyone, but it shocks Casey most of all.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Marc Buckland

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)
Suzanne Kellogg (as Alyson)

Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Jeremy's sister, Louise, is named after their grandmother.

Dana's maternal grandmother's name was Alice; her paternal grandmother's name was Penelope.

In the video clips of the tennis match, Pete Samparas is playing Alberto Fedrigotti. "Fedrigotti" is actually professional tennis player Paul Goldstein.

Notes:
Felicity Huffman does the voice-over for "Previously on Sports Night..."

This is the first episode in which Robert Guillaume doesn't appear.
In the original script for this episode, Isaac can't remember the lyrics to "How Are Things in Glocca Morra." Due to Robert Guillaume's slight stroke, he was unable to participate in the series. Several of the scenes removed from the original script appeared in other episodes.

In the original script, Jeremy asks Isaac for some time off. Jeremy's parents are going through trouble, and he would like to go back home. Unfortunately, this scene was dropped and the storyline was picked up in the next episode, "The Sword of Orion."

The title, "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?", also a song from the musical Finian's Rainbow, turns up again in the second season ("Celebrities") when Isaac cannot recall its origin.




Allusions:
Dan talks about being in "show-mode."
Many athletes have been known to isolate themselves and don't want to be bothered as they focus on the task or athletic event in which they are about to participate.
The Sword of Orion
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 18; 1-18  Prod. Num.: N-318  First Air Date: Mar. 23, 1999 

Episode Summary
Sword of Orion

Jeremy returns from a visit home with an obsessive desire to do a feature on a boat, Sword of Orion, which was the favorite to win the Governor's Cup ten years ago until it veered off course and ran into a storm. Natalie is worried about Jeremy's strange behavior and he finally tells her that he found out that his parents are getting divorced because his father has been having an affair for 27 years. The Sword of Orion serves as a metaphor for his parents' marriage.

Dana is often unhappy with the work of the people in graphics.

Dan tries to convince Rebecca to watch with him an Orioles game, in which long-sidelined pitcher Orlando Rojas will make his return, but she doesn't want to share a sports experience with him. Dan spends the entire day trying to sell Rebecca on watching the game with him and trying to break through the "wall of pain", as well as making friends with her colleagues. He exerts considerable effort to avoid hearing about the Rojas game before he watches it, and his efforts eventually pay off when Rebecca throws their relationship into high gear.


Production Credits
Written by: David Handelman, Mark McKinney, and Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Josephine Barnsdale (as Celia)
Dennis Hadley (as Stuart)
David Macer (as Phil)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Dan is a Dartmouth graduate.

Dan likes grape jelly.

Casey speaks four languages: French, Spanish, German... and English.

Casey also plays the piano, can cook, and can juggle.

Rebecca is a graduate of the Wharton School.

Notes:
Felicity Huffman does the voice-over for "Previously on Sports Night..."

The "previously on Sports Night..." contains a scene of Jeremy talking to Natalie about taking a couple days off to go home, due to his parent's impending divorce. This explains Jeremy's absence at the start of the show. The scene in question never occurred in the show, however. Instead, the news of his parents impending divorce was revealed during Jeremy's voice-over letter to his sister Louise during the previous episode, "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and the scene, apparently shot but edited, appears only briefly in the teaser.




Allusions:
DAN: Eleven years ago, he pitched a perfect game.
REBECCA: A perfect game?
DAN: Yes, Ma'am.
REBECCA: And a perfect game is good?
A perfect game in baseball is when a pitcher pitches a complete game, faces 27 batters without giving up a hit or walk, and none of them reach base by any other means.

REBECCA: I happen to be a graduate of the Wharton School.
The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania and is the world's first collegiate business school.

NATALIE: There's also, as you can see, a box of Good & Plentys.
Good & Plenty is the oldest branded candy in the United States. It is a capsule-shape of licorice with a hard candy shell.

Eli's Coming
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 19; 1-19  Prod. Num.: N-319  First Air Date: Mar. 30, 1999 

Episode Summary
Elis Coming

It's March Madness in college basketball as "Sports Night" hosts expanded coverage of the Sweet Sixteen one Saturday afternoon. Everyone is excited, but Dan is dismayed to learn that Bobbi Bernstein will be sitting in as the guest analyst, since she still insists he once slept with her and never called her.

Meanwhile, Casey and Dana's bickering escalates because of their issues with Dana dumping the show earlier. They bicker over Dana's plans for welcoming Isaac back.

Dan is rattled when he goes to see Rebecca, and he finds her in her office with her ex, Steve Sisco.

Observing that Isaac and Rebecca are missing from the set and Bobbi is coming, Dan worries that "Eli's Coming." The song is about an inveterate womanizer, but Dan initially misinterpreted the Three Dog Night song as a portent of something dark.

After providing proof of their one-night stand, Dan apologizes to Bobbi. Also, Rebecca informs Dan that she and Steve Sisco aren't divorced, only separated. Steve wants to go to couples counseling, and Dan tells Rebecca that he will support her in any way she chooses.

Casey learns of Isaac's stroke at the airport. He informs Dana and Natalie, and then he tells Dan shortly before returning to air.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Lisa Edelstein (as Bobbi Bernstein)
Suzanne Kellogg (as Alyson)


Trivia and Other Notes
Notes:
This is the episode where Robert Guillaume's slight stroke was written into the series.




Allusions:

BOBBI: Can you read what it says on the towel?
DAN: "Hotel de España"?
BOBBI: Yes.
DAN: The "Hotel de España" is in Spain?
BOBBI: Yes.
The Hotel de España is in San Sebastian, Spain.

Ordnance Tactics
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 20; 1-20  Prod. Num.: N-320  First Air Date: Apr. 6, 1999 

Episode Summary
Ordnance Tactics

When the CSC building receives a bomb threat, the entire "Sports Night" staff, as well as everyone else in the building, spend an eighty minutes on the street. When they are finally allowed back into the building, everyone gets right back to work except Dan and Casey, who believe the bomb squad couldn't have had enough time to find a bomb inside a building that size.

With Isaac in the hospital, the network shows Dana who's boss by having Sally pick up extra responsibilities instead of giving them to Natalie.

Jeremy tries to temporarily break up with Natalie, but she refuses to accept it and announces to everyone that they are still a couple.

Rebecca wants to know why Dan has been avoiding her. Dan says he was using covert ordinance tactics, but she knows Dan is avoiding her because she is considering going back to her husband.

Dan and Casey continue to worry about the bomb threat, learning the threat was called in by someone who didn't like a radio personality's impersonation of Jesus.

Casey continues to see Sally, and when she becomes unglued in the presence of Dan, Casey and Dan realize that they need to confront Natalie and Dana since they have been unnaturally calm over the events during the past week.

When Dana and Natalie are confronted with all the bad events, they claim they are women in charge who have to keep it together.


Production Credits
Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin

Story by: Paul Redford

Directed by: Alex Graves

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)
Robert Mailhouse (as J.J.)
David Macer (as Phil)
Josephine Barnsdale (as Celia)
Dennis Hadley (as Stuart)
Suzanne Kellogg (as Alyson)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
During the episode, Natalie says, "Good News! Pluto isn't being demoted as a planet.
This has since actually happened. As of August 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet.





Allusions:
DAVE: Hey. Betty, Wilma-- is Seattle on the tape?
Betty and Wilma are the wives of Barney and Fred, respectively, on The Flintstones.
Ten Wickets
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 21; 1-21  Prod. Num.: N-321  First Air Date: Apr. 13, 1999 

Episode Summary
Ten Wickets

Jeremy receives word of a great feat that has been accomplished in a cricket game in New Delhi - a man got all ten wickets in one inning - but despite the fact that this appears to be a major news story, no one understands what happened.

Dana has been losing and forgetting things as a result of the stress created from Isaac's stroke and Casey being mad at her.

Casey continue s to obsess over the bomb threat, even though it's been a week, and he is upset that Dan has chosen to move on. In fact, Casey has been making Jerry Falwell jokes on-air because of the church's silence, instead of condemning the bomb threat. Dana tires of the jokes on her show, and she threatens to suspend Casey if he makes one more Falwell joke.

Natalie continues to rebuke Jeremy's attempts to break up with her. Finally, Jeremy "gets over it" and gets back with Natalie. Natalie insists they were never broken up.

Dan tries to mend his relationship with Rebecca, and he bought wine, flowers, and an abacus for when she returns. When Rebecca comes back, she informs Dan that she's going back to her husband.

After a show, Dana and Casey apologize. Dana admits that she shouldn't have threatened to suspend Casey, and Casey admits that he shouldn't question Dana calling the shots. Dana also apologizes for dumping the show and making Casey feel abandoned. After the two make peace, Dana drops the bombshell that Gordon intends to propose marriage to her once he returns from out-of-town.

Dan shares Rebecca's gift of wine with Jeremy, Natalie, and Casey. They make toasts to Chauncey St. John, the cricket player, and Jerry Falwell, whom Casey hopes to blame for all of this. Natalie says she hasn't heard the bell ring on Casey's relationship with Dana, and Dan and Jeremy agree. A new hope fills Casey, and he responds that he's going to need a plan.


Production Credits
Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin

Story by: Matt Tarses

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Teri Polo (as Rebecca Wells)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
DANA: Kim, do you know anything about cricket?
KIM: What's goin' on?
DANA: A guy in New Delhi just did something.
KIM: What?
DANA: Jeremy won't tell us.
JEREMY: I honestly don't know. And I wouldn't have even brought it up except that whatever this guy did it was huge.
NATALIE: What did he do?
JEREMY: He took all ten wickets in an inning.
NATALIE: What does that mean?

In short and simple terms, the bowler recorded all 10 outs in an inning. It may not sound like much to those unfamiliar with the game, but there can be many bowlers in an inning since a bowler tosses 6 balls before being replaced. Most teams will set up a rotation of bowlers to go against the batsmen. Usually, hundreds of balls are tossed before all 10 outs are recorded.

To show how rare taking ten wickets in an inning occurs, it has only happened 13 times in match play since 1960.

Notes:
Felicity Huffman does the voice-over for "Previously on Sports Night..."


Gaffe:
During the final scene, Casey, Dan, Jeremy and Natalie are talking and drinking. Casey is holding two different coffee mugs -- sometimes a Yahoo! branded mug, sometimes a plain white mug.

At the end, you see Dan, Natalie, Jeremy and Casey talking. Casey is standing with the other three around him. Natalie says, "The thing is, with you, Casey, I never heard it." Casey says, "Heard what?" Natalie turns to Dan and asks if he heard it. The camera shot changes and you're looking at Casey and Jeremy from Natalie's point of view. For some reason, Jeremy starts to talk. Although you can't hear it, you can see his lips moving. In fact, he looks exactly the same when he finally does talk a few seconds later.




Allusions:
CASEY: What are you afraid of?
DANA: Offending people.
CASEY: Who? Our legions of viewers who take Jerry Falwell seriously? Charo's got a bigger fan base.
Jerry Falwell was a well-known fundamentalist Baptist minister and televangelist. He also founded Liberty University and the Moral Majority.
Charo is a Spanish and American singer, dancer, comedian, actress and classical guitarist. She is known for her flamboyant stage presence, provocative outfits, and her trademark phrase, "cuchi-cuchi." She made many television appearances, and some say her overexposure damaged her popularity.

CASEY: I know that most people find his calm leadership to be a gentle soothing beacon in a time of great social chaos.  His guidance, for instance, on the great purple Teletubby matter, was fraught with the kind of theological sophistication that only Jerry Falwell and a cafeteria full of sixth graders could devise.
In 1999, Falwell claimed that the Teletubby Tinky Winky was intended as a gay role model. Falwell added, "role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children."
A spokesperson for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment found it "absurd and kind of offensive."

Napoleon's Battle Plan
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 22; 1-22  Prod. Num.: N-322  First Air Date: Apr. 27, 1999 

Episode Summary
Napoleons Battle Plan

A week has passed, and Dan is worried that Casey still has no plan to break up Dana and Gordon. Casey informs Dan that, technically, he has a plan: Napoleon's Battle Plan. The plan is a two-part plan: "we show up, then we see what happens." Dan wants Casey to tell Dana about Gordon sleeping with Sally, but Casey insists on taking the high road. So, Dan takes it upon himself to tell Natalie, who then runs and tells Dana.

Dana is unnaturally calm upon hearing the news, and it is confirmed after Dana receives her engagement ring from Gordon. At first, Gordon blames Casey for telling Dana, but Dana didn't receive the information from Casey. Upon further questioning, Dana learns that also Casey slept with Sally.

Then Dana confronts Sally, who reveals she has been sleeping with Casey for months. Sally tells Dana that Dana isn't angry for Gordon's one-night stand; Dana is angry with Sally for sleeping with Casey.

Dan learns that word has spread about the flings, and Natalie intends to punish him for not sharing the important information he possessed. The punishment consists of Dan and Casey doing the first two blocks of the show without their pants. This is the second time in a week that the guys have to start the show without their pants, with the first time happening when wardrobe was late in getting the pants to them.

Even though Casey appears to be mad at Dan for letting everybody know about the love triangle... rhombus, Casey is secretly happy.

Jeremy worries about people thinking less of him because he can't give blood at the blood drive.


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Robert Berlinger

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)
Brenda Strong (as Sally Sasser)
Suzanne Kellogg (as Alyson)
Darren Foreman (as the Waiter)
Laura Elizabeth Ford (as the Waitress)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
This is not the first time Dan hasn't worn dress pants during the on-show Sports Night broadcast. In the opening scene of the pilot episode, he is seen sitting behind the desk in a pair of shorts.

"Huh?"
Even though she is credited, Laura Elizabeth Ford, doesn't have a spoken line in the edited version of this episode.




Allusions:
CASEY: I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Danny. I have information most people don't have. It's my cross to bear.
Phi Beta Kappa is considered by many the most prestigious honor society for arts and science undergraduates. They have houses in such places as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League Colleges.

DANA: Cut the crap, Sally. This isn't a Noel Coward play.
Dana is trying to stop a fast-paced squabble filled with wit and elegance, which are signature marks of Coward's play.
Noel Coward is a famous English playwright.

What Kind of Day Has It Been
Prod. Credits

Trivia & More
  Episode: 23; 1-23  Prod. Num.: N-323  First Air Date: May 4, 1999 

Episode Summary
What Kind of Day

Casey worries about his son Charlie's behavior of late, a strange formality which seems unnatural for a nine year old, and wants Dan to make a big deal over Charlie's recently emerged baseball skills when he comes to visit. When Charlie visits, Dan gets him to admit that he made up the story of his sudden baseball success. Upon learning the truth, Casey and Charlie have a private talk. Casey learns that Charlie lied because he doesn't want to embarrass him. Casey responds that his son will never embarrass him; all he has to do to make he and his mom happy is come home at the end of the day.

Jeremy wishes they could see a ninth-inning rally in one of the games they cover, and Dan thinks Rebecca should have come crawling back to him by now.

Dana is excited by her new camera and decides to take the inaugural photograph of the "Sports Night" team. When running through the motions of taking the picture (sans Casey), things don't go very well as Dana's camera- despite her detailed instructions of how it will work- refuses to cooperate.

Gordon comes to see Dana to tell her that he's decided to end things. When she demands to know why he's calling off the engagement, he says it's because she wasn't mad that he slept with Sally, but she was furious that Casey slept with Sally. Gordon also thinks Dana is hung up on Casey.

Jeremy finally finds a chance for a ninth inning rally in a Phillies game and remarks that "watching proud and accomplished athletes battle in the face of odds that are virtually hopeless is one of the more stirring sights in all of sports."

Dana thinks she's fixed the camera problems and prepares to take the staff picture- this time, for real. Once again, Dana's camera fails her, she finally loses control and lets loose with an outburst which includes the fact that she and Gordon broke up and that she can deal with all his humiliations, but that the camera is the living end. Dana says she has seen enough and now she wants just one good thing to happen before the day is over, and at that moment, a voice is heard asking if she is planning to get his show on the air any time soon, and she turns to find a recovered Isaac standing in the middle of the news room. Dana walks over and gives Isaac a big hug.

As the staff joyfully gathers around Isaac to welcome him back, Dana discovers that the camera misfired because she put the film in backwards. When she tells this to Casey, he laughs and says she's funny, which makes Dana smile because it's one of the things she thinks Gordon never saw in her.

With Isaac in attendance, Dana is finally able to get the camera right and the picture snaps just as everyone turns to look at Jeremy's ninth inning rally on the monitor. As we see the shot from Dana's camera, a voice-over recounts all of Dan and Casey's "Sports Night" introductions from the season, ending with their phrase, "You've been watching Sports Night on CSC, so stick around", and the season is out...


Production Credits
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: Thomas Schlamme

Recurring Characters:
Kayla Blake (as Kim)
Greg Baker (as Elliott)
Ron Ostrow (as Will)
Jeff Mooring (as Dave)
Timothy Davis-Reed (as Chris)

Guest-starring:
Cory Buck (as Charlie McCall)
Nina Siemaszko (as Holly)
Suzanne Kellogg (as Alyson)
Justine Io Shoemaker (as Ginger)
Ted McGinley (as Gordon Gage)


Trivia and Other Notes
Trivia:
Strangely (or perhaps 'not so strangely'), "What Kind of Day Has it Been" is the title of the first season finales of all three of Sorkin's main shows -- Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Dana's hometown is Cedar Rapids.

Jeremy's hometown is Boston.

Notes:
Robert Guillaume makes his first appearance since suffering his slight stroke.

Cory Buck received a Young Artist Award nomination from the Young Artist Foundation for Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Performer for his part playing "Charlie McCall" in this episode.

Some websites and publications mistakenly titled this episode, "What Kind of Day Has It Been?"

Ginger, played by Justine Io Shoemaker, is the hairdresser in the opening scene.




Allusions:
JEREMY: I've read Doctor Zhivago cover to cover. It doesn't make me the czar.
Doctor Zhivago is a novel written by Boris Pasternak. Written in the backdrop of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, it deals with a man torn between two women and how his life is torn apart by forces beyond his control.

DANA (re: CAMERA): Do you love it?
DAN: How much did you spend on this?
DANA: It's a little extravagant, but I think a hobby's a good idea for me.
DAN: Annie Liebowitz doesn't have--
DANA: I'm treating myself.
Annie Liebowitz is a famous American photographer, known for her close collaboration with her subjects when creating her photographs.

DANA: Great. Where's Casey?
DAN: Madison Square Garden.
DANA: What's he doing there?
DAN: Interviewing Michelle Kwan.
DANA: That was supposed to be you.
DAN: Michelle Kwan doesn't like me.
NATALIE: You're wrong.
DAN: She dissed me at the ESPY's.
NATALIE: She did not.
DAN: She dissed me.
Michelle Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in American History. She has won nine U.S. championships, five World Championships, and two Olympic medals.
The ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards) are for the best individual and team performances over the past year. The awards were created by ESPN.

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