Two Steps Forward, One Step Back



JoAnne has just finished working on Dan's computer. The two are having a casual conversation.

JoAnne: So, you're open for tomorrow?

Dan: After the show tomorrow night.

JoAnne: After midnight is fine. Just remember, I can fix it so you will never want to touch a computer ever again.

Dan: Is that a threat?

JoAnne flashes a smile at Dan.

JoAnne: Danny, you know it is not lady-like to toss out threatening remarks.

Dan: Oh-kay.

JoAnne: We'll talk a little bit later on what we're going to do. I've got to go upstairs and fix the monitors in the studio.

Dan: But we hardly ever use that studio.

JoAnne: At the rate you guys break things, I don't want to take my chances.

JoAnne starts to leave just as Casey enters.

JoAnne: Hi, Case.

Casey: Hey, Jo.

As JoAnne leaves the room, Casey gives her a quick look over before taking a seat in his chair.

Casey: I take it all is well for you two?

Dan: You could say that.

Casey: I did.

Dan: Yes, you did Casey.

Casey: I don't think she had any place to hide a pocket protector on that sweater.

Dan: No place at all.

Casey: And I expect you'll be personally checking into that bad breath theory of yours, too.

Dan: Casey.

Casey: Uh-huh?

Dan: I have work to do.

Casey: All righty.

Casey's phone rings and he answers. He grabs and pen and pad and starts writing down information. He is talking with a representative for the NFL.

Dan starts to leave the office, and Casey covers the phone with his hand.

Casey: Hey, get with me soon. I've got some good news for us.

Dan: All right, partner.

Dan leaves the office. As he is walking through the newsroom, Chris bumps into him.

Chris: So, Dan. Do you want to drop by to see Melanie with me tonight?

Dan: Melanie, your girlfriend?

Chris: Yeah, thought you might want to visit.

As Dan has no idea where this conversation is headed, Dave joins the two.

Dave: Dan, I bet you can't guess who is Melanie's roommate.

Dan: No clue.

Dave: He spent the night at her place last night.

Dan: I would expect you do often, Chris. Now, if you guys would excuse me-

Chris: Melanie's roommate, whom I believe you have met, has this little... tiny... black... silk nightgown.

Dan: Are we talking about-

Dave: Jo.

Chris: Yeah, Jo.

Dan: You're making this up.

Chris: The roommate part- no. The nightgown part- well, yes, but I thought you might appreciate the visual.

Dan: I have plenty of my own, thank you. But this is what confuses me. Two seconds after she leaves the office, everyone knows?

Dave: Everyone.

Chris: Absolutely everyone.


Dana and Natalie are in the conference room. Dana hangs up the phone and jumps in the air.

Dana: He's back!

Natalie: Kyle's reinstated?!

Dana: Yes!

Natalie: That's awesome!

Dana: Oh, and Natalie?

Natalie: Yeah?

Dana: Be sure to send out a memo to each team in the NFL.

Natalie: Okay. What for?

Dana: To let them know their quarterbacks are in trouble because Kyle Whitaker is back!

Natalie takes a step back.

Natalie: Not the sack move.

Dana: Yes, the sack move.

Dana starts to chase Natalie across the conference room. Just has Natalie reaches the other side, the door opens, and steps in Jeremy. Dana spins and "sacks" Jeremy. Even though Dana barely grabs Jeremy, he falls to the floor fast.

Jeremy: What did I do?

Natalie: You succumbed.

Jeremy: I succumbed? To what?

Dana: The devastating pass rushing abilities of Kyle Whitaker.

Jeremy gets up off the floor.

Jeremy: I take it he's back.

Dana: He's back!

Jeremy: I should be so fortunate he is not a hard-hitting middle linebacker.

Natalie: Yes, you are lucky.


Isaac is in his office, and a gentleman is sitting in a seat across from him.

Isaac: So Richard, what is the story with my staff?

Richard Stephenson: Well, Isaac, we are waiting to hear from a few members of "Sports Night."

Isaac: I need to be kept abreast of the situation.

Richard Stephenson: We'll inform you when it is necessary.

Isaac: Listen, Richard. Don't mess with my show. I've got employees who are scared stiff they might not have a job come this summer.

Richard Stephenson: We're just waiting to see how things play out.

Isaac: Any problems with negotiations?

Richard Stephenson: That's purely confidential, Isaac.

Isaac: Okay, sure. Does management have any changes they want to make to my show?

Richard Stephenson: We're all very happy with the way "Sports Night" is set-up. No problems at all.

Isaac: Then you might want to explain to me why some members are in negotiations, while others haven't heard a word from you.

Richard Stephenson: Isaac, I believe all these negotiations are to be kept purely confidential.

Isaac: What am I supposed to do? Show up one morning to find half of my staff is no longer employed here? I need answers, Richard.

Richard Stephenson: We're not prepared to give them out just yet.

Isaac: This is my show, and you're telling me you cannot give me information pertaining to my show?

Richard Stephenson: We don't want word to leak out.

Isaac: And you've done an excellent job of it. Are there going to be cuts in the staff? Are there going to be increases? I need to know so I can form an educated opinion on where this show should be heading.

Richard Stephenson: Okay, Isaac. We're still setting the foundation. I'll will let you know that Dan Rydell has accepted our offer and will remain a member of "Sports Night." We'll probably wait until after the February ratings period before we make our final decision on a number of people.

Isaac: So there are problems?

Richard Stephenson: I wouldn't say that.

Isaac: If you don't have problems with the way the show is going, then everyone should have the security of knowing they will be working further than this coming June.

Richard Stephenson: They will, in due time.

Isaac: Am I going to have to suggest to everyone they might be better off applying at Fox or Bristol?

Richard Stephenson: If they don't do the job, then go ahead and recommend them to leave.

Isaac: Are we done here?

Richard Stephenson: I guess so.


Dan and Casey are in the studio and they are preparing to go on air. Dan is already seated just as Casey makes it to his chair. Alyson and others are around them, applying last-minute touch-ups and fixing their hair.

Dan: So what did you want to tell me earlier?

Casey: You and me, Madison Square Garden, Knicks and Rockets, tomorrow night.

Dave: (over mic) Sixty seconds live.

Dan: Do we have time to watch the game and get back?

Casey: We're off tomorrow.

Dan: No we're not.

Casey: I arranged it with Dana. We're both off tomorrow night.

Dan turns his chair and pushes it closer to Casey.

Dan: Are you my agent?

Casey: No.

Dan: Are you my mother?

Casey: No.

Dan: Did it ever occur to you that I may have already made plans?

Casey: Yes, your plans were that you were working tomorrow night. Eliminate the working part, and your night is free, my friend.

Dan: Knicks and Rockets?

Casey: It will be just like the good ol' days.

Dan: The good ol' days?

Casey: Seventh row behind the Knicks bench.

Dan pushes his chair back in position as Alyson and her crew leaves the set.

Dan: What's up, Casey?

Casey: It's just that we never spend time and hang out much anymore. I want it to be the way it once was.

Dan: The way it used to be.

Casey: Yes.

Dan nods his head.

Dan: I'll make arrangements.

Casey: They have already been made.

Dan: There's a couple of details I need to take care of before we whoop it up on the town.

Casey: Whoop it up, indeed.

Dave: (over mic) In 5, 4, 3, 2...

Dan: (on-air) Good evening folks and welcome to another edition of Sports Night. We have a smorgasbord of basketball highlights. Choosing from the NBA, women's college basketball, men's college basketball, and the CBA.

Casey: (on-air) We'll also preview the NFL conference championship games between the nomadic Raiders and Ravens, and the sedentary Vikings and Giants.

Dan: (on-air) Alongside Casey McCall, I'm Dan Rydell. Those stories and more coming up. Plus the Storming Petrels of Olglethorpe University. Your watching Sports Night on CSC, and we'll be right back.


On the next day, Dana is walking down the hallway wearing a New York Giants, number 80 jersey- a replica jersey of Kevin Chandler's. Isaac approaches from the opposite direction.

Isaac: Dana, I see that Casey and Dan are off tonight.

Dana: Yeah, I gave them the night off at Casey's request.

Isaac: Are they going on a big date?

Dana: No, Isaac. But Casey said it is important.

Isaac: Well, it was probably a good call.

Dana: Really?

Isaac: Yes.

Dana: Thank you.

The two walk together a few more feet down the hall.

Isaac: I've also been thinking about that contest you are entered in.

Dana: Oh, Isaac.

Isaac: Actually, the more I examined the situation, the more proud I am of you.

Dana: Isaac! You aren't actually thinking-

Isaac: No, no, no, Dana. I was referring to your competition.

Dana: Huh?

Isaac: All of the other women mentioned in the article are either reporters or anchors.

Dana: Yeah, so?

Isaac: You are the only one behind the scenes, which makes me think they did their homework when looking for the most powerful women in sports casting.

Dana: Are you trying to cheer me up?

Isaac: I'm trying to find what little good there is in this.

Dana: So the good is that they did their homework?

Isaac: The good is that you have been standing up for yourself and your profession, and I am right behind you on this. CSC has asked the magazine to withdraw your name from the competition.

Dana turns and gives Isaac a big hug.

Dana: Thank you, Isaac. Thank you.


Casey and Dan walk through a crowded tunnel and emerge in the midst of seats and fans at Madison Square Garden. Dan is carrying a program and some sodas, while Casey is carrying some hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, and napkins.

Casey motions his head toward his right.

Casey: We're over here.

Dan: Great. You need a hand with any of that?

Casey: I have it delicately balanced. Any shift or reduction of weight will greatly affect my equilibrium.

Dan: Okay.

Dan and Casey make it through the crowd of people and go into their assigned row. Everyone moves out of their way as they make their way down the row. They come upon two empty seats, their seats, and they sit down.

Both teams are warming up on court, taking turns making lay-ups at the opposite ends of the court.

Dan: Thanks for inviting me along tonight.

Casey: Oh no, thank you. Thanks for coming along with me.


Natalie is holding a clipboard as she walks into Dana's office.

Natalie: You're a great producer, Dana.

Dana: Thank you, Natalie. What did I do to bring this about?

Natalie: You gave Casey and Dan the night off.

Dana: What's the big deal with me giving them the night off? Casey came to me at the last-minute and I happened to be generous enough-

Natalie: It's his cry for help.

Dana: -to allow them to be off. What do you mean 'cry for help?'

Natalie: This is Casey's cry for help, and Dan is there for him.

Dana: Natalie, you are crazy.

Natalie: No, I'm not.

Dana: Casey and Dan are going to see the Knicks.

Natalie: Casey is breaking up with Lisa.

Dana is shocked.

Dana: What?!

Natalie: He's standing up for himself, Dana. Aren't you proud of him?

Dana: They are going to see the game. Natalie, I don't want to talk about this anymore.

Natalie: Fine.

Dana: Fine.

The two leave the office.

Natalie: But aren't you proud of Casey?

Dana throws her head back and lets out a frustrated gasp.


Jeremy and JoAnne are at the bar in Anthony's. JoAnne is having an alcoholic drink, while Jeremy is drinking a carbonated beverage.

JoAnne: Men are jerks. (looks at Jeremy) Present company excluded, of course.

Jeremy: No offense taken.

JoAnne: What is it with Dan? It takes him forever to finally set up a date with me. Tonight, we we're supposed to go out, but he flakes out to go see a game with Casey.

Jeremy: Not trying to defend him, but Dan and Casey have been best friends for over a decade.

JoAnne: That's what I don't understand. They see each other all the time, and yet when Casey gets tickets to some sporting event, Dan has to dump me and go with Casey.

Jeremy: They're not just going to see a game, Jo.

JoAnne: Then what is it?!

Jeremy: Take it easy for a minute and listen to me. Dan has stood by Casey while he has been trying to work it out with his ex-wife. Dan has kept his mouth shut all this time... and why? For this moment. He knew that if he alienated Casey, Casey would have no one to turn to when it failed. Casey is hurting and he needs someone, his best friend, to be there for him. This isn't just a game they are attending- this is best friends supporting each other.

JoAnne nods her head, finally understanding why Dan had to cancel their date.


Dan and Casey are standing up and cheering with the rest of the crowd.

Casey: What a dunk! What a dunk! That will be on the show tonight!

Dan: Rockets are calling a time out.

The crowd gets louder. Some of them take their seats, while others continue to stand and cheer during the time out. Dan and Casey choose to sit down.

Dan: Hey, since we're working Super Bowl Sunday, why don't you bring Charlie along and we can have a party in the newsroom?!

Casey: Sounds like a good idea!

Dan: Great! I'll get everyone involved in it. It will be fun!

Casey: Sounds like a plan!

Dan: We're just taking it one step at a time!

Casey: Yup!

The story closes out with Dan and Casey get back to their feet with the rest of the crowd as they cheer the teams returning to the court.

Sports Night