KIM: Five minutes to air. First team to the studio, please. Five minutes.
NATALIE Well, I've heard the rumor.
JEREMY And I've heard the rumor.
NATALIE That's two.
JEREMY Plus Kim.
NATALIE That's three.
JEREMY Three people have heard the rumor.
NATALIE So I think we're justified in being nervous.
JEREMY I think we're justified in being damn nervous and I'm somebody who can be, frankly, nervous without much justification at all.
NATALIE I know.
JEREMY Elliott, have you heard the rumor?
ELLIOTT Yes, I have.
JEREMY That's four.
NATALIE That's four people we know who've heard the rumor.
JEREMY And that's only counting the people we know who've heard the rumor.
NATALIE That's right.
JEREMY What exactly does a ratings expert do?
NATALIE Well, presumably, he raises ratings.
JEREMY What's wrong with our ratings?
NATALIE Our ratings are fine.
JEREMY We come in third.
JEREMY Damn straight.
NATALIE We come in third each and every week.
JEREMY The only way we could possibly do better is if we came in first or second.
NATALIE That's right.
JEREMY It's not like we're those clowns in fourth.
NATALIE Bunch of losers.
JEREMY I honestly don't see the logic in hiring someone to come in here and shake things up in order to gain share points when our ratings are perfectly fine.
NATALIE It's illogical.
JEREMY And yet four people have heard the rumor.
DAVE You guys hear about the ratings guy?
JEREMY A full five people now.
DAVE Good show.
NATALIE Good show.
JEREMY I'm a little worked up about this.
NATALIE As well you should be.
JEREMY As well should we all.
Dana's in biker chick garb. Jeremy and Natalie enter.
DANA Come in. Hi!
DANA What's up?
NATALIE Dana, what are you wearing?
DANA Do you like it?
NATALIE As a matter of fact, I do.
DANA Tell me something, why would the nickel back have set up 5 yards off the line on third and one inside the 50 and they've been going off tackle all day?
NATALIE Well, you have to figure... Excuse me, Dana. (to Jeremy) Sweetie, Dana can tell when you're staring at her breasts.
JEREMY I wasn't.
NATALIE It's OK.
JEREMY I mean, my eyes naturally went there, but now I'm fine.
NATALIE Why are you wearing that?
JEREMY I assume after the show you're going directly to an important business meting
NATALIE She's going to a bachelorette party. Why are you wearing those clothes?
DANA The bachelorette party is biker-themed.
JEREMY It's biker-themed?
Dana: It's biker-themed. We're all being picked up and escorted to the party on Harleys. I'm going to ride on the back of a hog.
DANA I know the lingo.
JEREMY Listen, have you heard the rumor?
DANA About the ratings guy?
NATALIE Is it true?
NATALIE No, you haven't heard the rumor?
DANA Yes, I've heard the rumor. No, it isn't true.
DANA There's no ratings guy.
JEREMY Five people have heard the rumor.
DANA Five people are wrong.
DANA Show me San Diego, show me Oakland.
DAVE Three minutes out.
CHRIS Loading animation one through five.
WILL Loading sound 5.
DANA Chyron's clear on 60?
NATALIE It's clearing.
DAVE Oakland's up.
DANA Thank you, Dave. Stop looking at my ass.
DAVE No problem.
CASEY My point is that it can't be any old first date. The bar here is very high, not so much because it'll be my first date with Dana, but because it'll be Dana's first date with me, and I'm known in some parts for my first date. In certain parts, I have a rep. There's such a thing as street cred. (Dan walks up.) Dan--
DAN Listen to this--
CASEY Tell them about my street cred.
CASEY No, tell them about my rep.
DAN You don't have a rep, you don't have street cred. Your last date was 14 years ago, and you ended up with marriage and a divorce.
CASEY Oh, in some parts--
DAN No, there are no parts. Now, listen to this.
DAVE Two minutes to VTR.
DAN I just hung up the phone. What's the best news I could have?
CASEY You won a 4-week vacation to someplace else?
DAN The best news I could have for me.
CASEY You got invited to Hillary Clinton's fund-raising breakfast.
DAN I got invited to Hillary Clinton's fund-raising breakfast. Me, the first lady, scrambled eggs, lively conversation. It turns out, it wasn't that hard. You know what you have to do?
CASEY Write a check for a thousand dollars?
DAN That's right. But not everyone was given that opportunity, I was asked.
CASEY They asked you for a thousand dollars and you gave it to them. That's incredible, Danny.
DAN I was picked, Casey. I was identified.
CASEY Yes, it's called 'being a mark.'
DAN I gladly gave my money to a good fight.
CASEY Danny, Isaac's got enough to deal with from the network right now without you getting into a good fight.
DAN This isn't about politics.
CASEY She's running for the Senate.
DAN This is about me, Ms. Hillary Rodham of Chicago, and a connection.
CASEY There'll be a connection?
DAN I believe there will be.
CASEY This really isn't political, is it?
DAN No, sir, it is not.
CASEY You have a crush on Hillary Clinton.
DAN I carry a torch for her, yes.
CASEY You're hot for Mrs. Clinton.
DAN Well, I mean, who isn't? But, in my case, it's more than physical, it's cerebral.
CASEY No doubt about it. I think we need to get you a C.A.T. scan, and stat.
DAN I would like to have an intelligent, high-minded, right-thinking, socially progressive, impressively pragmatic conversation with Hillary Clinton. Tomorrow morning, I shall.
CASEY Shall you?
DAN Yes. And she will say, "My goodness. That Dan Rydell is such a bright young boy. So much more than sports scores and highlights. I think I'll make him my gentleman friend."
DAVE Roll VTR.
CASEY Well, then, here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.
KIM 60 seconds live.
JEREMY What kind of world do we live in when third place isn't almost as good as second place?
JEREMY The rumors are undeniable, Dana.
DANA No, they're not undeniable. I'm denying them.
NATALIE Do the count again.
JEREMY Natalie and me, that's two.
DANA Don't do the count.
JEREMY Kim and Elliott, that's four.
DANA He's doing the count.
JEREMY Casey and Dan.
ELLIOT That's six.
JEREMY Will, Chris and Dave.
DANA I'm just doing this in my head, but that's nine, right?
JEREMY Yes. )Isaac enters the control room.)
DANA Isaac, good, you're here.
ISAAC What are you dressed as?
DANA I'm going to a bachelorette party. It's a theme bachelorette party.
NATALIE Ask her what the theme is.
ISAAC I just assumed it was hookers.
DANA It's biker chicks.
ISAAC Just as good in my book.
KIM 30 seconds live.
DANA Isaac, tell these people, would you?
ISAAC Tell them what?
DANA Tell them the rumor isn't true. Tell them there isn't a ratings expert coming in to work on the show.
ISAAC The rumor is true. There is a ratings expert coming to work on the show, and he's coming tomorrow.
DANA The network hired a ratings guy?
ISAAC The network didn't hire him, I did.
JEREMY Dana, this may not be the right time, but that's 10.
DAVE In 3, 2...
CASEY Good evening. From New York City, I'm Casey McCall alongside Dan Rydell. Those stories, plus we'll take you around the NHL where the Red Wings did some damage to the duck pond, and we'll take you around the NFL, where the Dolphins did some damage to themselves.
DAN All that coming up after this. You're watching Sports Night on CSC, so stick around.
DAVE We're out.
NATALIE You know nothing about the ratings guy?
CASEY I know the exact same thing you know. I know Isaac is in meetings and he'll talk to us about it later. My question is where's Dana?
DAN I'm back.
NATALIE How was it?
CASEY Good scrambled eggs?
DAN Excellent scrambled eggs.
DAN Connection made, my young friend.
NATALIE Does anybody care if I'm not part of this?
DAN It's just as well, Natalie. There are gonna be some parts of this story that are unsuitable for mixed company.
NATALIE I have to edit tape.
CASEY Where did you say Dana was?
NATALIE She was up all night and she called and said she'd be in an hour late.
DAN She was skanking around town all leathered up?
NATALIE I guess so.
CASEY Hey, you're talking about the woman whose first date with me I'm planning. (Everyone stares.) That was some pretty interesting grammar.
NATALIE See you at the rundown.
DAN Casey, it was the best breakfast of my life.
CASEY For a thousand bucks, I imagine it'd be up there.
DAN I was introduced to her. She held out her hand. Hillary Clinton. There she was: the hair, the shoes, and the whole thing. She said, "Dan, let me--" first of all, she called me "Dan."
CASEY Were you wearing a name tag?
DAN Yeah. All right, anyway. She said, "Dan, I'm not much of a sports fan, but when I've watched your show, you've made me laugh."
CASEY You've made quite a few of us laugh. (They walk into their office.)
DAN Okay, you know what? She said something nice about you, but I'm not gonna tell you what it was.
CASEY Carriage ride through the park -- in or out?
DAN I'm not gonna tell you that either.
CASEY Finish the story.
DAN The story is we had a conversation -- seriously. Someone had clearly briefed her on my stuff with the public schools, and I told her about my opposition to secular programs that are publicly financed. I really spoke up and she seemed to listen.
CASEY You mean nonsecular.
DAN What do you mean?
CASEY You don't oppose secular programs that are publicly financed, you oppose nonsecular programs that are publicly financed.
CASEY Go on.
CASEY I'm right.
DAN You sure?
CASEY "Nonsecular" means "bound to religious guidelines." "Secular" means "free of religion."
DAN Okay. I'm sure I got it right at breakfast.
CASEY Well, 50/50 chance.
DAN (meekly) Yeah.
CASEY So, go on.
DAN I'm gonna go. I'm gonna change my clothes. (picks up his clothes, starts to walk out)
DAN (drops everything and turns around) I didn't get it right.
CASEY I know.
DAN I blew it.
DAN I mixed up. I inverted the definitions of "secular" and "nonsecular."
CASEY Looks like that might be the case.
DAN Hillary Clinton thinks I'm an idiot!
CASEY Either that or a religious bigot.
DAN I went to an Ivy League school, Casey.
CASEY A proud day for Dartmouth, Dan.
DAN I made an idiot out of myself in front of Hillary Clinton.
CASEY Yeah, but at least you had to spend a thousand bucks to do it.
DAN Well, clearly I have to get in touch with her.
DAN I need her to know that I know the difference between secular and nonsecular.
CASEY You don't know the difference between secular and nonsecular.
DAN Yeah, but I do now and I should have then. I have to call her.
CASEY At this point, I'd say it's a moral imperative.
DAN I'll call her hotel.
CASEY Well, they'll put you right through.
DAN I'm not saying it's not going to take perseverance, but I'm going to make contact with this woman.
CASEY Good luck.
DAN Thank you.
DANA (Comes running in, obviously excited) Casey--
DAN I can't talk right now.
DANA No problem. Casey--
CASEY Hey, I'm glad you're here because we have some decisions to make. I--
DANA I've had an epiphany.
DANA Yeah. Walk with me.
CASEY Okay. (They walk through the News Room to Dana's Office)
DANA I was up all night.
CASEY I heard. Good bachelorette party?
DANA It was great, but that's not where I was all night.
CASEY Where were you all night?
DANA Having an epiphany.
CASEY Was there a stripper?
DANA At the party?
DANA Yes, there was.
CASEY Did he have a better body than me?
DANA Of course he had a better body than you, Casey. He was a professional male stripper.
CASEY You know, let me tell you something. When we're asked, men know how to answer that question.
DANA Listen, seriously--
CASEY It's not like I'm not qualified for the job, Dana, it's just something that--
DANA I know. I understand. Do you want to hear about the epiphany?
CASEY Yes, but first let me just clear this plan with you. I pick you up, Saturday at 8. Drinks at Moomba, dinner at Cafe des Artistes, and then -- wait for it -- a carriage ride through the park with a bottle of champagne.
DANA I can top that!
CASEY I'm listening.
DANA Instead of doing all that as our first date Saturday night, we postpone our first date for six months while you see other women!
CASEY (looks seriously confused) I'm sorry?
DANA It was my epiphany.
CASEY What was your epiphany?
DANA That instead of you and I going out on our first--
CASEY Don't, don't say it again. What's happened?
CASEY I am.
DANA The bride, my friend -- at this thing last night -- someone leaned over to me and said, "It's never gonna last."
CASEY What's never gonna last?
DANA The bride and the guy.
CASEY Why not?
DANA Because he was basically the only guy she dated as an adult, and either she was gonna meet someone better or she'd always feel like she could have met someone better.
DANA Casey, you started dating Lisa when you were 18. You married her when you were 23.
CASEY I remember all that.
DANA I think you know how I feel about you, Casey.
CASEY I think I do.
DANA I want us to have a clear shot at this.
CASEY Me too.
DANA The date you planned sounds great.
CASEY Yes, it does.
DANA We're definitely going to do it.
DANA But first, you got to date other women.
CASEY Let's go back to the beginning.
CASEY You are about five different kinds of crazy, you know that?
DANA I don't think this is the time or place, do you?
CASEY No, you're right. Let's discuss this six months from now after I've had more experience with psychos.
DANA I have to talk to Isaac now.
CASEY What if I just flat-out refuse?
DANA What do you mean?
CASEY What if I just refuse to go along with your plan?
DANA Then you do not get the wonder that is me.
CASEY I'm not sure I want the wonder that is you.
DANA Well, that's entirely up to you.
CASEY Yes, it is.
DANA That's right.
CASEY I-- I want to kill you right now!
DANA Problem is, that's not the only thing you want to do with me right now, is it?
CASEY No, that's pretty much it.
DANA I have to talk to Isaac now.
DAN What's the problem here?
DANA He's mad 'cause I had an epiphany and he didn't.
CASEY This isn't happening.
ISAAC Come in.
ISAAC How was the hooker party?
DANA Biker party. It was fine. How was therapy?
ISAAC I walked a tenth of a mile on the treadmill.
DANA Good. (Closes the door.) Who's the ratings guy?
ISAAC Now, Dana, don't go--
DANA Who's the ratings guy?
ISAAC His name's Sam Donovan.
DANA Is he good?
ISAAC No, I decided to hire a moron.
ISAAC I think he's the best in the business. I think there's no one else close.
DANA Who do I answer to? You or him?
ISAAC Well, that's not how--
DANA Isaac, who do I answer to? You or him?
ISAAC I want you to work with him, Dana. I want you to make this work. It'll just be a short while.
DANA You didn't have to do this.
ISAAC We were in third place.
DANA We were ticking up on our own.
ISAAC Not fast enough.
DANA Fast enough for you, fast enough for us.
ISAAC Not fast enough for them.
DANA I gotta tell you, the sight of you...the sight of Isaac Jaffee fearing for his job--
ISAAC I want you to work with him, Dana. I want you to make this work.
Hallway, outside Isaac's office
NATALIE Is there a number?
NATALIE Is there a set number of women?
CASEY I don't know.
NATALIE 'Cause if there's a set number of women, maybe you can just get them out of the way, bing bam boom.
CASEY Bing bam boom?
NATALIE That was me getting women out of the way really fast.
CASEY You don't think her epiphany sounds insane?
NATALIE I sort of do, yeah. But she didn't run it by me, so this is the kind of thing that happens.
CASEY No, this is the kind of thing that happens when she does run it by you, so I'm surprised to hear you weren't involved.
NATALIE Turning on me isn't gonna solve anything. (Dana comes out of the office.)
CASEY What did he say?
DANA His name's Sam Donovan. He's supposed to be very good. (They all walk through the News Room)
CASEY Well, did Isaac say why all of a sudden he decided to--
DANA What do you think? Natalie, let me have senior staff at 10 minutes to air.
NATALIE Sure. By the way, this plan?
NATALIE Never ran it by me.
DANA I'm going with my instincts on this one.
NATALIE It shows. (Natalie leaves, Dana & Casey continue walking through the News Room and Studio.)
DANA I've got to get to work.
CASEY Dana, I have dated women before.
DANA You have not.
CASEY What about that double date at Anthony Anthony's with you and Gordon? It almost turned very serious with that girl.
DANA What was her name?
CASEY Ah, for the life of me, I can't remember.
DANA That's 'cause you ended up sitting at the bar with me watching Sports Night.
CASEY What about Sally?
DANA That wasn't dating.
CASEY Well, we slept together almost every night for three months.
DANA Thanks for reminding me.
DANA That wasn't dating. That was two lonely and pathetic people slinking off after her crappy little 2am show, getting drunk, and using each other for sex.
CASEY That's not dating?
CASEY Okay, but still, can I just do that for a little while and we'll call it--
DANA No, sir.
DANA Casey, I have dated and I'm done. The next thing I have, I want it to be serious.
CASEY The last thing you had, you were engaged. What's more--
DANA You got to trust me on this.
CASEY No, I don't think I do have to trust you on this. We have a magical first kiss in my office--
DANA I do not deny that it was magical.
CASEY You better not deny that it was magical because I took you off your feet, woman. I rocked you back.
DANA I do not deny it.
CASEY I plan our first date: Moomba, Cafe des Artistes--
DANA Carriage rides are out, by the way.
CASEY They are not out, they are back in.
DANA Yeah? If you're from Akron.
DANA I'm not saying I wouldn't have had a good time.
CASEY So, this woman comes along at your biker party--
CASEY This drunken, bitter, lesbian woman.
DANA Now why would you do that? Why would you go to lesbian right there?
CASEY Are you saying--
DANA Tell me you're not a homophobe.
CASEY --That in order to prove to you that I'm grown up enough to go out with you, you're gonna make me go out and find other women to sample first?
DANA I'm not even gonna ask for approval.
DANA We'll have more time to talk about this later. Just know that I want to give us the best possible chance.
CASEY So you're going to have me date your friends?
DANA I gotta go. You alright?
CASEY Actually, I am frightened of my own life, but I'll talk to you later.
Dan & Casey's Office
DAN I'm going to have to live with this.
DAN She never returned my calls.
CASEY That's pretty surprising.
DAN She never returned my calls and I'm going to have to live with this the rest of my natural life. It's out there now, and it's probably getting blown all out of proportion. Listen, you can hear the whispers from the treetops. You know, a lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its boots on?
CASEY What are you, Burl Ives all of a sudden?
DAN As a matter of fact, that was Mark Twain.
CASEY I know who it was.
DAN And so do I. And I'm able to quote him because I'm educated. I know things. You work your whole life and in an instant--
DAN I'm sure she's told her friends by now.
NATALIE Let's go. (They all go towards the Conference Room)
DAN It's just out there.
DAN And it can't be gotten back.
CASEY What do you think I should do about this?
DAN I think you should do what she tells you to do. She had a weird night at a party. Things will look different in the cold light of day.
CASEY Do you think?
DAN Does the plan include you're supposed to have sex?
CASEY I don't know. I assume it's an option.
DAN You've explained to her that the plan is insane?
CASEY I'm trying.
DAN You want me to take a whack at it?
DAN What's going on?
DANA I wanted us to say hello to Sam Donovan before the show started.
CASEY I'm sorry?
DANA I said I wanted us to say hello to Sam Donovan, the ratings consultant, before the show started.
CASEY I thought you said "I was thinking about my dating plan and realized I was mental."
DAN Where is he?
DANA I don't know.
DAN Can I just say that I've had experience with this before and I think you're all a little too worried about nothing? These guys tend to be obnoxious but I've found they're mostly obsequious and starved for attention. (pauses) "Boned" and "deboned" mean the same thing.
DAVE Would you give it a rest?
CASEY Actually, Danny's right. These guys just want to be liked. We show him that he's perfectly welcome here but make it clear we do a good show, it's our show, and that we're reluctant to have the network involved in creative or editorial decisions.
DANA We can't do that.
DANA 'Cause Isaac wants me to work with him.
DANA I'm going to work with him, Casey. It's just for a few weeks. (No one talks while they continue to wait.)
DAN There's such a word as "disheveled," but "sheveled" is nowhere to be found in the dictionary.
DAN I'm just saying English sucks.
DANA We're starting to press the clock. Dave, do me a favor, get us at ready 1. Kim, Elliott, go ahead and do your preflight. (Kim, Elliott, Dave, Will, and Chris leave. Still no one talks.)
CASEY Exactly how many dates do I have to go on?
DANA Later. (Long pause again.)
JEREMY This is nice. This is like quiet time.
DANA The hell with it. Let's go and do the show and then--
SAM (Appears in the doorway) Excuse me?
DANA Are you Sam Donovan?
SAM Yeah, I was just looking for my office.
DANA I'm Dana Whitaker.
SAM How you doing?
DAN Dan Rydell.
CASEY Casey McCall.
SAM Good to meet you. If someone could just point me toward my office.
DANA We got together like this to welcome you.
SAM Thanks. My office?
DANA I'm sorry. You don't have one yet. I'm sure Janie, our office manager--
SAM That'll be taken care of by the morning?
SAM Who's the segment producer tonight?
JEREMY I am.
SAM What's your top story? Oakland or Ted Marchibroda?
JEREMY Ted Marchibroda.
SAM Make it Oakland, will ya? Move Marchibroda to the 10-block. Fill with the wild card. Are you scripted in the ones?
JEREMY Yeah, but--
DANA Excuse me, Jeremy. Sam, what are you doing?
DANA I said, "What are you doing?"
SAM It's gonna be helpful if you get used to not asking that question.
DAN Hang on. You can't just come in here and start dictating policy. Now, we're ready to work with you as long as you understand that this is our show and we feel we do it well. You should also bear in mind that Dana doesn't stand along here and unless you want your first action as consultant to cause a full staff walkout, including the on-air talent and producers, I'd down shift a little.
SAM You shouldn't think that just because I'm looking at you while you're talking to me that I'm necessarily listening to or caring about what you're saying. It's just something I do to be polite. I was lying on a beach in Bali. I got a phone call, I got on a plane for 14 hours. I was hired to raise this show's audience share 3 points. Just between you and me, I'm gonna raise it 3 and a half. I'm not lacking in confidence as far as that's concerned, and because of that, I can say this: I honestly don't give a damn if any of you work here or not. (Everyone stares silently.) Who's the coordinating producer tonight?
NATALIE I am.
SAM Well, I've got 10:55. You wanna call places?
DANA Places, first team.
DANA Go ahead, guys.
CASEY No, wait a second.
DANA It's okay. Go ahead.
CASEY You sure?
DANA Yeah. Good show.
DANA I'm not gonna like you very much, am I?
SAM Oh, don't be ridiculous, Dana. Everybody likes me.
DAVE In 3, 2...
DAN Good evening. From New York City, I'm Dan Rydell alongside Casey McCall. Those stories plus "Inside the Playbook" with Kelly Kirkpatrick, "Center Ice" with Jack Jankowitz, and "The Infield Fly" with Connie Morton in Chicago.
CASEY All that coming up after this. You're watching Sports Night on CSC, so stick around.
DAVE We're out.
Original transcript from the_49th_floor