Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Studio60.jpg
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Aaron Sorkin
Starring Matthew Perry
Amanda Peet
Bradley Whitford
Steven Weber
D. L. Hughley
Sarah Paulson
Nate Corddry
Timothy Busfield
Composer(s) W. G. Snuffy Walden
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 22 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Thomas Schlamme
Aaron Sorkin
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 43 minutes
Production company(s) Shoe Money Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Release
Original channel NBC
Original release September 18, 2006 (2006-09-18) – June 28, 2007 (2007-06-28)
External links
Official website (archived)

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is an American comedy-drama television series created and primarily written by Aaron Sorkin.

The series takes place behind the scenes of a live sketch comedy show (also called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or Studio 60) on the fictional television network NBS (National Broadcasting System), whose format is similar to that of NBC's Saturday Night Live. National Broadcasting System is owned by the TMG Corporation. The show-within-a-show is run by executive producers Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford). Matt serves as the head writer and Danny produces the show.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ran on NBC for 22 episodes, from September 18, 2006 to June 28, 2007. It is Aaron Sorkin's only TV series not to air for more than one season.

Cast and crew[edit]

Studio 60 features an ensemble cast portraying the personnel involved in the production of a late-night comedy show.

Major roles[edit]

  • Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) is a former segment producer for Studio 60 who is asked to return as director/executive producer when executive producer Wes Mendell is fired. He works closely with Matt Albie, his longtime friend. He is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic.
  • Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) is a former writer for Studio 60 who takes over production along with long-time friend Danny Tripp, as executive producer and head writer. He is also Harriet's ex-boyfriend, a status he seems, on some level, to wish to change.
  • Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) is the recently hired president of entertainment programming of network National Broadcasting System, of which Studio 60 is the flagship show.
  • Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) is a "multi-talented"[1] performer, a devout Christian, and one of the "Big Three" main stars of Studio 60. She is also Matt Albie's ex-girlfriend. She also dated Luke Scott, a former writer (and Matt's rival) at Studio 60, now a big-time director. The character of Harriet is partially based on Kristin Chenoweth, whom Sorkin previously dated before she worked on The West Wing.[2]
  • Tom Jeter (Nate Corddry) is another of the show's "Big Three." He is from the Midwest, and his brother is serving as an airman in the US Air Force who is deployed in Afghanistan. During the course of the show, he begins dating Lucy Kenwright, one of the staff writers.
  • Simon Stiles (D. L. Hughley) is the final member of the "Big Three." An alumnus of the Yale School of Drama, his original intention was to become a dramatic actor, rather than a comedian.
  • Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber) is the chairman of the National Broadcasting System, and Jordan's boss. During the course of the show, he and his wife separate.
  • Cal Shanley (Timothy Busfield) is the director of Studio 60. He has two children and is a military history buff. (Busfield also directed several episodes of the series, as he did for Sports Night.)

Secondary roles[edit]

  • Jeannie Whatley (Ayda Field) is a member of the show's ensemble. She is Matt's occasional lover and Harriet's close friend and is a bit of a gossip on the set.
  • Alex Dwyer (Simon Helberg) is a member of the show's ensemble; he is recognized as the complement to Harriet Hayes, being the premier male impressionist in the cast. He has at least one recurring sketch, The Nicolas Cage Show, in which he plays the title character, and has also portrayed Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller.
  • Dylan Killington (Nate Torrence) is a rookie member of the show's ensemble. Dylan plays a number of different characters in the show-within-a-show. During "Nevada Day Part - II", Simon goes to Nevada with Tom, Danny, and Jack; Matt then asks a reluctant Dylan to fill in for Simon in News 60. He has a crush on Jeannie.
  • Samantha Li (Camille Chen) is a member of the show's ensemble.
  • Ricky Tahoe (Evan Handler) is a former co-executive producer of the show and former co-head of the writers' room. In "The Option Period", he and Ron left Studio 60 to pursue a pilot show for Fox called Peripheral Vision Man – based on a character from an old Studio 60 sketch; Ricky's departure was marked by a hostile shouting match with Matt.
  • Ron Oswald (Carlos Jacott) is a former co-executive producer of the show and former co-head of the writers' room. In "The Option Period", he left the show with Ricky to pursue a pilot show for Fox called Peripheral Vision Man – based on a character from an old Studio 60 sketch.
  • Wilson White (Edward Asner) is the head of TMG (Tunney Media Group), the conglomerate that owns the NBS network.
  • Lucy Kenwright (Lucy Davis) is a junior writer on the show and the only pre-Matt and Danny writer to remain after Ricky and Ron's departure. Lucy and Darius were supposed to get their first sketch on the air in "B-12". The sketch was about a bungling hostage taker, but was cancelled when a real-life hostage-taker killed his entire family and then himself just after that evening's show started. During the course of the show, Lucy begins dating Tom Jeter.
  • Darius Hawthorne (Columbus Short) is Matt's assistant writer. Matt and Simon hired Darius after seeing his stand-up act in "The Wrap Party". During "The Harriet Dinner" he argues with Simon because Darius passed a sketch, pitched by Simon, to Lucy.
  • Andy Mackinaw (Mark McKinney) was introduced in "B-12" after Ricky and Ron's departure when Matt needed an extra writer's help. Andy was a writer on Studio 60 prior to Matt and Danny's initial departure from the show. Since that time, Andy's wife and daughter died in a car accident. Andy is very serious and has only been seen smiling once.
  • Suzanne (Merritt Wever) is a former production assistant on the show who becomes Matt's assistant in the episode "B-12". She confronts Matt about his drug use in the episode "Breaking News".
  • Hallie Galloway (Stephanie Childers) is the vice-president of alternative programming (a.k.a. reality TV) for NBS and has developed an adversarial relationship with Jordan. She first appeared in the episode "Monday". McDeere has expressed her fear that Galloway is being groomed to take her place after the rocky start to McDeere's tenure as president of the network.
  • Mary Tate (Kari Matchett) is a lawyer from law firm Gage Whitney Pace who is hired by NBS and has a sexual interest in Matt. Between "Breaking News" and "What Kind of Day Has It Been", Mary is used as a second option to get Tom's brother out of the hostage situation.
  • Shelly Green (Wendy Phillips) is head of publicity for NBS.

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Judd Hirsch as Wes Mendell, the creator of Studio 60 who is fired by Jack Rudolph after going on a long on-air rant against the current state of television. Although he appeared only in the pilot, Wes has been referred to as a big influence on Matt and Danny.
  • Fred Stoller as Lenny Gold, a comedian in "West Coast Delay" from whom a Studio 60 staff writer may have stolen material.
  • Martha O'Dell (Christine Lahti) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist working on a story for Vanity Fair about the new leadership of Studio 60. In "The West Coast Delay" and "The Long Lead Story" she ends up easily uncovering almost every detail of the cast and crew's personal lives. Martha's character is based on the columnist Maureen Dowd, who once dated Sorkin.[3]
  • Kim Tao (Julia Ling) guest starred in five episodes ("Nevada Day Part 1," "Nevada Day Part 2," "Monday," "Harriet Dinner Part 1," "Harriet Dinner Part 2") as the viola prodigy who speaks five languages. She is the official translator for her father during the Macau deal. Kim claims to be Tom's biggest fan, and, because of this, she wants to pursue a career in improvisational comedy against her father's wishes.
  • Eli Weinraub (Eli Wallach) appeared in "The Wrap Party." An old mischievous man with an interesting – and familiar – past. Wallach was nominated for an Emmy for this role.
  • John Goodman as a Pahrump, Nevada judge, Robert "Bobby" Bebe, in "Nevada Day Part 1" and "Nevada Day Part 2." Goodman won an Emmy for this role.
  • Kevin Eubanks appeared as himself in "The Christmas Show".
  • Felicity Huffman, Lauren Graham, Allison Janney, Masi Oka, Howie Mandel, and Rob Reiner appeared as themselves as celebrity hosts in various episodes.
  • Sting, Corinne Bailey Rae, Gran Bel Fisher, Three 6 Mafia, and Natalie Cole appeared as themselves as musical guests in various episodes.

Main crew[edit]

Key crew members include Aaron Sorkin (Head writer/Show runner), Thomas Schlamme (Show runner/Director (four episodes), and Timothy Busfield (Director - six episodes/ Consultant- 20 episodes). The crew includes several people who worked with Sorkin and Schlamme on their previous shows (Sports Night and The West Wing). Bradley Whitford, Timothy Busfield, John Goodman, Evan Handler and Matthew Perry all have a history with The West Wing. Busfield also directed two episodes of Sports Night. The show's first guest host (appearing as herself) is Felicity Huffman, who starred in Sports Night and did a guest spot on The West Wing. Cast member Mark McKinney wrote an episode of Sports Night.

Other notable crew members include:

Development[edit]

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was tentatively titled Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip during its development stage.[4]

The series prompted NBC and CBS to engage in an intense bidding war for the rights to the show in October 2005, with NBC agreeing to a "near-record license fee" in order to obtain the rights.[5] It was the show most anticipated by media buyers prior to the network upfront presentations, according to MediaLife.[6] Among the online public the show was also highly anticipated, receiving the most online "mentions" and the most positive sentiment of any new 2006 show.[7]

Influences on the show[edit]

Sorkin drew from his own experience as a writer in creating the characters.[citation needed] The Harriet/Matt relationship was based on Sorkin's relationship with Kristin Chenoweth, who played Annabeth Schott on The West Wing.[8] In Studio 60’s pilot, one of the reasons that Matt and Harriet broke up was Harriet's decision to appear on The 700 Club to support her Christian music album. In 2005, Chenoweth made a similar appearance on The 700 Club, sparking a negative reaction from some of her gay fans because of the views of 700 Club host Pat Robertson.[9] Unlike Matt and Harriet, Sorkin and Chenoweth did not work together on The West Wing. Sorkin left after The West Wing's fourth season and Chenoweth joined the cast during season six.

The Jordan McDeere character was loosely based on former ABC Entertainment President Jamie Tarses, who was a consultant on the show.[10]

The conflict between NBS and the Federal Communications Commission regarding uncensored language of American soldiers in Afghanistan parallels the decision by a small number of PBS affiliates to air the documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience in full, despite potentially hefty FCC fines for unedited obscenities used by American soldiers describing their experiences in Iraq.[11]

Similarities to other media[edit]

Two shows debuting on 2006–07 NBC lineup, 30 Rock and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, revolved around the off-camera happenings on a Saturday Night Live-analogue sketch comedy series. Similarities between the two led to speculation that only one of them would be picked up. 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin said, "I'd be stunned if NBC picked up both shows. And ours has the tougher task, as a comedy, because, if it's not funny, that's it."[12] Kevin Reilly, then president of NBC Entertainment, was supportive of 30 Rock creator, writer, producer and star Tina Fey, describing the situation as a "high-class problem":

I just can't imagine the audience would look at both shows, choose one and cancel the other out. In some ways, why is it any different than when there have been three or four cop shows on any schedule, or Scrubs and ER, which are totally very different?[13]

Evidence of the overlapping subject matter between the shows, as well as the conflict between them, arose when Aaron Sorkin asked Lorne Michaels to allow him to observe Saturday Night Live for a week, a request Michaels denied.[12] Despite this, Sorkin sent Fey flowers after NBC announced it would pick up both series, and wished her luck with 30 Rock.[14] Fey said that "it's just bad luck for me that in my first attempt at prime time I'm going up against the most powerful writer on television. I was joking that this would be the best pilot ever aired on Trio. And then Trio got canceled."[12] Studio 60 was canceled after one season while 30 Rock was renewed, and would ultimately last for seven seasons and 138 episodes, the last of which aired during the 2012–13 season. Though 30 Rock’s first-season ratings proved lackluster and were lower than those of Studio 60,[15] Studio 60 was more expensive to produce.[16]

Episodes[edit]

Studio 60 consists of a single season of 22 episodes. Its pilot episode was written by series creator Aaron Sorkin, and directed by executive producer Thomas Schlamme. Sorkin wrote or co-wrote all of the episodes. Schlamme directed four episodes, a total exceeded only by Timothy Busfield, who directed five episodes and co-directed a sixth.

The series includes two two-part episodes ("Nevada Day" and "The Harriet Dinner") and a story arc called "K & R" (kidnap & ransom) which spanned three episodes and concluded in a fourth, the final episode of the season.

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Guest host &
musical guest
1 "Pilot" Thomas Schlamme Aaron Sorkin September 18, 2006 (2006-09-18) Felicity Huffman
Three 6 Mafia
The executive producer of a late night sketch comedy show sparks a media frenzy when he has an on-air meltdown during a live broadcast. The newly appointed network president, Jordan McDeere, has to scramble to make things right by hiring back two former prized employees to become the new executive producers of her network's flagship program. In doing so, she appoints two former members of the team: writer Matt Albie and former sketch producer, now director Danny Tripp, who had left the show years before on terms that were not amicable. Meanwhile Albie and ex-girlfriend Harriet Hayes come to terms with having to work on the show together very soon after their breakup.
2 "The Cold Open" Thomas Schlamme Aaron Sorkin September 25, 2006 (2006-09-25) Mark Wahlberg[17]
The White Stripes[18][19]
Matt and Danny have five days to put together their first show, which is receiving enormous media attention and Harriet tries her best to work with Matt. In the meantime, Jordan puts her new job on the line by facing down pressure due to a controversial sketch amidst criticism from sponsors and affiliates scared of alienating Christians. Also, staff writers Ricky and Ron — who were catalysts to Matt and Danny's initial departure — express their dismay at being made to work for Matt.
3 "The Focus Group" Christopher Misiano Aaron Sorkin October 2, 2006 (2006-10-02) Rob Reiner
Gwen Stefani[18]
A network focus group sends a scare through the company that the ratings success of Matt and Danny's first show might have been a one-time thing. Harriet expresses her jealousy at Matt having spent the night with Jeannie so shortly after breaking up, accusing him of rubbing it in her face. The team is pleased to have had a high rating for their opening week with Matt and Danny's return, but fear they won't retain momentum in the ratings in the follow-up show. Jeannie is disappointed by the focus group's score for her sketch "Commedia Dell'Arte". Matt makes a deal with Jeannie regarding the success of the sketch on the live broadcast.
4 "The West Coast Delay" Timothy Busfield Mark Goffman & Aaron Sorkin October 9, 2006 (2006-10-09) None Featured
Jordan is approached by Vanity Fair columnist Martha O'Dell (guest star Christine Lahti), requesting access to Studio 60 to write a long lead story about the rebirth of the show. Harriet offers Matt a baseball bat she was given by a major league baseball player, unaware that the pitcher had written his phone number on it. When it's discovered that the show has inadvertently plagiarized another comedian's material during a sketch, the team scrambles to break into the taped West Coast feed to correct their error.
5 "The Long Lead Story" David Petrarca Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Dana Calvo
October 16, 2006 (2006-10-16) Lauren Graham
Sting
While the cast goes through rehearsals with Lauren Graham and Sting, O'Dell tries to get the story on Matt and Harriet. Meanwhile, Jordan passes on a lucrative — but tasteless — new reality series.
6 "The Wrap Party" David Semel Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Melissa Myers & Amy Turner
October 23, 2006 (2006-10-23) Lauren Graham
Sting
Continuation of "The Long Lead Story".
A drunken Jordan makes friends with the cast during an after-show party, Danny tries to get Matt's mind off Harriet with the help of three sexy women, Simon makes a plea to hire more black writers and Cal deals with a mysterious man backstage (guest star Eli Wallach).
7 "Nevada Day, Part 1" Lesli Linka Glatter & Timothy Busfield Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Mark McKinney
November 6, 2006 (2006-11-06) Jessica Simpson[17][18]
Simpson mentioned as both host and musical guest
Harriet is cited in an interview as being anti-homosexual, though she claims to have been impartial in her comments. This causes a dispute in which Tom injures a man protesting against Harriet. Through a unique series of events, Tom is later arrested. Following this, a variety of cast and staff from NBS travel to Pahrump, a small town in Nevada, to get Tom out of jail in time for his show that night. Guest star John Goodman plays a judge who's not a fan of Studio 60. First part of a two-parter.
8 "Nevada Day, Part 2" Timothy Busfield Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: David Handelman & Cinque Henderson
November 13, 2006 (2006-11-13) Jessica Simpson[17][18]
Continuation of "Nevada Day Part I".
Jack has to get Tom out of a small town jail to make it back for his show that night as tension heats up between Matt and Harriet. In the absence of Simon to co-host the "News 60" segment, Matt asks Dylan to co-anchor with Harriet, who is surprisingly reluctant to "play" himself before the camera.
9 "The Option Period" John Fortenberry Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Christina Kiang Booth & Mark Goffman
November 20, 2006 (2006-11-20) Jessica Simpson[17][18]
Continuation of "Nevada Day Part II".
After the show comes down, Matt discovers that Ricky and Ron are planning to leave — and take the writing staff with them — to write their adaptation of their Studio 60 character "Peripheral Vision Man" as a Fox network sitcom. Matt tries to discourage them from going since he thinks their show will fail, but Ricky takes his concern for condescension, claiming Matt is trying to hold him back. Harriet contemplates doing a lingerie photo spread in a magazine, which Tom and Simon advise her against for the sake of her professional image. Jordan and Danny wrestle with budget cuts, as Jordan suggests either adding product placement or firing 15 staff members.
10 "B-12" Bryan Gordon Eli Attie & Aaron Sorkin November 27, 2006 (2006-11-27) Howie Mandel
Corinne Bailey Rae
The cast has to get through the show despite being ravaged by a virus, and Matt has to get through the week with a new and much smaller writing staff. Matt calls in for the help of fellow former writer of Studio 60 Andy Mackinaw. Jordan reveals to Danny that she's pregnant. Inexperienced writers Darius and Lucy have a sketch approved to air for the first time, only to have it pulled at the last moment due to its similarity with a real-life hostage situation.
11 "The Christmas Show" Dan Attias Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Christina Kiang Booth & Cinque Henderson
December 4, 2006 (2006-12-04) No Host Featured
A Tipitina Foundation Band
With a holiday show on the horizon, Matt is determined to bring the Christmas spirit to Studio 60. Meanwhile, following a visit to the OB/GYN, Danny has to confront his true feelings for Jordan. Harriett is offered a career changing opportunity. Tom and Simon jump at the opportunity to assist the writing team to write Christmas based sketches in order to enjoy the company of a certain member of the writing team, however their presence is seen as more of a hindrance by the writing staff. When Danny discovers that band members from various TV shows intend to call in sick in an effort to help musicians who have been homeless since Hurricane Katrina, he takes the opportunity to create an entire band from New Orleans musicians who play a centerpiece on the show.
12 "Monday" Lawrence Trilling Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Dana Calvo & David Handelman
January 22, 2007 (2007-01-22) Masi Oka
John Legend
Seen in "The Harriet Dinner".
The cast and staff come back from their holiday break and prepare for the first show of the New Year with Danny in full pursuit of Jordan. Matt starts bidding in an online auction for a date with Harriet to compete with Luke Scott, a film director interested in Harriet, both on and off screen. Jordan is introduced to Hallie (Stephanie Childers), the newly appointed Vice President of Alternative Programming, but unfortunately doesn't get off on the right foot with her, due to referring to her area of specialty as "illiterate programming". Jordan makes a plea for Danny to stop pursuing her, claiming it's embarrassing, however he says that he won't.
13 "The Harriet Dinner, Part 1" Timothy Busfield Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Eli Attie
January 29, 2007 (2007-01-29) Masi Oka
John Legend
Continued from "Monday".
Danny and Jordan are locked on the roof of the theatre while other members of the cast and staff attend a dinner honoring Harriet, whose relationship with Matt begins to unravel.[20]
14 "The Harriet Dinner, Part 2" John Fortenberry Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Dana Calvo & Mark Goffman
February 5, 2007 (2007-02-05) Masi Oka
John Legend
Continued from "Monday".
Danny and Jordan are locked on the roof of the theater while other members of the cast and staff attend a dinner honoring Harriet, whose relationship with Matt begins to unravel. Grammy winner Natalie Cole guest-stars.
15 "The Friday Night Slaughter" Thomas Schlamme Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Melissa Myers & Amy Turner
February 12, 2007 (2007-02-12) Peyton Manning
Manning mentioned as host on outside billboard
Diana Valdes (played by musician Gina La Piana) (another replacement for The White Stripes) Jennifer Love Hewitt
mentioned as host in 1999 flashback<br N'Sync
mentioned as musical guest in 1999 flashback<br
Matt remembers how he and Harriet first met in 1999, and struggles to garner memories of a fired writer from Cal and Danny. In the aftermath of his argument with Harriet, he begins taking drugs. Tom and Dylan spend the episode lobbying to prevent their sketch from being cut between dress rehearsal and airtime. "Tim Batale", the name of the writer that Matt remembers from his early days of working at Studio 60 (but nobody else can), is an anagram of "Matt Albie".
16 "4 A.M. Miracle" Laura Innes Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Mark McKinney
February 19, 2007 (2007-02-19) Renée Zellweger
[17]
Matt is stuck on a Wednesday night with writer's block and also has to contend with a young lawyer named Mary Tate (guest star Kari Matchett, "Covert Affairs") who's investigating a sexual harassment claim while Harriet continues shooting her movie. In addition, Jordan and Danny enter into a contest to see who'd make the better parent.
17 "The Disaster Show" Thomas Schlamme Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Chad Gomez Creasey & Dara Resnik Creasey
May 24, 2007 (2007-05-24) Allison Janney
Macy Gray
Allison Janney, as herself, is the guest host of a show that goes haywire when the propmasters and cue card workers stage a last minute wildcat strike. While the show is on, a bomb threat referencing a Muhammad sketch threatens the building. Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, and Bradley Whitford do not appear in this episode.
18 "Breaking News" Andrew Bernstein Aaron Sorkin May 31, 2007 (2007-05-31) Jenna Fischer
Gran Bel Fisher
Jordan experiences an emergency with her pregnancy during the live show when she suddenly cannot feel her baby kick. However, an even larger emergency is unfolding for Tom, whose brother is involved in a hostage crisis. Amidst all this, Matt's pill use gets discovered as he deals with the continuous presence of Mary Tate.
19 "K&R, Part 1" Timothy Busfield Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Mark Goffman
June 7, 2007 (2007-06-07) Jenna Fischer
Gran Bel Fisher
Continuation of "Breaking News".
Jordan is rushed into surgery as the situation with Tom's brother grows more grim. It is discovered that the cause for Jordan's concern is a nuchal cord. While resting in the emergency room, she suffers spasms indicating eclampsia. Treated initially with magnesium sulfate (also called Epsom salts), it leaves the doctor with no choice but to proceed with an emergency caesarean section. This leads Danny to propose to Jordan on the spot, which she lovingly accepts. Matt and Harriet respond to Tom's situation in different ways, one with hope, the other with prayer. Flashbacks have Wes ill and interim show heads Matt and Danny forced on the difficult task of heading the show's first post-9/11 episode.
20 "K&R, Part 2" Dave Chameides Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Story by: Jack Gutowitz & Ian Reichbach
June 14, 2007 (2007-06-14) Jenna Fischer
Gran Bel Fisher
Continuation of "Breaking News".
The situation with Tom's brother continues to drag on through the night. After a news anchor describes the relationship between the brothers as "estranged", Simon lashes out harshly at the media. At the hospital, Jordan's baby is delivered, but the situation worsens as Jordan begins bleeding internally. Mary Tate counsels Matt that if Jordan were to die, Danny would have no rights regarding Jordan's child. Flashbacks depict Danny and Matt fighting with network brass over a yet-to-be-aired, post-9/11 sketch depicting the relationship between Hollywood and the White House.
21 "K&R, Part 3" Timothy Busfield Aaron Sorkin & Mark McKinney June 21, 2007 (2007-06-21) Jenna Fischer
Gran Bel Fisher
Continuation of "Breaking News".
Jason Alexander
Sheryl Crow
The host and musical guest on the show in the flashback scenes.
Jordan's internal hemorrhaging is stopped, but her prolonged exposure may have led to a bacterial infection, leaving Harriet and Danny feeling helpless to do anything. Jack tries pressuring Simon into releasing a written apology to the media, which he firmly refuses to do. The military gains information that the terrorists may have executed one of the airmen, leading Mary Tate's K & R efforts to go forward. In addition to this, Mary Tate begins to draw up the paperwork that can make Danny the baby's legal guardian in the event of Jordan's death. Flashbacks reveal that Matt and Danny aired a sketch displaying the dubious relationship between the White House and Hollywood five weeks after 9/11, a sketch that angered many viewers. When Matt refused to release any apology, Jack threatened to fire them. This lack of principle led Matt and Danny to quit the show. Martin Sheen voices a conservative talk show host.
22 "What Kind of Day Has It Been" Bradley Whitford Aaron Sorkin June 28, 2007 (2007-06-28) Jenna Fischer
Gran Bel Fisher
Continuation of "Breaking News".
This series finale episode shares the title of the first season finales of both of Sorkin's two previous series, The West Wing and Sports Night. The long night for the cast finally comes to an end: Jordan, Danny, and the newborn finally become true family, Simon agrees with Jack to apologize for his harsh remarks, and the relationship between Matt and Harriet begins a new chapter. Most importantly, Tom's brother and his comrades are successfully saved and delivered into American hands. The final image in the show's run is the entire cast of Studio 60 looking back on the day's events, ready to start all over again come Monday.

Critical and public reaction[edit]

Television critics named Studio 60 their "Best Overall New Program" in a poll conducted by Broadcasting and Cable,[21] based on the pilot episode. In their 2006 year-end issue, the New York Daily News listed Studio 60 as number 6 on their best "Series of the Year" list, and it was also listed in best standout performances as number 9 for Matthew Perry.[22] Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald named Studio 60 as number 2 on his list of best "Series of the Year."[23] Studio 60 earned a collective rating of 75 out of 100 based on 33 reviews by TV critics and received 8.2 out of 10 from 276 votes by users on Metacritic.[24]

The pilot was seen by an average of 13.4 million total viewers in its initial airing on NBC, although it experienced significant viewer falloff from the first half-hour to the second half-hour,[25] and the second episode's Nielsen ratings were down by 12% from the pilot.[26] The erosion continued through episode 5, with a 43% viewer drop off from its premiere, but subsequently leveled off.

On October 27, 2006, NBC gave a conditional "vote of confidence" by ordering three additional scripts on top of the initial order of 13.[27] Despite the order, Studio 60 performed poorly in the ratings, which led to speculation that the network was seriously considering canceling the show.

Roger Friedman of Fox News reported on October 30, 2006, that cancellation of the show was imminent.[28] This was denied the next day by an NBC representative who stated that the show "is profitable at this point" and that rather than a cancellation, it is more likely that the show's time slot will change.[29]

On November 9, 2006, NBC announced that the show had been picked up for a full season, citing its favorable demographics as the reason.[30] According to NBC's press release: "Studio 60 has consistently delivered some of the highest audience concentrations among all primetime network series in such key upscale categories as adults 18-49 living in homes with $75,000-plus and $100,000-plus incomes and in homes where the head of household has four or more years of college."

In its December 17, 2006, issue, Time listed Studio 60 as one of "5 Things That Went From Buzz to Bust", sharing the distinction with other "phenomena that captivated the media for a spell, then turned out to be less than huge."[31] Entertainment Weekly named Studio 60 the worst TV show of 2006.[32] Comedy writers at the time were largely disdainful of Studio 60, with comments like "People in television, trust me, are not that smart", "[Sorkin] wants to get big ideas across and change people's minds. No comedians work that way. They go for the laughs first and the lesson second", and "[Saturday Night Live] is so dark, they could never show what actually happens there."[33]

On July 19, 2007, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced their nominations for the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards. Studio 60 was nominated in five categories. The pilot episode earned three nominations: Outstanding Directing (Thomas Schlamme), Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series, and Outstanding Casting in Dramatic Series. Both John Goodman and Eli Wallach were nominated Outstanding Guest Actor in Dramatic Series. Studio 60 Emmy nominations surpassed several other shows, such as Friday Night Lights and Dexter, which got two and three, respectively. The show also tied with CSI and 24.

U.S. scheduling[edit]

On December 2, 2006, NBC announced that Studio 60 would be sharing the Monday at 10 p.m. timeslot with The Black Donnellys; as a result, Studio 60 was on hiatus from December 4, 2006 to January 22, 2007.[34] It then ran non-stop until February 26, 2007, when it was scheduled to take another hiatus.[35]

On February 13, 2007, NBC announced that Studio 60 would go on hiatus one week early, and that the last episode would air on February 19, 2007. This was at least partially due to the show's delivering its lowest ratings to date on the Monday preceding the announcement.[36]

During the hiatus on NBC, The Black Donnellys (premiered February 26), Thank God You're Here (premiered April 9), The Real Wedding Crashers (premiered April 23, after Thank God You're Here moved to Wednesdays),[37][38] and Law and Order: Criminal Intent (aired its last two episodes of the season starting May 14) occupied the Monday 10 p.m. time period.

On April 2, 2007, NBC announced that Studio 60 would not reclaim its Monday at 10 p.m. time slot at the conclusion of The Black Donnellys run and that The Real Wedding Crashers, a reality show based on the popular movie, would occupy the timeslot from April 23, 2007, through the end of the TV season. However, on April 26, NBC announced that Studio 60 would return from its hiatus on Thursday, May 24, at 10:00 p.m.

Studio 60 was canceled on May 11, 2007 during the NBC upfront presentation.[39]

After cancellation[edit]

In a 2011 reference to the cancelled Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin appeared in "Plan B", a fifth season episode of 30 Rock; he played himself, depicted as looking for work alongside an also-struggling Liz Lemon. He refers to his achievements, such as The West Wing and The Social Network, but when Liz Lemon mentions Studio 60, he quickly replies, "Shut up!" During the March 2012 promotion of Bent, an NBC romantic comedy series starring Amanda Peet, Peet commented on what the issue was with Studio 60, saying it was "too expensive and there was too much anticipation. I guess all together we seemed like this arrogant monolith, but individually, none of us felt very arrogant."[40]

Television ratings[edit]

Chart showing ratings, 18-49 ratings, share and viewers for the show.

U.S. ratings[edit]

Weekly rankings based on Fast National ratings.[41][42][43][44]

Season One (2006–2007)
# Episode Air Date Rating Share 18–49 Demographic Viewers
(in millions)
Rank
1 "Pilot""Pilot" 01September 18, 2006 8.6 14 5.0 13.14 # 22
2 "Cold Open, The""The Cold Open" 02September 25, 2006 7.5 12 4.4 10.82 # 33
3 "Focus Group, The""The Focus Group" 03October 2, 2006 6.0 10 3.5 8.85 # 47
4 "West Coast Delay, The""The West Coast Delay" 04October 9, 2006 5.8 9 3.8 8.66 # 51
5 "Long Lead Story, The""The Long Lead Story" 05October 16, 2006 5.3 8 3.1 7.74 # 55
6 "Wrap Party, The""The Wrap Party" 06October 23, 2006 5.1 8 3.2 7.72 # 60
7 "Nevada Day (1)""Nevada Day (1)" 07November 6, 2006 4.8 8 3.3 7.67 # 56
8 "Nevada Day (2)""Nevada Day (2)" 08November 13, 2006 5.0 8 3.2 7.58 # 58
9 "Option Period, The""The Option Period" 09November 20, 2006 4.7 8 3.1 7.17 # 60
10 "B-12""B-12" 10November 27, 2006 4.8 8 3.3 7.27 # 60
11 "Christmas Show, The""The Christmas Show" 11December 4, 2006 4.9 8 3.0 7.33 # 52
12 "Monday""Monday" 12January 22, 2007 5.3 8 3.2 7.25 # 48
13 "Harriet Dinner – Part I, The""The Harriet Dinner – Part I" 13January 29, 2007 4.8 7 3.0 6.86 # 53
14 "Harriet Dinner – Part II, The""The Harriet Dinner – Part II" 14February 5, 2007 4.6 7 3.2 7.00 # 59
15 "Friday Night Slaughter,The""The Friday Night Slaughter" 15February 12, 2007 4.3 7 2.8 6.39 # 68
16 "4AM Miracle""4AM Miracle" 16February 19, 2007 4.1 7 2.6 6.10 # 63
17 "Disaster Show, The""The Disaster Show" 17May 24, 2007 2.7 5 1.7 3.90 # 76
18 "Breaking News""Breaking News" 18May 31, 2007 2.9 5 1.6 4.08 n/a
19 "K&R - Part 1""K&R" 19June 7, 2007 3.1 5 1.7 4.35 # 66
20 "K&R - Part 2""K&R - Part II" 20June 14, 2007 3.0 6 1.7 4.25 n/a
21 "K&R - Part 3""K&R - Part III" 21June 21, 2007 3.0 5 1.8 4.42 # 53
22 "What Kind of Day Has It Been""What Kind of Day Has It Been" 22June 28, 2007 2.7 5 2.0 4.20 n/a

Key: Rating is the estimated percentage of all TVs tuned to the show, share is the percentage of all TVs in use that are tuned in. Viewers is the estimated number of actual people watching, in millions, while ranking is the approximate ranking of the show against all prime-time TV shows for the week (Monday through the following Sunday).

While the show premiered with high ratings, there was a large drop during the second half. This trend continued through nearly every episode of the show.

Seasonal ratings[edit]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on NBC:[45]

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Timeslot (EDT) Series Premiere Series Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
18-49 Rating/Share
(rank)
1 Monday 10:00 P.M. (September 18, 2006 - February 19, 2007)
Thursday 10:00 P.M. (May 24, 2007 - June 28, 2007)[46]
September 18, 2006 June 28, 2007 2006-2007 #61 8.5 3.6/9 (#41)

DVR ratings[edit]

On December 29, 2006, Nielsen Media Research reported the results of having, for the first time, monitored viewers who use a Digital Video Recorder to pre-record shows for later viewing. According to the Nielsen numbers, adding these viewers increased Studio 60's ratings the most in percentage terms of all network shows. These ratings, called "live plus seven", include all viewers who use a DVR to record the show and then watch it within a week of its initial airing.

According to Nielsen, Studio 60 added nearly 11%, or almost a million viewers, to its total every week as a result of these "live plus seven" viewers.[47]

According to Medialife Magazine, "The live-plus-seven-day rating for NBC’s "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is 136% higher than its live rating in DVR homes."[48]

Awards[edit]

Wins[edit]

2006
  • Broadcasting and Cable pool — Best Overall New Program.
2007

Nominations[edit]

2006
2007

Alternative availability[edit]

Studio 60 was one of a group of NBC shows during its season, some new and some returning, which was available on one or both of NBC's online forums for alternative distribution of television: free with commercials on NBC.com and hulu.com, and for pay download without commercials at Amazon.com and the iTunes Store. Studio 60 was also added as a download option via the Xbox 360 video download service. There is no published record of its popularity at the NBC website or on the Xbox, but several Studio 60 episodes have been among the ten most popular on iTunes. The Studio 60 season pass has also steadily remained in the Top 20 since it was made available. The first nine episodes of Studio 60 were also made available on the launch of Xbox Live Media Downloads in fall of 2006, and the service continues to offer the new episodes weekly (3–4 days after the airdate). All episodes of the program have also been made available on CTV's online broadband network. Episodes are currently being added to the Channel 4's 4oD, a broadband on-demand service, in the UK, as the episodes are broadcast on More 4.

Early release[edit]

NBC made the pilot episode of Studio 60 available on DVD to Netflix subscribers on August 5, 2006. The DVD also includes the pilot episode for Kidnapped, another show which aired on NBC in the fall and also got canceled. AOL also premiered the first episode of Studio 60 in its entirety on its online television channel.

The pilot episode was screened to the general public for the first time at the 31st MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, a British industry and media event held annually over the August bank holiday weekend (25–27 August 2006). The pilot episode was screened outdoors on a "giant billboard style screen" in Conference Square, next to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.[49]

DVD release[edit]

On June 27, 2007, the day before the airing of the show's final episode, Warner Home Video announced an October 16 release date for the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Complete Series DVD set.[50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sorkin, Aaron. "Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip". GeoCities. Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. Retrieved October 12, 2006. 
  2. ^ Chenoweth, Kristin. A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, page 201. Touchstone, 2009.
  3. ^ Susman, Gary. "Infectious Laughter". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-04-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ Early version of the pilot script[citation needed]
  5. ^ Adalian, Josef (2005-10-14). "Peacock on 'Studio' beat". Daily Variety. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  6. ^ Downey, Kevin (2006-03-31). "The hot pre-upfront buzz: 'Studio 60'". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  7. ^ Consoli, John (2006-07-10). "NBC Best On Buzzmeter Web Study". MediaWeek. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (2006-09-11). "'West Wing' to West Coast: TV's Auteur Portrays TV". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-10-25. 
  9. ^ Rosenblum, Emma (2006-09-11). "The Not Ready for Prime Time Playoff". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  10. ^ "Jordan McDeere bio". Studio60-guide.com. Retrieved 2008-12-23. [dead link]
  11. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth (2007-04-13). "Some PBS Stations Plan to Show War Film Uncensored". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  12. ^ a b c Friend, Tad (2006-04-24). "Who's on First Dept: Shows about Shows". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  13. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (2006-04-06). "Tina Fey's Brash Bid for Prime Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  14. ^ McFarland, Melanie (2006-07-22). "Tina Fey's Weekend Update: Aaron Sorkin calls her out!". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  15. ^ "2006–07 primetime wrap". The Hollywood Reporter. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-10-14. [dead link]
  16. ^ Starr, Michael (2007-05-01). "Studio Sinks, Not 30 Rock". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  17. ^ a b c d e The guest host mentioned did not actually appear in the episode.
  18. ^ a b c d e The musical guest mentioned did not actually appear in the episode.
  19. ^ The White Stripes were initially the musical guest, but it was revealed they had to cancel. They were replaced by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of Matt's idea for the all-important opening to their first show.
  20. ^ TV Guide Entry, "The Harriet Dinner", Accessed on January 22, 2007.
  21. ^ Grossman, Ben (2006-09-04). "Fall Harvest". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  22. ^ Archived January 18, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Garvin, Glenn (2006-12-24). "2006's most memorable moments: The year in movies, music, television, visual arts, fashion, performing arts and architecture". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  24. ^ "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  25. ^ Collins, Scott (2006-09-25). "Falloff: The numbers could spell trouble for NBC's 'Studio 60'". Relish Now!. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  26. ^ Lisotta, Christopher (2006-09-26). "NBC Wins Monday in Adults 18 to 49; 'Heroes' Soars". TV Week. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  27. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (2006-10-27). "Good-ish news for Studio 60, The Nine, Two Others". TV Guide. Retrieved 2006-11-09. [dead link]
  28. ^ Friedman, Roger (2006-11-03). "'Studio 60' Cancellation Imminent". Fox News. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  29. ^ Goetzl, David (2006-10-31). "FoxNews.com Columnist Gets It Wrong, NBC Says 'Studio 60' Stays Onboard". MediaDailyNews. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  30. ^ "NBC Gives Full Season Order To Critically Acclaimed New Drama 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' For 2006-07" (Press release). NBC. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  31. ^ Grossman, Lev (2006-12-17). "5 Things That Went From Buzz to Bust". TIME.com. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  32. ^ Flynn, Gillian (December 22, 2006). "The Worst". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  33. ^ Netburn, Deborah (December 25, 2006). "Comedy writers aren’t laughing about '60'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  34. ^ Archived October 5, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Studio60-guide.com, ratings
  36. ^ Thefutoncritic.com, news
  37. ^ "Zap2it.com on the Wedding Crashers". 
  38. ^ "E! Online on shows likely to return". , eonline.com
  39. ^ IMDb.com
  40. ^ Ayers, Mike (March 21, 2012). "Amanda Peet returns to television". CNN. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  41. ^ Zap2It Ratings: Rating and Share.
  42. ^ Calendar Live Ratings: Viewers and Rankings.
  43. ^ NY Post: Unfavourable New York Post Article
  44. ^ "Media Life Magazine (18-49 numbers)". 
  45. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: 2006-07 primetime wrap". Hollywood Reporter. May 25, 2007. [dead link]
  46. ^ Episodes 17-22 (Episodes shown at Thursday 10:00 P.M.) are not included in these rating due to them being aired during the summer season
  47. ^ "'Studio 60' Gets Bump from DVRs: NBC series is most 'time-shifted' of season". Zap2it. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  48. ^ "Just why the scuffle over DVR viewing". MediaLife Magazine. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  49. ^ "Screening: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". MediaGuardian. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  50. ^ "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - October Release Date - Cost & Extras for The Complete Series". TVShowsonDVD.com. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 

External links[edit]