Daily Archives: January 22, 2006
NBC announced Sunday it was pulling the plug on the Emmy-winning political drama after seven seasons in May
The new president on The West Wing will be a real short-timer:
NBC, struggling to regain its footing after the worst season in its history, also outlined several midseason schedule changes — including the moves of popular dramas Law & Order and Las Vegas.
The West Wing announcement wasn’t much of a surprise. Although this season’s story line with a presidential campaign involving a Democrat played by Jimmy Smits and Republican portrayed by Alan Alda has been strong critically, ratings have sunk with its move to Sunday nights. The decision to cancel it was made before actor John Spencer, who played former presidential chief of staff Leo McGarry, died of a heart attack Dec. 16, said Kevin Reilly, NBC entertainment president. "There’s a point when you look at the ratings and say, it feels like it’s time," Reilly said.
The series finale will be May 14, preceded by a one-hour retrospective.
The campaign to replace the fictional Josiah Bartlet as president will be settled, NBC said
The West Wing" holds the record for most Emmys won by a series in a single season (its first) and has earned 90 total nominations to date. Other awards include a Peabody Award for Excellence in Television, five Golden Globe nominations and one Golden Globe Award for Best Drama Series, and three Television Critics Association Awards.
At the core of the current 2005-06 season is the campaign between Democratic nominee Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican challenger Vinick (Alan Alda) for the Presidency. President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his team find themselves leading the country with the administration’s days coming to a close.
WEST WING COCKTAIL PARTY
"Actors and producers toasted the show’s end Sunday night at a cocktail party with television critics, who championed the series from the beginning.
"We knew we had a special show and we remained as a family," said Martin Sheen, who portrayed President Josiah Bartlet. "We all knew that we weren’t going to get this kind of a chance again."
Series producers have only in the past few days decided who would win the presidential campaign that has been this season’s main story; it will be revealed in April. The contest pits a Democrat played by Jimmy Smits and a Republican portrayed by Alan Alda, and the show’s writers have fought over who should win.
"It’s been quite a brawl," said John Wells, executive producer.
Although "The West Wing" briefly considered it calling it quits after Spencer’s death, or remaking episodes featuring him that were filmed but not yet aired, Wells said they ultimately decided to use the late actor’s work.
It’s been tricky working the death into the story line; McGarry was a candidate for vice president, and producers found there was no constitutional provision for what happens when a candidate dies so close to the election.
"We’re now dealing with the death of a character we loved after having dealt with the death of a person we loved," Wells said.
Lawrence O’Donnell, a former Washington insider who is one of the show’s executive producers, said he knew the show was making a cultural impact when he found politicians who rarely watch TV were fans. He found it a better place to debate issues than real political shows on TV, he said.
Actor Bradley Whitford said he once heard from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was upset that nobody seemed to care when his television counterpart died.
"I actually would get lobbied by lobbyists," he said. "I thought they wanted my autograph. But they were lobbying to get their issues mentioned on the show."
Producers are negotiating the return of Rob Lowe, the early series star who left because he was upset by his diminished role, for the finale. Series creator Aaron Sorkin — responsible for the rapid-fire style of dialogue — has no plans to return.
Sheen said the show’s most positive impact on the country was, during a cynical time, to make people realize the important job that public servants perform.
"The government continues because of people who care for the country," he said."
Stockard Channing Emmy, Best Supporting Actress (2002)
Allison Janney Emmy, Best Supporting Actress (2000, 2001) Emmy, Best Actress (2002, 2004) SAG Award, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000, 2001)
Richard Schiff Emmy, Best Supporting Actor (2000)
Martin Sheen Golden Globe, Best Actor in a Dramatic Television Series (2001) SAG Award, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2000, 2001)
John Spencer Emmy, Best Supporting Actor (2002)
Bradley Whitford Emmy, Best Supporting Actor (2001)
MY TWO CENTS
Thank you Aaron Sorkin and the West Wing cast (from all 7 seasons) for creating a show that brought excellence to our living rooms all of these years. Your work will be remembered and it will certainly be missed.
And NBC Since the end of the show has been announced, please make sure you do your best to live up to the standard of The West Wing at its best. Don’t overreach and go for the most showy exit. Go for the best written, most true-to-character ending you can do.
I SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES…….