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Feature: Primetime

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

The cast

After The West Wing, producer Aaron Sorkin launches his new series – a look behind the scenes on a television comedy show

Forget the fact that no TV series about show business has ever been successful. Aaron Sorkin’s new drama behind the humor of producing a popular late-night comedy sketch show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, will hopefully, and finally, put that ‘fact’ to rest. Trading in the politics of Washington DC, with his award-winning The West Wing, for the backstage politics in this series, the writer/producer acknowledges “at its heart it’s the same thing. It’s about a group of people committed to professionalism, committed to each other, committed to what they’re doing, and hopefully, we enjoy watching them every week. But as political issues came up on The West Wing, I think that Studio 60 is tooled up to deal with issues of the culture wars in an interesting way, because certainly television, in general, and a sketch comedy show like this in particular, would have a front-row seat for that kind of thing.”

In the series, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), a savvy new network chief inherits a massive public relations disaster on the show Studio 60, when the producer of the programme (Judd Hirsch), following an argument over a deleted controversial sketch, goes on TV ala Peter Finch in Network, and tells the viewers to turn the show off. Desperately needing a new producer, McDeere approaches Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford), a brilliant creative team who original helmed the show and who were subsequently fired, to come back and resurrect the program.

by Judy Sloane

Read the full feature in
TV Zone #206

Photo © NBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #206
October 2006
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