Sports Night

ABC (ended 2000)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 22

    Quo Vadimus

    Aired 5/16/00

  • S 2 : Ep 21

    La Forza Del Destino

    Aired 5/9/00

  • S 2 : Ep 20

    Bells And A Siren

    Aired 4/4/00

  • S 2 : Ep 19

    April is the Cruelest Month

    Aired 3/28/00

  • S 2 : Ep 18

    Draft Day: Part II - The Fall of Ryan O'Brian

    Aired 3/21/00

  • Cast & Crew
  • Josh Charles

    Dan Rydell

  • Peter Krause

    Casey McCall

  • Felicity Huffman

    Dana Whitaker

  • Joshua Malina

    Jeremy Goodwin

  • Sabrina Lloyd

    Natalie Hurley

  • Photos (1)
  • show Description
  • Sports Night ran nearly two full seasons on the ABC network in the United States during the '98-99 and '99-00 seasons. Created by Emmy Award winning writer/director, Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The American President), this was his first venture into television. Smart, fast-paced, witty and featuring a fine ensemble cast, Sports Night struggled in the ratings from the start, particularly during its second season, when it was routinely pre-empted and moved from night to night. Art imitated life imitating art, as the show-within-a-show took on a consultant (William H. Macy, in his first TV role since his stint on ER), hired to "tweak" the ratings. The show-within-a-show continued to falter, amidst rumors of the imminent sale of its network and the subsequent gutting of its staff. Upon its cancellation, several networks, most notably HBO, came to Sorkin for a possible move to the respected network, but nothing was ever solidified. Sports Night gained additional exposure through a subsequent syndication on Comedy Central.Awards:2001 Image AwardsNominated – Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series; Robert Guillaume2001 Satellite AwardsNominated – Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical; Robert Guillaume2000 Emmy AwardsWinner – Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series; Peter Smokler ("The Cut Man Cometh")Nominated – Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series; Bonnie Zane and Paula RosenbergNominated – Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series; Thomas Schlamme ("Quo Vadimus")Nominated – Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series; Janet Ashikaga ("The Cut Man Cometh")Nominated – Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series; William H. Macy2000 Golden Globe AwardsNominated – Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series, Comedy/Musical; Felicity Huffman2000 PGA Awards (Producers Guild of America)Nominated – Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television; Aaron Sorkin, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Tony Krantz, Thomas Schlamme, Rob Scheidlinger2000 DGA Awards (Directors Guild of America)Won – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series; Thomas Schlamme ("Small Town")2000 Eddie Award (American Cinema Editors)Nominated – Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television; Janet Ashikaga ("Small Town")2000 SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild)Nominated – Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series; Josh Charles, Robert Guillaume, Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause, Sabrina Lloyd, Joshua Malina2000 Artios (Casting Society of America)Nominated – Best Casting for TV, Comedy Episodic; Bonnie Zane, Paula Rosenberg2000 Image AwardsNominated – Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series; Robert Guillaume1999 Emmy AwardsWon – Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series; Thomas Schlamme (pilot)Won – Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series; Janet Ashikaga ("Small Town")Nominated – Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series; Aaron Sorkin ("The Apology")1999 DGA Award (Directors Guild of America)Won – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series; Thomas Schlamme (pilot)1999 Art Directors GuildNominated – Excellence in Production Design Award, Television Series; Thomas Azzari1999 Artios (Casting Society of America)Nominated - Best Casting for TV, Comedy Episodic; Bonnie Zane and Paula RosenbergNominated – Best Casting for TV, Comedy Pilot; Bonnie Zane and Paula Rosenberg1999 TCA Award (Television Critics Association)Won – Outstanding Achievement in ComedyNominated – New Program of the YearNominated – Program of the Year1999 Humanitas PrizeWon – 30 Minute Category; Aaron Sorkin, Matt Tarses, David Walpert, Bill Wrubel ("The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee")Nominated – 30 Minute Category; Bill Wrubel, Aaron Sorkin ("The Quality Of Mercy At 29K")1999 Image AwardsNominated – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series; Robert Guillaume1999 Genesis AwardsWon – Television, New Series ("The Hungry and the Hunted")moreless

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (139)

    • Casey: (to Dan) It's not that my teasers are better than yours, Danny, it's that yours a vastly inferior to mine.

    • Dana: (to Casey) I love producing Sports Night. I live from 11 to midnight, and the rush is so huge I don't come down until three o'clock in the morning. I love doing Sports Night, and you used to, too.

    • Casey: Here's something I don't understand about rugby... Dan: Whoa. You DO understand about rugby? Casey: I played rugby alright. Now I wanna ask you a question... Dan: Wait, wait, WHEN have you played rugby? Casey: When I was in college, I played co-ed rugby. Dan: (laughing) You did not play rugby.

    • Casey: You wanna do somethin tonight after the show? Dan: Yeah. You know I was gonna ride the Staten Island Ferry for a while and eat a hot dog. You wanna come? Casey: Yeah. I do. And I'll tell you why. Cause it's 17 degrees outside with the wind chill so what I wanna do is stand outside in the middle of New York Harbor at half past midnight. Dan: You have a better idea? Casey: Well, we could go to a bar, find some people we don't like and beat the crap out of them. (Dan high fives Casey)

    • Dana: What are your favorite sports? Jeremy: I beg your pardon? Dana: Where are you strongest? Jeremy: Oh, football. Dana: Great, let's talk about basketball. Jeremy: I said football. Dana: I heard you. Let's talk about basketball. Jeremy: Ah, we could talk about baseball or hockey. Dana: You're pretty strong in baseball and hockey, are you? Jeremy: Not as strong as football, but... Dana: Great, let's talk about the Knicks. Jeremy: I walked right into that one, didn't I. Dana: Well, I left the door wide open for you. Natalie: Shot of bourbon? Jeremy: Please. Dana: Sit. I'm sorry, that was harsh, I hurt your feelings. Name three things the Knicks need to do this season, to make it to the finals. Jeremy: I couldn't get another question? Dana: You will. But not till I get an answer to the first one. Jeremy: What do the Knicks... Dana: Three things the Knicks need to do to contend. Jeremy: Ms. Whitaker, I'd be great at this job. You gotta believe me when I tell you I've been training my whole life for it. I've crunched stats, I've broken down film, and there wasn't a team at my high school that didn't have me for an equipment manager. I have read every box score in every paper that's written in english and has a sports section and I have seen Sports Night every night since your first broadcast, two years, two months, and a week ago today. Now yes, sure, indeed, I can tell you what Ewing and Oakley are shooting from the field, and I can tell you that you're not gonna stop John Starks if he squares up to the basket, and put any defensive pressure on Charlie Ward he's gonna fold like a cheap card table. But if you're asking me for genuinly sophisticated analysis, AND I SENSE THAT YOU ARE, you gotta give me some time. At least 20 minutes. Did that make any sense? Dana: I wasn't really listening. Jeremy: Oh God. Dana: Jeremy, Jeremy. This is television, things happen. If you wanna work here you gotta not spontaneously wig out. Natalie: Not till an hour before airtime. Jeremy: Right. Right. The Knicks. Dana: Name three things! Jeremy: Inprove their Free-Throw Percentage. Natalie: Yes. Jeremy: Run the floor. Dana: OK, one more. Jeremy: Tell Spike Lee to sit down and shut up? Natalie: Excellent! Dana: Well, welcome to Sports Night.

    • Casey: Listen, I need you to take 30 seconds off the NFL injury report and give it to me for the intro on ACC recruiting violations. Dana: Fine. Casey: Thanks. Dana: You're screwing up my show, Casey. Casey: Keep the 30 seconds. Dana: That's not what I mean. Casey: I know, I was joking. Dana: I know you were joking. Casey: I could tell by the way you didn't laugh at all when I said it. Dana: That's cause I'm mad at you and also because it wasn't that funny.

    • Casey: 32 points. It was a career high. Then he sends a guy to the hospital with 14 stitches. Can you imagine if he'd had a lousy game? Dan: You come in early? Casey: I came in early. Dan: You slept in the office? Casey: I came in early. Dan: You came in yesterday. Casey: (whining) Mom.

    • (Dan is going over the script and raises his hand) Dan: Ah, excuse me!? Dana: Dan's got his hand raised. Dan: Why are we quoting high level sources inside the Swiss Olympic Commitee on Helsinki's bid for the 2010 Olympics? Dana: What's the problem? Dan: Helsinki's in Finland. Dana: Really? Dan: Don't worry, I got it. Dana: Are you sure? Dan: Am I sure that Helsinki's in Finland? Yeah. I'm quite sure. Chris: I thought it was in Sweden. Will: It says unnamed Swiss olympic officials. Natalie: Graphics! Which is it -- Sweden or Switzerland? Casey: It's in Finland! Natalie: Elliot! Get something up on the net. Elliot: What do you need? Natalie: We think Helsinki might be in Finland. Dan: Yeah. We think there's a pretty good chance. Dave: Coming in live in 15. Dana: We'll change it on the teleprompter. Dan: Cool. Dave: In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Dan: (on camera)Good evening everybody. From New York City, I'm Dan Rydell alongside Casey McCall, those stories and more plus we'll take you live to the lockerroom at Arrowhead. Casey: All that coming up after this. You're watching Sports Night on CSC so stick around. Dave: We're out. Up in 60. Elliot: Yeah. Finland. The national bird is the Whooping Swan. Casey and Dan: (snidely, in unison) Thank you.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (84)

    • Bernard Hocke was replaced by Jeff Mooring after this episode. They play a character called "Dave", the Sports Night technical director. Claire (played by Nina Jane Barry) is never seen again.

    • Sorkin Intersections:
      > Felicity Huffman guested on The West Wing.
      > Joshua Malina recurred on The West Wing. He also appeared in A Few Good Men and The American President.
      > Greg Baker guested on The West Wing.
      > Timothy Davis-Reed recurred on The West Wing, and guested on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
      > Ron Ostrow recurred on The West Wing, and guested on Studio 60 and The Newsroom. He also appeared in A Few Good Men and Charlie Wilson's War.

    • Thomas Schlamme won the 1999 Emmy award for "Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series" for his directing on this episode.

    • According to some sources, originally, the idea of the show was to have Casey as the lead, and Dan as the loyal sidekick friend; however, in writing it and some lobbying from Josh Charles, Sorkin decided to develop the team more equally.

    • In early copies of the script, Natalie's last name was "Rydell", and Dan's was "Rosen." Also, the network was called "SNN" rather than CSC.

    • Joshua Malina originally wanted and auditioned for the part of Dan Rydell. Sorkin already had Josh Charles in mind for Dan, but rewrote Jeremy Goodwin's character especially for Malina, who he had worked with previously.

    • One of the commercials for Sports Night included the slogan: "It's about sports like Baywatch is about water safety"

    • Alternate production code is 514-H.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (41)

    • During the rundown meeting, Dana mentions that the story on Ntosake Nelson on the show was promoting the games. Later that day they are watching it on TV after that they go on in eleven minutes. How would a story be promoting an event if the story is given after the event? Perhaps what they were watching on TV was only one of the overall events being broadcast? The promo piece would have followed his run as color, but still been attempting to drum up interest in the rest of the coverage of The Games.

    • Gaff: As Isaac walks in to get Casey he is wearing a name tag. When he goes in it is gone. When he walks back out it is back again.

    • Isaac: ...No rich young white guy has ever gotten anywhere with me comparing himself to Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks performed a highly influential act in the early civil rights movement. In the fifties, in Montgomery, AL, black people rode in the back of the bus, white people in the front. The middle sections varied, depending on need and the decision of the conductor/driver. In 1955, Parks was on a bus, seated in the middle section. When the white sections filled up, and more whites got on, the conductor directed the black people in frontmost middle row to get up to make room for them. Parks refused, the conductor had her arrested. The subsequent bus boycott was a significant part of the nascent civil rights efforts, especially since it provided a very public soapbox for a then-little-known minister named Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Dan: Also, grab your notebooks, we're going to take you inside the 4-3 defense, on this week's edition of Inside The 4-3 Defense The 4-3 defense is the most common defensive organization used in modern professional football, consisting of four linemen (located immediately adjacent the line of scrimmage) and three linebackers located behind the linemen, who can shift function depending on whether the developing play appears to be a run or a pass play. Other common variations of the defense are 3-4 and 4-4, defined by the number of linemen and linebackers. Legendary coach Tom Landry is often credited with creating the modern version of the 4-3 in the 1950s.

    • Casey: Those stories, plus -- grab your galoshes, we're gonna take you out to the Iditarod. The Iditarod is an annual Alaskan dog sled race, run since 1973 along the Iditarod Trail, a pioneering dogsled route.

    • The door to Dan and Casey's office is moved starting with this episode. In episodes 1-1 and 1-2 the door was located at the corner of their office. Starting with this episode it is moved one pane in, closer to the middle of the office.

    • Casey and Dana appear to have known each other in college, and worked together previously in the TV markets of Dallas and L.A.

    • Casey's birthday is apparently September 5th.

    Show More Trivia

    Allusions (24)

    • Casey: ...and let's not forget the mother of all great sports stories, a double homicide in Brentwood. One-time football great O.J. Simpson was tried and acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted nine months and divided the country. It is generally presumed that O.J. was actually guilty of the crime, but due to police tampering with the evidence along with racial issues, he was allowed to go free.

    • Casey Any atrocity, no matter how hideous or ridiculous or childish, it doesn't matter, I make it "sports"... ten cent bagman whacks a skater's leg with a crowbar? That's "sports"... Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked in 1994 by a man wielding a blunt object after a practice at the U.S. Olympic trials. Teammate Tonya Harding was later found guilty of hindering a police investigation that found her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly guilty of helping plan the attack, and her body guard and his friends of executing the attack, with the intention of removing Kerrigan from competition, where she tended to beat Harding consistently.

    • Casey mentions the Starland Vocal Band. The Starland Vocal Band was a 70s one-shot-wonder known for their only hit Afternoon Delight. They actually got to host a summer "replacement" TV variety show as a result of the hit.

    • Dan: "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky. To the flung spume and the blown spray and the... I don't know, the thing in my eye." Actually, this is two nonsequential lines from a poem titled, Sea Fever, by British poet John Masefield. The completed first line is perhaps more recognizable: I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by and the second line is: And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    • Casey: ...I'm like Tippi Hedrin in there... Tippi Hedren, the star of a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960s films, is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. While she has been in numerous movies and TV episodes, possibly her best known role was as the heroine of one of Hitchcock's most famous films, 1963's The Birds, in which she is repeatedly attacked (as are many others) by feral birds in this Nature-gone-wild horror/suspense film.

    • Jeremy: ...maybe he only makes himself visible to you, like the rabbit in Harvey Harvey is a classic 1950 Jimmy Stewart film (based on a Pulitzer prize winning play) about a man befriended by a giant, anthropomorphic rabbit (called a 'pooka'), named Harvey, which only he can see. It is a classic commedy of errors (and manners).

    • Casey: ... it's like a sound check at a Black Sabbath concert... Black Sabbath is a British heavy metal band, formed in 1968, with a long lineup of now-classic songs. The band was ranked number one in MTV's list of The Greatest Metal Bands of All Time (as of 2008). The most well-known member is lead singer Ozzy Osbourne. The name of the band is itself derived from the 1963 Boris Karloff horror movie of the same title.

    • Natalie: We all remember a Boston Globe reporter who was strong, Danny. There isn't a female sports journalist that didn't learn their lesson from it. She had death threats. The FBI had to open her mail.
      In 1990, Lisa Olson, a sports writer for the Boston Herald, expressed allegations of sexual harassment by five New England Patriots players in the locker room.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (40)
  • A fine show, but the writing style was formulaic.

    By jvma7621, Jun 21, 2008

  • Not bad.

    By da_dunker, May 06, 2007

  • More than a decade later I'm writing reviews, complaining about good shows that are canceled because they're too intelligent for the general public and I compare them each to the mother of all criminal cancelations: Sports Night

    By ap14rcf70, Apr 18, 2009

  • Quite simply - the best show ever. Excellent writing, acting, direction.

    By joag95, Jul 22, 2008

  • Stupendous show, Sorkin at his best.

    By greatniz, Apr 07, 2007

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