Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Season 1 Episode 18

Breaking News

Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 31, 2007 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • A return to form for the embattled series

    If the previous episode emphasized the farcical aspects of the series, then this episode is all about the drama. There are some funny moments throughout the hour, particularly in terms of some great character beats, but the goal is escalation of tension. With the fate of the series sealed, Sorkin is moving towards an endgame, and this is clearly the beginning of that process.

    This is a more organic follow-up to “4AM Miracle”, but “The Disaster Show” fits into the broad statement that Studio 60 has been in a creative tailspin for several weeks. The ratings are dropping into dangerous territory, and by whatever measure Jack determines his support for Jordan, that line is being approached at a vastly accelerated rate. That ratings issue hangs over the episode like black cloud, and while it gives Sorkin a chance to toss some attitude at those who harped over the ratings of his own show, it also provides a clear and concise case for the show’s cancellation.

    The business pressure precipitates and enhances much of the remaining drama. Matt’s situation is absolutely soul-crushing. Having fallen into addiction (and his journey out better not be as easy as he wants it to be), he’s taken the show with him, and it’s affecting everyone else around him. The situation with Karen and her lawsuit, complete with the hottie lawyer with the contradictory personality, just supplies more pressure. He’s trying to convince himself that he’s over Harriet, but he’s not, and the show itself has put forward the idea that he works best when trying to impress her.

    I would have rather seen Danny confront Matt without Suzanne’s help. The eventual confrontation was quite satisfying (if a bit didactic), but it might have been better without the additional layer. That said, it’s good to see Suzanne getting some screen time, given how little there is left to share. But given how the ratings issue built between Danny and Jordan over the hour, the timing was perfect. This was the very last thing Danny needed when the ship is sinking and he’s trying all too hard to pretend it’s not.

    Jordan’s character beats were interesting in that her thoughts must be dominated by the fact that she can’t feel the baby kicking (always a bad sign in fiction, it seems), yet she’s trying to keep things together and deal with her faltering career and the strain it’s putting on her relationship with Danny. That serves to highlight all of the obvious issues with this office romance, and that’s something I applaud. It will never end as badly as it should, but it’s great to see the obstacles come up. (So they can, of course, overcome them by the finale.)

    Had the story focused on the three main characters alone, it would have been worth the time. But this was an incredibly dense hour, and the subplot involving Tom’s brother exploded at just the right moment to take the episode into unexpected and gripping territory. I’ve been critical of the plot and character arcs for the series, and I still think they were the cause of the show’s downfall. The actors and the characters themselves have been the draw for me, and the final act demonstrates why. Given powerful material, the cast steps up to the plate in a huge way. I was left wanting more, and considering where “Studio 60” stands at this point, it’s quite the achievement.
  • Breaking News Review.

    I missed the episode before this one, and it was easy to pick up what's going on. It looks like people are scrambling on the show about the ratings of Studio City (Get it?), and it's pretty easy to see the comparison of Studio 60, and the real show, I don't think that's any coincidence.

    Matt's pill problem came to light...It was an alright scene, but they could have done so much more to make it a scene with more impact.

    The biggest part of the episode was of course the ending, which was built up nicely thought the show between the characters, and when the ending actually came it was done very well, and tasteful...They didn't exploit it, which it could have easily came of as, but they didn't go that way.
  • This one is great compared to the cow manure they gave us last week.

    Gee, what a difference, all the stars are back in an episode and it is so much better. It had moments of West Wing style of drama and writing but too little too late. This show had so much potential but I do not think it had the right concept from the first episode. I saw the pilot on line before it was shown on the tube and without a music soundtrack it was mediocre. Just by adding the music and other assorted background noises it brought the show to life.
    I am sad to see it go, as it was one of the few non Law and Order shows I watch on NBC, and I do not watch them all that often anymore.
    NBC seems to be more interested in making money with gimmicky game shows than good TV. In my opinion who won what money or answered the right question last night does not have the staying power or a good drama, comedy or dramedy. I liked some of the one liners last night, but the show itself could have been better. I think that it failed for a few reasons, one was the cast just did not click as well as West Wing, ER and some of the other large cast shows, there was always something missing.
    Now what will happen is CBS will pick it up, do a minor rework and it will be a hit, we can only hope.
  • I really like the irony that Sorkin put into this episode.

    You can't but notice the similarity of the ratings problem of both shows: both real and imaginery S60s are struggling with ratings and both networks push this topic very hard on them. Still on this line, I also liked the kind of confession that the main problem about ratings is the writing. Other real-world connection that I appreciated was Matthew Perry playing the addiction which was once true in his own life. What I liked:
    - Tom and Lucy's relationship - Jack trying to stop the news from publishing that fact that a celebrity is involved in the kidnap
    - Suzanne's talk to Matt: she was calm, she didn't push him, she just told him her experience and he knew he can't fool her
    - Danny confronting Matt about the pills

    What I didn't like: - the fight between Jordan and Danny and the fact that Danny doesn't take Jordan's advice (it's also out of their storyline because Danny fell in love with her because of her professional behaviour...) - it seemed that after the talk with both Danny and Suzanne, Matt took more pills
  • Studio 60 is/was a great show and this episode shows the great acting and writing. The ending involving Tom's brother and Jordan's pregnancy was truly emotional stuff.

    This episode showed off the superb acting and writing central to Studio 60. The episode was left on a cliffhanger of sorts and was incredibly emotional. The chemistry between Danny and Jordan is great and the friendship between the cast (Harriet, Tom & Simon) is shown at its best here as Simon and Harriet try to decide whether to tell Tom a potentially devestating developement. This is a great episode for Tom too as not only is there the story involving his brother but also his budding romance with lucy. Overall a terrific episode, perhaps the best of the season in my eyes. The show in general has been awesome and like sport's night, Sorkin's other great TV show (And the West Wing obviously) it should not have been cancelled while reality shows remain.
  • A show about the show about the show...

    How much of what Sorkin was writing was about fictitional Studio 60 and how much was he venting spleen about the real life situation?

    Some very good dialogue (best of the series so far) mixed in with the usual humour and dramatic tension.

    Why oh why this is getting cancelled I do not know. One of the most intelligent and well crafted bits of TV being aired at the moment. But wait, Big Brother's started again so it'll all be alright.

    Sort of thing the BBC should pick up and make for themselves...
  • How does this show get canceled?

    Anyone who watched the last 10 minutes of this episode and wasn't moved does not have a pulse. The writing and acting from start to finish was outstanding. Watching the entire cast struggle with the issues of low ratings (as I’m sure the actual cast did) was just spectacular. Then tying it all together around drug problem of Matthew Perry's character was great. I'm truly sad to see this show go. This was one of those episodes that propel shows to greatness. And due to impatient TV execs we won't see much more of studio 60.
  • Best episode of the now ended series. If they had this quality of writing/story to begin with, it would've floated on for at least another season

    Boy oh boy. Aaron Sorkin sure doesn't have good timing. This episode was so reminiscent of the best episodes of West Wing, it's scary. I remember the season 4 finale of West Wing, and the tension, suspense, and tragedy that all got wrapped up in a few minutes toward the end... and it's a Sorkin trademark. He can come up with the best few moments in television, with his combination of writing, directing, and getting the actors to know exactly how to react. Even the music was perfectly suited to the situation.

    Marvelous episode. Too bad it was way too late.
  • Spoilers...

    This episode should have made the tv execs pick this show up. From a long, long time ago in an episode called "Nevada Day." you heard about Tom Jeter's brother... Well in this episode you hear about him again and you are reduced to tears with what's going on and realising that what is happening to is brother is what is REALLY happening out there... Not so long ago a journalist from my home country (UK) had exactly the same thing happen to him and he was killed. I was crying I mean even my friend laughed at me but she wasn't watching it at the time so she didn't understand why I was like why I was, I've entered into the world of these people and I'm upset that there's only ever going to be one series. Tom Jeter was never actually one of my favourite cast members but this episode has made me see him in a whole new light and I like him a lot now and I really feel for him even though it's not real and just a show, it's one's like these that can move you to the point of tears that make you realise how well written some shows are. Aaron Sorkin should be proud of this and rather upset that it ended way before it should have.
  • Ratings, Ratings, Ratings and a heavy ending.

    What a show.... this surely can't be the end of the series! Excellent writing and stellar perfomance by the entire cast. I do hope to find an outcome of the issues it left unresolved. Danny and Matt return with a slightly out-of-sorts Jordan. With Jack performing better and better the more the show continues, the entire cast has gelled into this amazing force to be reckoned with on TV. Congrats to all those who did a grand job and a big kudos to Aaron Sorkin for writing what we hope will not be the last episode. Nice subliminal messages to the NBC board to try to relax about the ratings.... Nice touch, dear man, Nice touch.
  • Everything starts happening at once: Matt's pill usage gets discovered, Jordan has trouble with her pregnancy, and Tom's brother is kidnapped by Al Qaeda.

    Breaking News was honestly one of the best episodes of TV I have every watched, regardless of the show. It was also one of the most emotional. It was the best. The acting was perfect. If this show hadn't been canceled, Matthew Perry should have been nominated for an Emmy this year coming up. You can't see any Chandler in Matthew Albie. When Suzanne confronts Matt about his pill abuse, his acting is indescribable. It actually made me cry a little; he really made the audience feel what he was feeling. And Suzanne did an incredible job. You could really tell she cared a lot about Matt... it was a very touching scene. I hope the Matt/pill thing will resolve alright, but if its an easy ride, I'll be disappointed. Danny is proof of it, and if Matt doesn't have a tough time, then I doubt it will be realistic. Did anyone else catch when he was taking the pills, that he had put them in the vitamin bottle? Does anyone else think that it was just a cover, and that he's still taking them?

    Danny was brilliant too, especially when he confronted Matt himself about his pill abuse. That was probably one of my top ten TV moments of all time. Perry and Whitford have this amazing on screen chemistry - its a crime that they won't be back for another season.

    Tom's brother's story was really sad too... You could tell what was going to happen right in the beginning, as he was doing his segment as the Vice President's Press Secretary, that scene was kind of foreshadowed it. His reaction at the end was really sad. I hope his brother will be okay...

    And Jordan's pregnancy story was excellent as well. We didn't get to find out much about it, as the show was already packed with the above, but it set the scene for what will hopefully be an excellent next episode. I hope the baby's okay!

    Overall this was probably the most intense, emotional 42 minutes I've ever watched. Sorkin managed to blend a whole range of stories together to create a seamless blend of comedy, tragedy, and everything in between. It's a crime this show hasn't been re-newed.