Original Release Date: March 12, 2002

Teleplay by:
Jim Hamilton

Excerpts from:
"Music Lessons" by Caroline

Estimated Run Time:



Dan and Bobbi Bernstein are in the midst of their broadcast.

Dan: (on-air) Bobbi and I will be back to talk about this weekend's NASCAR and Busch Series races in Darlington.

Bobbi: (on-air) We'll also have highlights from the late games in the NHL and NBA. You're watching Sports Night on CSC. We'll be right back.

The rest of the crew works inside the control room.

Dave: We're out.

Chris: Three minutes back.

Dana: How are we looking on time?

Natalie: We're running about 20 seconds long.

Dana: Okay. How do you feel about dropping the NFL rumor mill and airing it tomorrow night?

Natalie: That will probably leave us about 15-20 seconds short.

Dana: Jeremy? What's the story with the NBA?

Jeremy: Three out of the four games we're updating have had awe-inspiring defensive efforts.

Dana: They're scoring under 90 points?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Dana: Lots of blocked shots and steals?

Jeremy: Just lousy shooting.

Elliott enters the control room.

Elliott: There's a story coming across the wire right now. There's a club outside of Clearwater called the "Aqua Vitae," where 4 members of the Devil Rays were having a good time. It appears the deck at the back of the club collapsed while the players were out there.

Dana: Are they all right?

Elliott: It's coming across right now.

Jeremy: I'll pull it up.

Jeremy starts typing on his laptop.

Dana: Did the wire give any names or the number of people involved?

Elliott: The wire reports says around 50 people were involved, but none of the names have been released.

Jeremy begins reading from his screen.

Jeremy: I got it here. Initial reports states the club is about 10 miles outside of the Devil Rays' training camp. Witnesses say there could be as many as 100 people on the deck when it fell. Officials haven't made any official comments or confirmations.

Dana: Jack Jankowitz is down there covering spring training. Get on the phone and let him know.

Jeremy: I'll get on it.

Jeremy gets up and leaves the control room.

Dana: Okay. Let's drop the NFL, bump up the NBA highlights, and then we'll follow with the Devil Rays.

Natalie: Wouldn't you want to drop back NASCAR and lead with the Devil Rays?

Dana: Yeah, but I'm hoping the extra few minutes will allow us to receive further developments.

Back at the anchor desk, Alyson is applying makeup to Dan.

Alyson: Could you hold still for a second, Dan?

Alyson finishes the final touches on Dan.

Dan: You see a stylist everyday?

Bobbi: At least every other day. You didn't think my hair looks this great all the time, did you Dan?

Dan: Well, yeah. What I don't understand is why I have to have so much makeup.

Alyson: You sweat.

Dan: It gets hot under the lights. It's one of the reasons why I prefer to wear shorts during the broadcast.

Alyson: In March?

Dan: In the summer.

Alyson: Your sweat reflects off the lights, and I need to make sure everything looks great.

Dan: I sweat just like everyone else. Bobbi sweats.

Alyson: Bobbi looks fine. You sweat an abnormal amount.

Dan: I've never noticed a problem.

Bobbi: Maybe because you've had it all of your life.

Dan: So all this makeup isn't because I have an image problem. I just sweat more than Bobbi?

Alyson: Yes.

Dan: Good.

Alyson: And also, I need to make sure there isn't a reflection coming off your nose.

Dan: Since when?

Alyson: Since as long as I've been here.

Dan: Are you done?

Alyson: Yes.

Dan: You can go now.

Alyson: Okay.

Alyson leaves the anchor desk.

Back inside the control room: Chris and Will are putting the next segments, graphics, and audio on stand-by; Elliott is using his laptop to search for further breaking news; Natalie is reworking the shot sheet and the teleprompter; Dana finishes her final checks with the live feeds.

Isaac enters the control room.

Isaac: Good evening, everybody.

Dana: Isaac Jaffee is back in the house, folks.

Isaac: How has it been going?

Dana: We've got breaking news out of Clearwater about an accident involving members of the Devil Rays.

Isaac: I hope everyone is all right.

Dana: Elliott is scanning for further developments, and Jeremy is on the phone with Jack Jankowitz.

Isaac: Good. After the broadcast, I would like to have a word with you.

Dana: About?

Isaac: We'll talk about it after the broadcast.

Dana: Okay.

Dan can be seen on the monitors inside the control room.

Dan: Is there a problem with my nose?

Isaac: What's he talking about?

Dana: Just ignore him. (into mic) There's nothing wrong with your nose, Danny. Everything's fine.

Chris: There's a lighting problem.

Will: And adjusting the lights won't help.

Dana: I'm aware of that.

Dave: In 5, 4, 3, 2...

Back on the set, the light goes on above camera three.

Dan: (on-air) We're back. Qualifying for this weekend's race in Darlington took place earlier today, and fans are hoping for another close finish as Dale Jarrett nosed out... barely squeaked by Ward Burton in last year's event. Let's send it out to Jennifer Atwater, who has today's results and also had a chance to speak with the race's pole-sitter.

Jennifer's segment begins airing.

Dana: (into mic) Guys, you'll need to make some changes. We're dropping the NFL, bumping up the NBA, and finishing it with breaking news from Florida.

Dan: What is it?

Jeremy walks onto the set and hands Bobbi and Dan each a copy of the updated hard copy.

Jeremy: There's been an accident involving 4 players from the Devil Rays.

Dan and Bobbi start reading over the sheets.

Bobbi: Are we going to relay it to somebody?

Dana: (into mic) We're keeping it right here. Elliott is still gathering details. Bobbi, you're going to use about 20 seconds for the report. If there are any last-minute updates, I'll let you know and have Natalie update the teleprompter as it comes across.

Bobbi: Good.

Dan: Is everyone all right?

Dana: (into mic) I don't know.

Elliott: (into mic) Witnesses report seeing over a dozen ambulances at the scene, but there hasn't been any confirmation of injuries or fatalities.

Dan: I take it that the accident scene looks very serious.

Elliott: (into mic) There isn't any reports of life-flight helicopters being dispatched, but everything is still sketchy.

Dan: Thanks, guys.

Alyson comes over and quickly touches-up Dan's forehead.

Dan: Okay, I just want to say that even though it may appear that I'm sweating, the reason is not because I am rattled and nervous. I am very calm and collected. It has to do with a combination of the lighting, the room temperature, and the possibility I may have a sweat gland problem.

Dana: (into mic) We try to keep the studio cool by keeping it at 68 degrees.

Dan: Well you try sitting under these heat lamps an hour a night. I feel like a burger at a fast-food restaurant.

Natalie: (into mic) Danny? Birds could perch on your nose, but they don't because your sweat would make it too slick.

Dana: Thanks a lot, Natalie.

Dan: So you are saying there is a problem?

Natalie: No problem, Dana. (into mic) Just forget about what I just said. Don't worry about it.

Dan: Certain observations were made without informing me. You can't drop it just like that.

Natalie: (into mic) I think I just did.

Bobbi: Everyone has their little imperfections, Dan. It's not a big deal.

Dan: We work in a business where looks account for a great deal. If there is a problem with my nose, then it needs to be addressed.

Dana: (into mic) This is not the time to be bringing this up, Danny.

Dan: But-

Dana: (into mic) I'll have Alyson come over and remove all makeup from your nose. Your nose will shine brighter than Rudolph's at Christmas time.

Dave: Back in 5.

Dan: Well, I'll be sure to bring this up later. (on-air) Thank you Jennifer for that report from Darlington. This weekend's race looks to be another exciting one...


You follow Dana from behind as she walks down the corridor towards Isaac's office. The door is already open as she enters. Isaac is looking over some paperwork.

Dana: You wanted to see me, Isaac?

Isaac: Sure. Close the door behind you and have a seat.

Isaac removes his glasses and straightens out his paperwork as Dana closes the door. He takes his small stack and places it at the edge of his desk. When he is finished, Dana is seated in front of Isaac's desk.

Dana: What's up?

Isaac: I'm having a meeting tomorrow with Donna and some more of the executives. I wanted to give you a heads up and a possible reaction.

Dana: Okay, but why?

Isaac: Our show is on the agenda.

Dana: Well, you always talk about my show. I take it the meeting is going to be more substantial. What are you thinking?

Isaac: I'm thinking the network is going to say our show needs to shape up.

Dana: Our ratings have been good and steady. I would think the network would be pleased. Our numbers are higher than last year's.

Isaac: In previous meetings, the network said they should be higher.

Dana: And they still think we can beat ESPN night after night. It's an unrealistic goal.

Isaac: I think they are going to talk about the discipline or lack thereof on our show.

Dana: What? So we like to have a little fun. It doesn't affect what we do and how we do it.

Isaac: The network has been passing along some notes, and I've tried to give subtle hints about what needs to be done. I think tomorrow's meeting is going to involve the network taking a stronger stance.

Dana: What do you think they are going to do?

Isaac: I think they are going to have Sam work with the show.

Dana: Not again, Isaac.

Isaac: Sam Donovan has been an asset for the network. Ever since he started working on all of the shows, the network has increased viewership.

Dana: What is he going to do? Instill the discipline that we so desperately need? We do a very good job with the show as it is.

Isaac: The network probably thinks we can become more efficient.

Dana: More efficient? They basically want more work and fewer hours from us, when it is nearly impossible because we are so understaffed. When Elliott was promoted to associate producer, no one replaced his old production associate spot. We've been down two P.A.'s for I don't know how long. I think this "lack of discipline" helps keep us from burning out.

Isaac: This "lack of discipline" has cost the network a lot of money. I received estimates totaling over two-thousand dollars for the items that were missing or damaged when there was the rampage of practical jokes. It's one thing to have fun, but it's another thing when people are being destructive.

Dana: And you're right. Everyone has drastically scaled back their destructive ways.

Isaac: I just wanted to let you know, just in case changes are made over the next few days.

Dana: Well, I appreciate it. I just don't think Sam Donovan can do much more to improve our show.

Isaac: I'm just speculating on Sam.

Dana: I'm going to need at least one production associate right away. It cannot wait any longer.

Isaac: I know.

Dana: Isaac, you have to understand that we need to have time to properly train some people to help out with the show. I need to make sure my staff is self-reliant this fall.

Isaac: Why this fall?

Dana looks at Isaac for a moment.

Dana: The football season is fast approaching. I don't think we can survive without having the right people in their positions.

Isaac: Okay.

Dana: I'll take anyone, as long as they can be trained.

Isaac: The network has been saying that they've been finalizing the plan for our production associates.

Dana: They have a plan?

Isaac: I don't know if it has to do with salaries, hours, or experience. I just know they are coming up with a formula, and you and I are expected to accept it.

Dana: They're going over our heads? The people making the decisions have never produced a show. How do they know what to look for in a candidate?

Isaac: I'm hoping to find out tomorrow.

Dana: Isaac, I don't want to play games with them.

Isaac: Neither do I.

Dana: Then what are we supposed to do?

Isaac: We'll just have to see their proposals before we decide to take any action.

Dana: Okay.

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