Can't Stop the Music

Original Release Date: March 26, 2002

Teleplay by:
Jim Hamilton

Estimated Run Time:


Some of you may read this story and ask, "Where is Dana?"


Inside the conference room, a rundown meeting is underway. The room seems very somber as the meeting continues. Natalie sits at the head of the conference room table. Sitting to Natalie's right are: Bobbi, Dan, and Jeremy. Isaac sits at the other end, while the other three seats are occupied by Elliott, Chris, and Will. Dave stands against the wall and Lindsey, the intern, stands taking careful notes.

Natalie: There may be possible breaking news from Boston, so everyone be prepared.

Elliott: We're preparing ourselves for breaking news?

Natalie: From Boston.

Elliott: What if there is breaking news from Detroit?

Jeremy: 'Anticipation' is the word Natalie is trying to convey.

Natalie: Yes, I anticipate breaking news from Boston. So anticipate and prepare to change the segments around.

Elliott: Got it.

Natalie: Jeremy? What's the word on hockey?

Jeremy: Scoring.

Natalie looks at Jeremy.

Natalie: And?

Jeremy: You wanted a word.

Natalie: How about a few more?

Jeremy: A lack of scoring.

Natalie's look turns into a glare.

Jeremy: What? I was hoping to pick up the overall disposition by using my sense of humor.

Natalie: You're trying to be cute?

Jeremy: 'Funny' is what I was trying to achieve.

Natalie: I'll pick up the overall disposition by coming over there and kicking your-

Isaac: What do you have on hockey, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Not much, sir. I figure we can do a story on the Thrashers. They've been shut-out the last three games and haven't scored in the last 197 minutes.

Dan: I have something to say about this.

Natalie: You've been quiet this whole meeting, Danny. Do you have something to add?

Dan: Yes. Speaking of being shut-out...

Lindsey: Here we go.

Dan: How is it that we... we as a network, could be possibly ignored by the association? Zero nominations. None. Zippo. Zilch.

Bobbi: I think we understand the picture, Dan.

Dan: Do you know who received nominations?

Jeremy: Let me guess. Everybody else?

Natalie: That was funny.

Jeremy: Thank you.

Dan: A sports network that is going out of business. A network on its last legs managed to receive a nomination.

Isaac: I'm sorry you didn't receive a nomination, Danny.

Dan: It isn't just me... okay, it is me. I won my category last year, and I've been completely ignored this year. I feel slighted and I think everyone else should feel slighted.

Chris: Because you weren't nominated?

Dan: Because the network wasn't nominated.

Chris (to the rest of the room): I thought he was referring to himself.

Will: I did, too.

Dave: If it makes you feel any better, I wasn't nominated.

Dan: You don't even have a category.

Dave: And a zero percent chance of losing.

Dan: I'm just saying... it would have been nice to be nominated by my peers.

Isaac: Take it up with the association, Danny. Do you have anything else, Natalie?

Natalie: That's all I have for right now. We'll see everyone at the next meeting.

Everyone gathers their belongings and starts to leave.

Isaac: Natalie?

Natalie: Yo.

Isaac walks over to Natalie as the room empties out.

Isaac: Sam wanted to have a word with you after this rundown.

Natalie: About?

Isaac: He didn't say.

Natalie looks at Isaac.

Natalie: Is he going to fire me?

Isaac laughs.

Isaac: No, he's not going to fire you.

Natalie: We've been doing a good job with the show.

Isaac: The meeting isn't about the show.

Lindsey reenters the room.

Lindsey: Isaac? You have a telephone call.

Isaac: Okay. I'll take it here.

Isaac reaches for the telephone.

Lindsey: You may want to take it in your office.

Isaac: Who is it?

Lindsey: It's a private matter. I've already had it forwarded to your line.

Isaac: Okay.

Lindsey leaves the room.

Isaac: Go see Sam, Natalie.

Natalie: Okay.

Natalie clutches her clipboard as Isaac leaves the room.


As Dan enters his office, he sees Casey sitting on the couch. Casey is tossing a football to himself.

Dan: Hey.

Casey: Hey. I heard about the nominations earlier-

Dan: I don't need your sympathy, Case.

Casey: If it helps, I wasn't nominated.

Dan: You're no longer with the network.

Casey: I was still eligible for six months. From January through July, I was working here.

Dan: And your lack of a nomination must be the explanation why you're no longer here.

Casey: I can see you're still angry.

Dan: I'm not angry.

Dan sits down at his desk.

Casey: It's all right to be angry. If I were in your shoes, I would be angry.

Dan: Casey? It wasn't like I was phenomenal for one year, and I've stunk the rest of the time. Granted, it took many, many years-

Casey: Seven.

Dan: Right- seven years. Thanks for remembering.

Casey: To many people, seven years isn't that long of a time period.

Dan: Seven years was a long time for me, and then I finally get nominated. And not only was I nominated-

Casey: You won.

Dan: Exactly, I won. Now after winning such an award, how is it that the association can ignore me once again?

Casey: Maybe they thought your performance was lacking.

Dan: It wasn't lacking in anything.

Casey: Have you talked with your agent?

Dan: No.

Casey: Have you called your publicist?

Dan: I left her a voice mail message, and I haven't had a return call.

Dan looks at his desk and notices something new.

Dan: There's a note here. It says Catherine called to return my message. Great. Now I have to call her back.

Dan picks up his phone and starts dialing.

Dan: There has to be some explanation for all this. (into phone) Hey. This is Dan Rydell. I'm returning Catherine's call. (listens) She's in a meeting with another client? Does she know that the nominations came out today and I wasn't among the nominees? (listens) Yes, I'll hold. (to Casey) The secretary is going to check. I bet she sensed I was angry over this.

Casey: You're just full of vinegar.

Dan: (into phone) Catherine said she'll call back? Hold on there. (listens) Well, I'm also her client. So get up and tell her that if she can't spend two minutes on the phone with me, then I might as well find someone who is capable of representing me. (listens) Yes, I'll hold, and please don't be offended by my sudden outburst. You are not the one I am angry with. I'll hold. (to Casey) See what happens when you apply a little bit of pressure? You get results.

Casey: It's like I'm watching "The Sopranos."

Dan: (into phone) Hello, yeah? (listens) Okay. Okay. No, I don't wish to leave a message. I want to speak with Catherine. (listens) Okay, she can call me back later.

Dan hangs up the phone.

Casey: I suppose these aren't the results you had hoped for.

Dan looks at Casey. Casey tosses the football to Dan.


Sam is typing on his laptop at his desk. There is a knock on his door. Sam continues to type.

Sam: Yeah?

The door opens and Natalie takes a few steps inside.

Sam: Be sure to close the door behind you.

Natalie closes the door and holds on to her clipboard.

Natalie: Isaac said you wanted to see me.

Sam: Yeah.

Natalie: If you wanted, we could wait until Dana gets back. Then we could all have the meeting.

Sam: This doesn't involve Dana.

Natalie: That's what Isaac said. And it doesn't involve the show.

Sam: Why would you want to involve Dana?

Natalie: Well, because... because you and I have never had a meeting, one-on-one, before. I figured whatever you wanted to talk about, Dana would somehow be involved.

Sam: She's not.

Natalie: Okay.

Sam: I intimidate you.

Natalie: No, you don't.

Sam: You're clutching your clipboard like its a life-support device. Sit down and lets talk about something.

Natalie quietly sits in front of Sam's desk.

Natalie: What did you wish to talk about?

Sam: Your skills.

Natalie: I think I've been doing a very good job with the show. I know we weren't nominated for anything, but I still think we do a superb job with the show.

Sam: I agree.

Natalie: Thank you.

Sam closes his laptop and focuses on Natalie.

Sam: How would you like your own show?

Natalie: I would love it. I mean, "Sports Night," is my first love, but I would love to produce a show... a show other than Dana's because that's Dana's show-

Sam: You're rambling.

Natalie: Yes, I am.

Sam: Take it easy.

Natalie takes a moment to compose herself.

Natalie: I would love to have the opportunity to be the executive producer of a show.

Sam: Great.

Sam gets up and pulls a folder from his bookcase. He opens the folder, flips a few pages. and checks its contents.

Sam: The network is looking at producing a new talk show to air three times a week, and I would like for you to produce it.

Natalie: Great.

Sam: Since the show is only three times a week, you will still have your responsibilities with "Sports Night."

Natalie: So I get to work with "Sports Night" and produce my own show?

Sam: Something like that.

Natalie: If you don't mind me saying, I think I'm having my cake and eating it, too.

Sam: Whatever works for you.

Sam hands the folder over to Natalie.

Sam: The show is being hosted by a Montgomery "Bubba" Duncan.

Natalie: The former coach?

Sam: He's retired.

Natalie: He could still be coaching.

Sam: He wants to try some television.

Natalie: I don't think... if you don't mind me saying... I don't think he has any television experience. I don't recall him being in a booth or in a studio.

Sam: We've got him fresh off the sidelines.

Natalie starts looking through the folder.

Natalie: So he's tested really well?

Sam: The audience would like a name they can recognize. As ironic as it sounds, Bubba Duncan is the type of person to attract that audience.

Natalie: It says here that he graduated with a degree in history. There's no communications or radio or television credentials here.

Sam: He has a good personality, and the fans love him.

Natalie: In the world of college football, two-hundred wins plus a dozen bowl victories will certainly make the fans love you.

Sam: Would you like the job?

Natalie: Certainly.

Sam: Good.

Sam opens his laptop as Natalie sits quietly.

Sam: Were done.

Natalie: Okay.

Natalie calmly gets up and leaves the office.


Dan sits at his desk, and his telephone is placed at the center of it. As Casey continues to toss the football to himself, Dan tries to do some paperwork. Dan is distracted, but it isn't because of the football. He keeps staring at his telephone.

Casey: It's not going to ring.

Dan: She'll return my call.

Casey: Okay.

Dan: Don't you have a job to do?

Casey: I'm off today.

Dan: Don't you have a son you need to visit?

Casey: Charlie's on spring break and he's visiting Lisa's parents.

Dan: What about Dana?

Casey: Doctor appointment.

Dan: I would think you would have gone to give her some support.

Casey: She didn't want me there. Anyway, I'm waiting for her to get here, so we can grab something to eat.

Dan: Wait. We slave away here, while Dana is off to see the doctor. The moment Dana appears on the floor, the first thing she is going to do is go to lunch?

Casey: It's what award-winning people get in their contracts.

Dan: Shut up.

Casey: It's not going to ring.

Dan: Shut up.

Dan and Casey are both distracted when they hear some hollering going on in the newsroom. They leave the office and see papers flying through the air. Natalie is dancing and singing through the newsroom as everyone watches.

Casey: What happened?

Dan: Probably breaking news from Boston.

Natalie: I've got my own show! Me! I'm getting my own talk show!

Casey: You're hosting it?

Natalie: I'm producing it!

Everyone begins clapping and cheering as Natalie dances around the newsroom.

Dan: What's it about?

Natalie tosses her folder to Dan. Dan takes a peek inside as Casey tries to read over his shoulder. Dan notices Casey trying to look, so he shields Casey from viewing it.

Casey: What does it say?

Dan: Bubba Duncan has his own talk show airing three times a week.

Natalie grabs Jeremy and begins dancing to a song playing in her head.

Dan: They might expand it to five times a week if it's successful.

Casey: Three-time college coach of the year.

Dan: It's going to be about whatever he wants to talk about.

Casey: He is going to have guests on his show?

Dan: Yes.

Casey: Because it would look embarrassing to see a sixty-year-old bald, fat man talking directly into the camera. It would be strange.

Dan: No stranger than seeing two young guys talking into three cameras every night.

Casey: True.

Lindsey walks through the crowd and over to Dan and Casey.

Lindsey: Dan? (hands him a note) Catherine, your publicist, just returned your call.

Dan throws his hand down in disgust as Casey begins laughing.

Click here to continue with Sports Night...