Isaac is standing next to his office window and looking out into the city. He has a drink in his hand and is deep in thought.
Dan walks into the office carrying two videotapes.
Dan: Isaac? I want you to watch something.
Isaac doesn't react as Dan goes behind Isaac's desk and turns on two of his monitors.
Dan: I want you to be honest, and brutal, if necessary.
Dan loads each tape into its own player. Isaac takes a sip of his drink.
Dan: Now, I'm going to play a random tape. One of these tapes is from this past year, and the other tape is from the year before.
Dan starts the first tape.
"And the run-and-gun of the Fresno State offense shredded the opposing Warrior defense for 673 yards and nine offensive touchdowns. I only mention the offensive touchdowns because they also scored two on defensive returns and one on a punt return. The 84 points scored is a school-record, shattering the old mark-"
Dan pauses the first tape.
Dan: And here's the second tape.
Dan starts the second tape.
"The Nitnay Lion defense produced 11 sacks and a countless number of hits on Golden Gopher quarterbacks. If you really wanted to keep track at home, that countless number is actually 14 hits on the quarterback- not including the three times the Minnesota offensive line was shoved into their own quarterback."
Dan pauses the second tape.
Dan: I know it doesn't provide a true sample of my work. But I was wondering if you noticed any significant differences between the two? Could you tell any differences between the two?
Isaac stares out the window.
Dan looks concerned as he finally notices Isaac still gazing at the city.
Dan: Isaac? Is everything all right?
Isaac finally breaks his concentration.
Isaac: What was that, Danny?
Dan: Is everything all right? You're standing there and you're looking like the world is about the crumble.
Isaac: Everything's fine. I'm just thinking and developing a strategy for the show.
Dan: I'd believe you if you weren't standing there with a drink in your hand at 4 in the afternoon.
Isaac sets his drink on the window sill.
Isaac: Dana's going to be away for a few weeks.
Dan: I'm really hoping you are referring to sometime in the fall and not referring to the present.
Isaac: Dana will be fine. She just needs to be away for a few weeks.
Dan: What happened? Is there something wrong with the baby?
Isaac: Everything will be fine.
Dan: What is it?
Isaac: Dana asked me not to divulge her condition, but instead, let everyone know she will be back to work in a few weeks.
Isaac: She doesn't want people to know.
Dan: But we care.
Isaac: I know.
Dan: We're like a big family.
Isaac: I know.
Dan: It could fuel speculation that she's been abducted by aliens.
Isaac: Everything will return to normal in a few weeks.
Dan turns serious.
Dan: Are you positive?
Isaac: I'm trying to stay positive.
Dan: This won't leave the room. What happened?
Isaac: Dana asked me not to tell-
Dan: I know, but it is bothering you. I think you need to tell somebody.
Isaac: I'll decide who, when, where, and if I'll tell somebody.
Dan: Why would Dana-
Isaac: Dana doesn't want anybody to know. If it were up to me, I would bring everybody into the conference room, and I would tell every one of you. The only reason Dana told me about her condition is because I am her boss, and as her boss, I have a right to know.
Dan: Don't we have any rights as her co-workers?
Dan: What about as her friends?
Isaac: I gave Dana my word I would not tell anybody. She'll let everybody know when she is ready.
Isaac: I'm keeping my promise to Dana.
Dan: All right, but is this the way we need to be running the show? In the event of an emergency, we are kept at a need-to-know basis?
Isaac: It's the way it will be run until Dana says otherwise.
Isaac: The first tape is from this past year, and the second tape is from before that.
Dan looks at the paused frames on the two monitors.
Dan: How could you notice a difference between the two tapes?
Isaac: Your hair was shorter a few years ago.
Dan: Performance wise, how was it?
Isaac: It looked fine.
Dan: That's what I'm suspecting.
Isaac: Danny, two ten-second bits isn't going to give you a nomination. Plus, it isn't going to take away your award from last year.
Dan: I know.
Isaac: You're still a great anchor.
Dan: I know that, but do they know that?
Isaac: They know that, but sometimes they need a little more convincing.
Dan stops the two tapes and pops them out of their players.
Natalie is sitting at Dana's desk. Natalie has paperwork spread out over the desk as she looks over it.
There is a knock on the door as it slowly opens. Natalie looks up to see an older gentleman wearing a baseball cap.
Man: Excuse me, darlin'. I was told that Hurley was down this hall. Could you kindly direct me toward the office?
Natalie: I'm Hurley. I'm Natalie Hurley.
Man: I'm sorry, darlin'. I thought you were Whitaker.
Natalie: This is her office. I'm just borrowing it. You must be Bubba Duncan. Come on in and make yourself at home.
Bubba Duncan enters the room carrying a duffel bag. He sets it on the edge of the couch and sits next to it. Natalie pulls up a chair and sits across from him.
Natalie: Welcome to CSC. I'm going to be the executive producer of your show.
Bubba Duncan: Fabulous.
Natalie: Now I understand this is your first foray into television.
Bubba Duncan: Four ray?
Natalie: Foray- I guess you can say it is a type of raid, usually designed to capture things.
Bubba Duncan: So I reckon you're sayin' that I'm gettin' into this to do a good show.
Natalie: Exactly. This is your first attempt at television.
Bubba Duncan: Yes it is, darlin'.
Natalie: Let's get something straight. I'm not your darling.
Bubba Duncan: I hope I didn't offend you. I was only trying to treat you with respect.
Natalie: It's okay, Bubba. And you can call me Natalie.
Bubba Duncan: In coachin', I've always called everybody by their last names, so it might take a little time for me to get used to it... Natalie.
Natalie: That's quite all right, Bubba.
Bubba Duncan: You can call me "Coach."
Natalie: Even though you've retired, you still want to be called "Coach"?
Bubba Duncan: I haven't gone out and bought a pig farm, if that's what you're thinkin'.
Natalie: Okay, Coach. I've got a few prospects lined up for your first show.
Natalie gets up and goes over to Dana's desk. She grabs a few papers and sits in Dana's chair.
Natalie: We're looking at someone from basketball or baseball because they are what's current.
Coach: Spring practice is comin' up soon for football.
Natalie: Right, but nobody really cares about spring practice right now.
Coach: Tell that to the coachin' staff and a hundred boys out there bustin' their butts.
Natalie: I understand, but a lot viewers really don't want to see college football until August.
Coach: Well, that's okay I reckon.
There is a knock on the door. Natalie and Coach look up and see Jeremy standing in the doorway.
Jeremy: Excuse me, I hope I'm not interrupting anything.
Natalie: You are.
Coach: We're just gettin' started here.
Jeremy: I'm Jeremy Goodwin. I'm a research analyst and associate producer with "Sports Night."
Jeremy steps inside and reaches over to shake Coach's hand.
Coach: Happy to meet you, Goodwin. Or do you want to be called Jeremy?
Jeremy: Goodwin or Jeremy, I'll answer to either. It's a pleasure to meet you, Coach.
Coach: You say you're a research analyst? Is that stuff like statistics and other stuff?
Jeremy: Yes. I research statistics, but I enjoy taking an in-depth look into the various strategies teams execute. Like for instance, your use of the wing backs in the Orange Bowl against LSU.
Coach: You studied that?
Jeremy: Yes. How you would put the wing back in motion on some plays, or use him as an extra lead blocker on counter plays. It was a brilliant strategy to confuse the Tiger defense.
Coach: Thank you, Goodwin.
Jeremy's smile disappears when he catches Natalie glaring at him.
Jeremy: I... I think I'm going to get going. I'm sorry I interrupted your meeting. It's truly a pleasure to meet one of the great minds of college football.
Coach: Good meetin' you, Goodwin.
Coach and Jeremy shake hands.
Natalie: Your desk is in the newsroom for now. If Jeremy would like, he could show you where your desk is located.
Jeremy: I'd love to.
Coach: Great, Goodwin. How about some dinner? You know of a good place to eat?
Jeremy: I'm currently engaged in a segment for tonight's show, but I think a quick bite in the cafeteria could give me an extra energy boost.
Natalie: Coach, you can head down to the newsroom and check it out. I just need a moment with Jeremy.
Coach Duncan leaves the office as Natalie grabs Jeremy by his arm.
Jeremy: That's a tight grip-
Natalie: What are you doing?
Natalie lets go of Jeremy.
Jeremy: I was just introducing myself.
Natalie: You're brown-nosing.
Jeremy: I'll refute that claim.
Natalie: Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss. The Orange Bowl against LSU? Give me a break.
Jeremy: It was a great game.
Natalie: Anyone who knows college football would know that the LSU defense couldn't change direction. For pete's sake, Jeremy. LSU wasn't even favored in the game.
Jeremy: It was still a great strategy.
Natalie: And so was America's strategy in the Battle of Santiago.
Jeremy: Come on, Natalie. He just got here. He's spent a lifetime in college football, and I believe it is our responsibility to make his transition as smooth as possible.
Natalie: He chose to come to television. He could have continued coaching somewhere else.
Jeremy: I'm going to show him his desk, and then I'm going to have dinner with him.
Jeremy takes a step to leave as Natalie turns away.
Jeremy: Are you all right?
Natalie walks over to the window and looks out into the city.
Natalie: This is my first permanent show. I want this show to be successful... and...
Natalie: I'm stuck with somebody who doesn't know the first thing about conducting interviews. And I'm also sure he knows very little about sports outside of college football. Sam stuck me with this assignment, and I have no help in putting this together. "Bubba Duncan" or "Coach Duncan" or "Coach" or whatever he wants to call the show is my ultimate responsibility. If this show is a failure, he can walk away and get another coaching job, but would I be able to get another executive producer position?
Jeremy: You'll do a great job.
Natalie: Whatever. Go and eat your dinner.
Jeremy: Are you sure?
Natalie: I've got to put together some stuff for our show tonight. Dana isn't back, yet, so I'm going to assume she isn't going to be in today.
Jeremy: Have you heard anything?
Natalie: No. If something was seriously wrong, she would have called me.
Jeremy: Okay, but if you need help with anything, I'm more than willing to help you out.
Jeremy leaves the office as Natalie looks out into the city.
Isaac is at his desk as Sally knocks on his door.
Sally: You wanted to see me, Isaac?
Isaac: Come in, Sally.
Sally struts in and sits in front of Isaac's desk.
Isaac: Would it be possible for you to assist with the production of the 11 o'clock show for a few weeks?
Sally: When Dana goes away on maternity leave, I'll be more than happy to assist the show in whatever way possible.
Isaac: I was wishing you could start right away.
Sally: Is something wrong with Dana?
Isaac: Everything is fine with the baby. The doctor has ordered her to stay at home for the next few weeks.
Sally: I'll certainly help Dana out.
Isaac: Thank you. Check with Natalie to see what needs to be completed.
Sally: Sure, Isaac. I appreciate you asking me for assistance.
Isaac: You're welcome.
Sally gets up and walks to the door. When she reaches the doorway, she turns around and starts walking back toward Isaac.
Sally: I don't want to make a suggestion, but I think the possibility of it needs to be explored.
Isaac: What is it?
Sally: Have you given consideration that Dana may not want to come back to "Sports Night" after she gives birth? I understand that raising a baby is a tremendous responsibility, and I was wondering if Dana may want to spend less time with the show.
Isaac: I've given it some thought.
Isaac: We'll cross that bridge if- and that's a big 'if'- we ever come to it.
Sally: Great. Thanks again, Isaac.
Isaac: You're welcome.
Sally leaves the office.
Inside the conference room, most of the crew is ready for the rundown meeting. Dan, Bobbi, Jeremy, Chris, Will, and Elliott are seated at the table.
Dan: So we are all in agreement that we're going to protest the awards ceremony.
Chris: I thought we weren't attending.
Will: I did also.
Dan: We're protesting by not attending.
Will: Why would we go if the network isn't going to win anything?
Chris: I don't want to cheer every network except ours.
Elliott: We could scalp our allotment of tickets.
Jeremy: And take the money to attend another event.
Dan: That's a great idea, Jeremy. We could spend that night at another show. We could go to a Knicks game or watch the Yankees or Mets; we could even take in the theater or opera.
Bobbi: Why don't we just do our jobs and turn our allotment of tickets back over to the association?
Dan: That wouldn't work.
Jeremy: It would take away from Dan.
Bobbi: Why would it take away from Dan?
Jeremy: It would take away his plot for revenge.
Dan: Revenge! No... actually utter disdain is what I want.
Bobbi: Toward the association or yourself?
Sally walks into the conference room as everybody is stunned into silence.
Sally: Good evening, everybody. Isaac has asked me to fill in while Dana is away.
Will: Is Dana all right?
Chris: And the baby?
Sally takes a seat at the head of the table.
Sally: Isaac assured me Dana is going to be fine. I'm just going to be filling in until she gets back.
Dan: I have a question.
Sally: Yes, Danny.
Dan: Has anyone checked to see if Isaac is all right?
Jeremy: What's wrong with Dana?
Sally: The doctor has ordered her to stay home for the next few weeks.
Elliott: Which means...
Sally: I'll be helping you out for the next few weeks.
Dan exhales loudly as he tosses a pen to himself.
Sally: I'm sure we can all get along during this time period. I'm gladly chipping in to help Dana in her time of need.
The door quickly opens as Natalie bursts in with an arm full of papers.
Natalie: Sorry, I'm late guys-
Natalie notices Sally sitting at the head of the table.
Natalie starts dropping some papers on the floor. Bobbi leans over to help Natalie pick them up.
Natalie: What are you doing here?
Natalie places the majority of papers on the table.
Sally: I'm going to assist your show while Dana is away.
Natalie: Does that mean tonight?
Sally: Isaac issued a memo to all of the executive producers and also to you, Natalie. It should be on your desk.
Natalie: I haven't been at my desk all day. I've been running around.
Sally: By the way Natalie, congratulations on your new show.
Natalie: What's wrong with Dana?
Dan: The doctor has ordered her to stay home-
Natalie: The baby?
Sally: Everything's fine, Natalie. Dana will be back in a few weeks.
Natalie: So you're here?
Sally: Isaac asked me to fill in over the next few weeks, at least until Dana comes back at full capacity.
Natalie looks at Sally.
Sally: I'm ready to begin if you'll have a seat over there, Natalie.
Natalie: I'll be... I'll be right back. Sally? Go ahead and do the rundown. Jeremy and Elliott? Give me the notes after I get back.
Natalie quickly leaves the conference room.