The show is on stand-by as everyone watches the network televise a baseball game through the monitors. Alyson applies last-minute touch-ups to Dan and Bobbi as they patiently sit at the anchor desk.

Inside the control room, Dave, Chris, and Will anticipate the feed being thrown to them in a minute. Lindsey keeps close watch on the time- in another two minutes, the show will begin late. Jeremy, Kim, and Natalie sit at the control board and watch the game on a monitor. Elliott keeps one eye on the shot sheet and the other eye on the game.


Dear Louise,

I'm glad I was able to make you laugh last night. You sound in much better spirits today. There are a lot of happenings going on here at "Sports Night," so I ask that you bear with me if these letters stray off topic.

Elliott: Watch for the slider.

Kim: Fastball.

Elliott: Slider.

Kim: They're not going to chance a wild pitch with the bases loaded. They're coming with straight heat.

Elliott: I still say watch for the slider.

Everyone watches the pitcher throw a breaking ball, and the batter swings and misses. The umpire calls out "strike three" as pitcher and catcher trot off the field and the batter tosses his bat in disgust.

Elliott: See?

Kim: It's a gutsy call.

Natalie: Okay, the game's going to be running late. Let's push everybody back. They're going at least another inning.

The crew begins giving out instructions to various people.

Chris: Bases loaded with no outs.

Will: They had the bases loaded with one out.

Chris: They had no outs before the first out.

Will: Second and third with no outs. They got the first out, then they walked the batter to load the bases.

Chris: They walked him with no outs.

Dave: No outs, one out, four outs. They're playing extra innings.

Kim and Elliott start to leave when Isaac walks in.

Isaac: What's going on?

Natalie: The Tigers had the bases loaded and the next three batters proceeded to ground out, pop out, and strikeout. They're going to the tenth.

Isaac: Free baseball.

Natalie: It's costing us our show.

Jeremy begins typing on his laptop.

Chris, Will, and Dave make sure everything is set on stand-by before leaving the control room. Dan and Bobbi walk through the control room, and they each greet Isaac before leaving the room and heading toward the newsroom.

Natalie calls out orders through her headset. She counts the outside reporters back, and notifies them the baseball game will be running late. Isaac looks at Jeremy and notices him focused on his computer. Once Natalie finishes up, she notices Jeremy typing on his keyboard.

Natalie: What are you doing, Jeremy?

Jeremy stops typing.

Jeremy: Excuse me?

Natalie: What are you working on?

Jeremy: I'm writing a letter to Louise.

Natalie: How is she doing?

Jeremy: She and her boyfriend just broke up, so we've been corresponding a little more frequently as of late.

Natalie: I'm sorry to hear that. I think I'll send her a letter, also.

Jeremy: I think she'd appreciate it.

Isaac: Natalie, would you like to discuss our options?

Natalie: Either running the full show or cutting back?

Isaac: It depends on how late they're playing.

Natalie: I'll get with you shortly and see what we can consider dropping to shorten the show.

Isaac: Good.

Isaac exits the control room, leaving Jeremy and Natalie as the only ones inside the room.

Natalie: I'll get with Kim and Elliott on this, if you just keep an eye on the game.

Jeremy: Sure. It will be at least fifteen minutes, since the White Sox and Tigers each get to bat around.

Natalie: Yeah. Thanks.

Natalie exits the control room. Jeremy notices the game is ready to begin the tenth inning, and then he continues with his letter.


Right now, we're on stand-by because the Tigers and White Sox are going into extra innings. The Tigers had a chance to win the game, but with the bases loaded in the ninth, consecutive batters managed to hit into a force play at the plate, pop out to third base, and strike out while swinging aimlessly at the third strike. I guess there's two ways to look at the last half-inning. Some people will think the Tigers choked in the clutch, while others will think the White Sox were miraculous in escaping the inning.

Jeremy reflects as he types on his laptop.

Jeremy and Elliott are standing inside the newsroom.

Jeremy: We can't cut down the Preakness. If we cut the segment down any further, we'll be calling it the "Preak."

Elliott: I'm just doing what Kim asked me to tell you.

Jeremy: Natalie doesn't want it cut down.

Elliott: Kim said we're running long-

"Five minutes to air. First team to the studio."

Elliott: -and that was the most logical segment to cut.

Jeremy: What about the National League? The season is only a month old, and you can't tell me you can't spare losing a boring home run. The Preakness is only once a year, and the National League is tonight, tomorrow night, and the night after that.

Elliott: Who's the executive producer tonight?

Jeremy: Either Kim or Natalie.

Elliott: I'm under the assumption it's Kim.

Jeremy: I believe you may be wrong. Odd-numbered days is when Natalie is the E.P. Even-numbered days is when Kim is the E.P.

Elliott: I thought it was reversed.

Dave walks by the two.

Jeremy: Dave? Who's the executive producer tonight?

Dave: I'm only the director. As long as there is somebody over me, there won't be any problems.

Dave heads toward the control room.

Elliott: It's Kim, Jeremy.

Jeremy: It's Natalie.

Jeremy sees something on the other side of the newsroom.

Jeremy: Am I dreaming?

Elliott: What is it?

Elliott turns around and looks at the other side of the room.

Kim is all decked out in a tight, revealing blue dress with a design in silver sequins. She's putting on her earrings as she walks through the newsroom.

Kim: Come on guys, the show's about to begin.

Elliott and Jeremy stand still as Kim walks by the two. She smiles as she turns back toward them.

Kim: I suppose I'll know your responses if I asked you how I looked tonight.

Elliott: (to Jeremy) She's definitely the E.P. tonight.

Chris and Will walk through the newsroom.

Will: Lookin' great, Kim.

Chris: Kim, if I weren't engaged-

Kim: You'd be single, and I would- minus you- still be going out after the show tonight.

Chris: Right.

Chris and Will leave the newsroom.

Kim: Come on, guys.

Elliott and Jeremy finally follow Kim into the control room.


Inside the control room, Natalie is giving out final orders.

Natalie: (into headset) Let me hear Kelly in Denver, and preview 10 and 11 for me. I want to see if we got it right.

Elliott and Jeremy take their seats as Kim grabs a clipboard and walks around the control room.

Dan runs from the newsroom, into the control room, and out into the studio. He suddenly stops and heads back into the control room.

Dan: Kim? If you're trying to inspire me tonight, I consider myself inspired.

Kim: Thank you.

Natalie: Danny, three minutes.

Kim: It's not for you, though.

Will: It's for all of us?

Kim: Nope.

Chris: Kim's going to a party after the show tonight.

Natalie: Ahem! I'm still waiting for 11.

Chris: Oh. Okay.

Chris hurries to show Natalie a preview of 11.

Dan: Am I invited to this party?

Kim: Nope.

Dan: Is there a way I can crash this party?

Kim: You can try, but you still won't get an invitation. Sorry.

Natalie: Daniel? Get your keester into your seat.

Dan: I'm having a conversation with Kim here.

Natalie: You're looking at her cleavage.

Kim takes the clipboard and exits into the studio.

Dan: You may notice that I am quite a bit taller than Kim. In order to make eye contact, I would naturally have to look down.

Dan walks over to Natalie.

Chris: Me too.

Will: I second that.

Chris: You can't second that.

Dave: Shut up.

Natalie: Danny, you never make eye contact with me.

Dan: That's because you never make eye contact when addressing me.

Dan and Natalie begin staring each other down.

Dave: One minute VTR, two minutes live.

Dan and Natalie continue staring.

Dan: I'm making eye-contact with Natalie.

Natalie: Am so am I with Danny.

Jeremy slides a piece of paper between the two.

Jeremy: You're both crazy.

Natalie: Get to work, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Okay.

Dan leaves the control room and heads toward the anchor desk. He sees Kim giving some final instructions to Bobbi.

Kim: -so we may have to cut down the last few segments.

Bobbi: All right, and Natalie will keep us abreast of our times.

Kim: Just be sure to keep the show tight. And that goes for you too, Danny.

Dan reaches the anchor desk.

Dan: I always do a bang-up job.

Kim: Whatever.

Kim leaves the anchor desk. Alyson applies her final touches on Bobbi as Dan stands behind the desk and hooks on his microphone.

Dan: I look good tonight, don't I, Alyson?

Alyson: I guess.

Dan: Good enough that I could leave after the show and go straight to a party.

Alyson: What party?

Dan: The one Kim's going to.

Alyson: You're going with her to a party?

Dan: I didn't get an invite.

Alyson: Okay.

Alyson finishes with Bobbi. As Dan straightens out his jacket, he looks up and sees JoAnne walking into the studio. He looks stunned as he watches JoAnne walk in a sexy, low-cut red dress- one he has never seen before.

Dan: Uh...

Alyson stands ready with a makeup brush in her hand.

Alyson: You're going to need to sit down, Dan.

Dan is clearly distracted.

Dan: Uh... yeah.

Dave: (over intercom) One minute live.

The taped introduction plays throughout the studio. Dan keeps his eyes on JoAnne as she and Kim talk just outside of the control room. He goes to sit down and he misses his chair completely. Dan falls down and knocks his chair off the set. Everyone on the set stops to look at the commotion. Everyone inside the control room looks at the monitors to see what happened.

Natalie: What was that?

Jeremy: I think Dan just fell.

Through the monitors, Dan is seen jumping back up and grabbing his chair. He quickly sits down and acts as if nothing happened.

Dan: Show mode. I'm in show mode.

Bobbi: Are you all right?

Dan: I'm fine. I'm thinking about the show.

Bobbi: Okay.

Alyson starts to apply some makeup on Dan. Dan gently moves Alyson aside, in order not to block his view of JoAnne and Kim. The two ladies smile and laugh as they finish their conversation. Kim walks back into the control room, and JoAnne starts walking off the set.

Dan: Uh hello? Over here?

JoAnne looks over her shoulder and flashes Dan her trademark smile. She stops and walks over to the anchor desk.

JoAnne: I've known men who fall head over heels for me, but you're the first to fall out of a chair.

Dan: I take it you and Kim are going to the same party?

JoAnne: Yepper.

Dan: Is the party for me?

JoAnne: Would I dress like this for you?

JoAnne twirls around and laughs.

Dave: (over intercom) Thirty seconds live.

Dan: But I can go to the party, right?

JoAnne: You wouldn't want to go to the party.

Dan: Sure... I don't want to go to a party where my girlfriend is dressed in a... (shakes his head) sexy, sultry dress.

Jeremy: (over intercom) She's smokin'.

JoAnne: Thanks, Jer-bear.

Dan: Why can't I go?

JoAnne: I'll tell you about it later.

Dan: This is going to bug me the whole broadcast. I'm going to have this image of you dressed like... like this... and I won't rest easy until I know what caused you to get all gussied up like this.

JoAnne: It's Connor's birthday.

Dan: What?

JoAnne: Kim and I are going to the party late, so we better make an impressive entrance.

Dave: (over intercom) Ten seconds live.

Bobbi: Dan? Show mode.


There's sometimes differentiating viewpoints when it comes to doing things- whether it is in your personal life or in your professional.

As JoAnne walks off the set, Dan looks bothered. He quickly straightens out his papers as he tries to focus on the show.

Dave: (over intercom) In 5, 4, 3, 2...

The red light turns on over camera two.

Bobbi: (on-air) Good evening from Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. You are watching CSC's "Sports Night," and I'm Bobbi Bernstein with Dan Rydell. We'll have those stories plus live reports from the locker rooms of the New Jersey Nets, Montreal Canadiens, and Los Angeles Lakers. We'll first turn our attention to the underdog run of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Dan: (on-air) Right. The Carolina Hurricanes of the Eastern Conference. At the beginning of the season, hardly anyone picked Carolina to advance this far in the playoffs. And for those of you still wondering, Carolina is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. There will be a quiz later in the broadcast...



Jo's amicable and flirtatious personality always brings out Dan's insecurities. She had told me she wanted a commitment from Dan, and he finally grew up to where he was ready to commit- and propose marriage. I had warned Dan that Jo is still afraid of marriage, which is why he held off on his proposal. It's situations like these, which cause Dan to reflect on his past indiscretions and think Jo could leave him for a better man. Jo really loves Dan, but she especially appreciates times like these when Dan doesn't attempt to control or contain her. He lets Jo be Jo, even if it plays psychological games in Dan's head.

Jeremy is walking through the newsroom and carrying a tape in his hand. Natalie runs over and nearly into Jeremy.

Natalie: I want you to read this.

Jeremy: What is it?

Natalie: It's a screenplay Michael is going to produce.

Natalie hands Jeremy a bound folder.

Jeremy: I don't think I should-

Natalie: Your opinion is very important to me.

Jeremy looks at the folder and then at Natalie.

Jeremy: You won't hold this against me if I don't like it?

Natalie: I want your honest opinion.

Jeremy: Okay.



But there are times when I wish I had the patience and courage of Dan.

Jeremy is trying to eat a sandwich on the set when Natalie approaches from behind.

Natalie: I saw you put the play back on my desk. What did you think of it?

Jeremy starts choking on his food, but he quickly regains his composure.

Jeremy: (eating his sandwich) Thuv pway?

Natalie: Yes, the play.

Jeremy: Natalie-

Natalie: I want your honest opinion.

Jeremy: My honest opinion?

Natalie: Yes, I want your honest-

Jeremy: It's horrible.

Natalie looks hurt.

Jeremy: I'm sorry, Natalie. You asked for my opinion.

Natalie: You could have critiqued it a little better.

Jeremy: Okay. In Act II, there's a scene where one of the characters says, "You've hit the screw on the head." You don't hit the screw on the head. You hit the nail on the head.

Natalie: Anything else?

Jeremy: You want me to go into detail right now?

Natalie: I've got some time.


The screenplay was horrible.

Jeremy begins criticizing the play. He makes several points, and Natalie listens quietly. With each point, Natalie nods her head and becomes more and more hurt.

Finally, Natalie can no longer take any more criticism, and she asks Jeremy to stop talking. Jeremy apologizes for giving his opinion, but Natalie doesn't want to hear it.

Natalie: You got all that through one reading?

Jeremy: Yes.

Natalie turns her back to Jeremy.

Jeremy: Natalie, you need to face the reality that Michael isn't a good writer. In fact, I see a decline in his ability and I'm sure if others read this, they would agree.

Natalie tries to hold back her tears.

Natalie: This isn't Michael's fault.

Jeremy: I highly suggest that he sits down and rewrite this. In fact, I suggest he should take some more English classes before rewriting this play.

Natalie: Jeremy... follow... me.

Natalie holds her hand over her mouth and tries to keep it together. Jeremy follows her into the newsroom. The two stop at Natalie's desk, and Natalie hands Jeremy the screenplay.

Natalie: Read the title page.

Jeremy: Natalie-

Natalie: Jeremy, please.


I proceeded to tell Natalie about the weak plot and one-dimensional characters. The lead character, Preston, was portrayed by other characters as a very intelligent man, but he never demonstrated his brilliance- at least, through his dialogue or actions.

Jeremy hesitates, so Natalie takes the folder and opens it to the title page. Jeremy reluctantly looks down at the page and reads it aloud.

Jeremy: It says, "'Preston's Path to Paradise.' Story by Michael Cobb. Screenplay by... Natalie Hurley."

Jeremy's heart goes to the pit of his stomach.

Jeremy: Natalie-

Natalie: You know, my schedule and Michael's schedule are different. We hardly see each other. That time lost is probably what made me vulnerable. And when I was vulnerable is when you kissed me. Michael came to me... he actually came to me... and asked me if there was anything I would like to do with him. He told me I could name anything. Anything, Jeremy. I suggested that we work together on a play. Even though I've never written a play before, Michael encouraged me to try something new and different. When you and me were together, if it was anything new and different you didn't like, you would tell me how bad it stunk and how idiotic the people were. Guess what? I had a lot of fun writing this. I was hoping you would have paid enough attention instead of salivating at the chance to jump all over Michael and tell me how inferior he is to you and your talented writings- none of which you have had produced on stage night after night. I wanted feedback, and I was hoping you could help me out and encourage me the same way Michael has been doing.


Even though I had read the play cover to cover, there was one very important page I neglected to pay close attention.

Natalie takes the play away from Jeremy, and she tosses it into her desk. Jeremy tries to apologize, but Natalie refuses to listen as she storms away.



Lou, there are times when men are insensitive jerks, and there are times when they are nothing more than hurtful and mean. I truly regret what I said.

Back in the present time, Jeremy continues to sit at the control board and type on his laptop. He glances up at the monitor to watch the baseball game.

TV announcer: And the Tigers go quietly in the eleventh. Konerko will be leading off the twelfth for the White Sox when we come back.

Jeremy shakes his head as the monitor changes over to show the CSC logo.

Natalie opens the door to the control room.

Natalie: Jeremy, let's go.

Jeremy: (points at the monitors) The game isn't over, yet. And it's only 11:40.

Natalie: Isaac's dropping the show tonight. We've got to go to the hospital.

Jeremy: What's wrong?

Natalie: Casey just called. Dana's been in the hospital all day.

Jeremy: How is she?

Natalie: Casey's not sure. Let's go. I'm driving.

Jeremy: Okay.

Jeremy quickly sends his letter and turns off his laptop. He and Natalie hurry out of the control room.


I'll try to stay out of trouble, Louise.


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