The Maelstrom, Part II

Original Release Date: December 4, 2002

Teleplay by:
Jim Hamilton

Excerpts from:
Scary Stories and Closed Spaces by Danielle

Music lyrics from:
"Baby, The Rain Must Fall" written by Elmer Bernstein and Ernie Sheldon
© 1965
performed by Glenn Yarbrough

Estimated Run Time:



Previously on "Sports Night"...

Dana is standing in front of the crew inside the newsroom.

Dana: This hurricane is nothing to joke about. This is some serious stuff. There will be property damage and the possibility- if I may remind you- that people may lose their lives if they are not careful.

Dan, Dana, and Natalie are standing by Natalie's desk.

Dan: Who sent you the flowers, Natalie?

Natalie: Michael, and he is being so sweet.

Dana accidentally knocks over Natalie's flowers from her desk. The vase shatters.

Dana is in her office with Natalie and Casey. Dana is lecturing Casey.

Dana: -there's a storm going on out there. I keep getting harassed because of you and your problems, and there's something wrong with Isaac.

Isaac is sitting in his darkened office. Candlelight and lightning outside provide the room's only light.

Isaac: They're looking for an excuse to get rid of me.

Dana and Natalie stop, turn, and face Isaac.

Dana and Natalie stand in front of Isaac's desk.

Isaac: Just keep it under your hat.

Dana: Okay.

Natalie: Yes, sir.

Dana and Natalie leave Isaac's office. The two start walking down the darkened corridor.

Natalie: Dana, you were right.

Dana: I was right about what?

Natalie: About what you said earlier today.

Dana: What did I say?

Natalie: It's coming.

Dana stops walking.

Dana: Yeah... It's coming.

Evening rain pounds the windows in the newsroom. Lightning illuminates the skyline and a low rumble of thunder can be heard. The newsroom is busy with last-minute activity.

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

Natalie hurries through the room.

Natalie: Okay, people! I need those tapes now!

People continue to run around the room as Natalie checks her clip board.

Natalie: I'm still missing 26 through 29, 43 and 44, and let's not forget 62 through 70.

Elliott runs by Natalie.

Natalie: Elliott?! How's the hard copy coming along?

Elliott: It's coming.

Natalie: Coming along?

Elliott: I've got empty spaces larger than the Grand Canyon.

Natalie takes a deep breath as Elliott runs out of the newsroom.

Dana enters the newsroom with a look of panic.

Dana: Okay, people! I need those tapes now!

Natalie walks over to Dana.

Natalie: I've already given them the warning.

Dana: You did?

Natalie: Just a few seconds ago. In fact, I said the same exact words.

Dana: You did?

Natalie: The inflection was a little different, though.

Dana: The inflection was different?

Natalie: I emphasized the second sentence, while you emphasized the first sentence.

Dana: What?

Natalie: But it was still the same message.

Dana: Inflection, Natalie, has to do with a particular word not a particular sentence.

Natalie: And a sentence is a group of words-

Dana: I think you were looking for the tone of the sentence not inflection... wha... wha... I'm spending too much time with this. People! I need those tapes or swear to god I will beat you senseless with... with...

Natalie: A book.

Dana: A book! A big, thick book! I will beat you senseless with a big, massive, thick book!

Natalie: I think big and massive are-

Natalie catches a glare from Dana. Dana refocuses on the room.

Dana: I said 'now'!

Natalie and Dana start receiving various tapes and notes from people. They quickly leave as they came.

Dana: Hmph. I guess that worked.


Alyson touches up Bobbi at the anchor desk. Dan sits looking calm and collected. A rumble of thunder is heard through the studio. Alyson and Bobbi momentarily look around the studio, while Dan adjusts the cuffs on his dress shirt.

Dan: There's no need to panic ladies. Everything is under control.

Bobbi: You have control over the weather?

Dan: I'm just saying in this battle between man and nature- nature packs a pretty good punch, but man can absorb it and overcome this fight.

Bobbi: So you have no qualms whenever you hear the thunder?

Dan: None whatsoever.

Bobbi: Well, it must be good to be you, Danny.

Dan: At times like these, yes it is.

Dan looks over his hard copy and shuffles the papers.

Dan: This is a battle.

Bobbi: The show isn't completely scripted and written. I'd say it is a losing battle.

Dan: I'm talking about Tropical Storm Paloma.

Bobbi: And you're not worried about the show?

Dan: The show will be fine. We've got most of the hard copy, and we'll probably get bullet points as they become available. Dana will get everything together, and it will run fine.

Bobbi: I appreciate your confidence.

Bobbi tries to organize her hard copy. She starts to look a little frustrated. Thunder reverberates through the studio.

Dan: Yup. This is a battle.

A peeved Bobbi slams her papers down and stares at Dan as he checks over his hard copy.


Jeremy is standing over the editing machine. His sleeves are rolled up as he frantically works on a tape.

Jeremy: Okay, piecing together the last segment... looking good...

Jeremy looks over his notepad.

Jeremy: Notes are looking good... double-checking the names...

Jeremy rechecks the tape.

Elliott is seen hurrying outside the window of the room. He stops in the doorway of the editing room.

Jeremy: Good piece of work, Goodwin.

Elliott: Who are you talking to?

Jeremy turns around to face Elliott and points to the editing machine.

Jeremy: Ah! Yes. I was talking to... nobody in particular.

Elliott: Okay. Are you done with the tape?

Jeremy: The video part is complete.

Elliott: Great. I'll take it-

Jeremy: But I'm still piecing together the audio.

Elliott: We don't need the audio.

Jeremy: But we do for this particular segment!

Elliott: We're under five minutes.

Jeremy: Yes, but it's critical. I'll have it done by the time we go to air.

Elliott: Okay.

Jeremy pops out the tape and runs out of the room.

Elliott checks his watch.

Elliott: Two minutes!


Isaac is inside the studio and he slowly strolls toward the anchor desk, using his cane for assistance. He has a smile on his face when Dan notices him.

Dan: Hey, Isaac. (to Bobbi) See? Even Isaac isn't worried.

Isaac: What should I be worried about?

Dan: Nothing, and that's good.

Bobbi: And Dan is completely oblivious to what's going on.

Dan: The show is going to be fine. Dana and Natalie have the show under control.

Isaac: I trust they have show under control.

"Guys, we've got some last-minute changes. We're going to have to bump up 30 through 42, and follow it with 26 through 29. We may have to feed you bullet points on some of the segments, so don't freak out."

Dan: (toward the control room) Natalie?! Are we going to renumber the hard copy?

"Just make a note and go with the flow... and praying wouldn't hurt."

Dan smiles as he and Bobbi make the necessary changes to their hard copy.

Dan: Go with the flow.

Kim walks to the anchor desk. She hands Dan and Bobbi several sheets of paper.

Kim: Guys, here's the latest addendum.

Dan: Any major changes of which we need to be aware?

Kim: No, and we're going to have to feed you information on 68 through 70.

Bobbi: What segment is that?

Kim: Something Jeremy is working on. Some kind of international sport.

Dan curiously looks at Kim.

Dan: I'm doing that segment. You're not going to try to slip in some soccer right there, are you?

Kim: No.

Dan: Because it would be like you to do something like that.

Isaac: Danny.

Dan: Now, I'm not doing that as a direct accusation toward Kim. It may be true that I have disdain toward soccer, but I don't think it would be fair if you were to slip in some DC United and Luxembourg right under my nose.

Kim: If I only could.

Kim leaves the anchor desk.

Dan: No love. Absolutely no love for me.

A crash of lightning and thunder rocks the studio. The lights flicker. Everyone outside of Dan tenses for a moment.

Dan: What's wrong?

Isaac: You did notice a tropical storm going on outside of the studio?

Dan: Something to that effect.

Isaac: You're not worried about any possible damage it might be causing?

Dan: It's part of the battle.

Isaac: The battle.

Bobbi rolls her eyes.

Dan: Yes, the battle. Man versus nature-

Isaac: You've got thirty seconds, Danny. Is this going to take longer than that?

Dan: Well, it could. It would make for interesting conversation to open the show.

Isaac laughs.

Isaac: You're opening with the cancellations.

Dan: Listen, Isaac. Like the song goes, "baby, the rain must fall; baby, the wind must blow."

Isaac smiles.

Isaac: "Wherever my heart leads me; baby, I must go, baby, I must go." You two have a good show.

Bobbi: Thanks, Isaac.

Dan and Isaac tap fists, and Isaac makes his way toward the control room.


Inside the control room, the crew frantically works.

Dave: Rolling VTR, sixty seconds live.

Dana: Is everybody straight on the changes?

Dana receives no response as everybody continues to work.

Dana: I said, is everybody straight on the changes?!

A collective 'yes' comes from the group.

Dana: Okay. Show me 13.

Natalie: We still have to fill sixty minutes.

Will: Thirteen's up.

Dana: We've got one baseball game, preseason hockey and basketball, and the football wrap arounds. We've been... we were without power- so it isn't like I can slap a rerun together of last night's games- which, coincidentally would be a lot easier working with you knuckleheads. Let me hear Memphis.

Natalie: And golf was rained out in Orlando.

Dana: And nothing amazing happened in tennis. Just straight sets, and the only thing exciting was when the ball girl tumbled over going after an errant shot.

Natalie: You could make it more exciting.

Dana: How can you make a girl tumbling over more exciting?

Natalie: I don't know. Add sound effects?

Dana ignores Natalie's suggestion.

Dana: Plus, Jeremy has some sport I never heard of.

Natalie: Jeremy isn't here.

Dana: We can do the show without Jeremy.

Natalie: He has the two minutes of tape.

Dana: Of his sport I never heard of.

Natalie: Yes.

Dana: And there are supposedly highlights with this tape?

Natalie: Yes.

Dana: Will the viewers understand them? Better yet, will I understand them?

Natalie: No and no.

Dana: Then why-

Natalie: We needed two minutes to fill.

Dana bangs her head on the control panel. She lifts it back up and straightens her hair.

Dana: This is going to be the worst show ever.

"That's the positive attitude that won you this job."

Dana: Oh. Isaac Jaffee is in the house, people.

Isaac strolls his way through the hectic control room.

Isaac: Is there anything I can do?

Dana: Everything is going very smoothly, Isaac.

Isaac: I can see that.

Natalie: Dana is a little frazzled.

Dana looks offended.

Dana: I am not.

Natalie: She's in denial, so I wouldn't put much merit into what she is saying-

Dana: I'm fine! Show me 13.

Natalie: We already did that.

Dana: We did?

Will: Yes.

Chris: We've already showed 13.

Dana: Okay, then.

Natalie: You're not frazzled.

Dana: Not in the least bit.

Natalie: Good; because we're still missing Jeremy.

Dana slaps her hand on the control board.

Dana: Good! Because right now I don't care about his two minutes of his shish kabob sport or whatever the hell you want to call it.

Dave: Live in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Dan and Bobbi begin their introduction as the crew continues to work.

Dan (on-air): Good evening. From New York City, I'm Dan Rydell sitting alongside Bobbi Bernstein. Tropical Storm Paloma may be dampening things here, but the preseason hardwoods are already sizzling in the NBA.

Bobbi (on-air): And we'll swing around the NHL, for the ice is already frozen for preseason pucks.

Dan (on-air): Plus- I kid you not- we have skateboarding highlights and some other sports of which you may have never heard. We're paid to give you 60 minutes of "Sports Night," and barring any power outages, we're going to give it to you; so stick around.

Dave: We're out.

Chris starts his stop watch.

Chris: Two minutes back.

Jeremy emerges from the neighboring sound room.

Jeremy: I'm here and the segment is complete! The show can begin!

Kim: We've already started.

Jeremy: Well, then... let us continue.

Jeremy straightens his tie as he notices Isaac.

Jeremy: Good evening, sir.

Isaac: Good evening, Jeremy.

Jeremy takes his seat between Kim and Dana.

Isaac: I hear you have uncovered footage of a sport- one which was played today.

Jeremy: Yes, sir. There was a major upset today. The number-one seed, and dominant team in this sport was upset rather handily by a sub-500 team. It was rather shocking to watch.

Isaac: Danny's concerned it is soccer.

Jeremy: Oh no, sir. It is nothing of the sort. It is the ancient Indian game of kabaddi.

Isaac: Kabaddi?

Jeremy: Yes, it took a little bit of time and research. The rewarding part is after a bit of internet searches, phone calls, and plenty of time to read books on the sport due to the earlier power failure, I feel I've have come to know the ancient game of kabaddi.

Isaac: Good to hear.

Dana: I think we've heard enough about kabob.

Jeremy: Kabaddi.

Dana: Ka-whatever.

Natalie: Jeremy, Dana is a little frazzled.

Dana: Natalie.

Natalie: But she's trying to hide it- not very well if I may say so.

Dana: No, you may not.

Dana presses her headphones into her ears.

Dana: Why am I not hearing San Antonio?

Chris: That's because it's not up.

Dana: Well, get it up.

Chris leans over to Will.

Chris: (whispering) Just a little frazzled.

Will nods his head.

Dana: I heard that! And where the hell is Jeremy?!

Jeremy: Right here. (raises hand)

Dana looks surprised to see Jeremy sitting right next to her.

Jeremy: I've been right here. We just had a conversation about kabaddi.

Dana: Well, I'm certainly glad I don't remember that conversation.

Another strike of thunder and lightning once again flickers the lights.

Dana: Oh no... it's coming.

Natalie: I think it's already here.

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