L.A. Chronicles



Outside of the conference room, Jeremy catches up to Natalie.

Jeremy: Hey.

Natalie: Hey, Jeremy.

Jeremy: You seem quiet today.

Natalie: I'm a little tired.

The two start walking through the newsroom.

Jeremy: By this time, you usually have digested enough sugar to be bouncing off the walls.

Natalie: Today's different.

Jeremy: How so?

Natalie: It's not yesterday.

Jeremy: And neither is tomorrow.

Natalie: Everything's fine.

Jeremy watches Natalie take a seat at her desk. He analyzes the situation before speaking.

Jeremy: How's Michael?

Natalie: He's fine. Michael's doing fine.

Jeremy: You two getting along?

Natalie: He went back to L.A. He took an early flight. Something about having to re-shoot a scene.

Jeremy: I'm sorry.

Natalie: Yeah, yeah.

Jeremy: I'm sorry for you.

Natalie: I heard you.

Jeremy: I'm just saying... Is there anything I can do for you?

Natalie: Not really.

Jeremy: Okay.

Jeremy turns toward his desk.

Natalie: Hey; do you think I could get time off to fly out there and surprise him?

Jeremy stops, but doesn't turn back toward Natalie.

Jeremy: I don't know.

Natalie: Maybe I could get tickets. If he can get tickets at the last-second, I surely can take a redeye out there.

Jeremy: We've got a lot of work to do.

Natalie: I think we can handle it. I'm going to start calling around for tickets.

Natalie starts digging around for a phone book as a concerned Jeremy walks to his desk. He clicks on the mouse to his computer. Suddenly, the computer talks to him. "You've got mail!"


A middle-aged stout man paces inside his office. His hands are clasped behind his back as he chomps on his cigar. Raw footage of Casey doing an interview plays on a wide-screen monitor. Casey interviews a man about professional football in Los Angeles.

A buzz comes from the telephone on the man's desk. He reaches over and picks up the phone.

"Got it."

The man hangs up the phone, picks up a remote, turns off the monitor, tosses the remote into his chair, and takes the cigar from his mouth.

Casey and a blonde, Casey's producer Alexis, enter the office. The door automatically closes behind them.

"Alexis, Casey. Have a seat."

Casey and Alexis sit on a leather couch along the wall.

Casey: What did you want to discuss, Stan?

Stan: I wanted to discuss your latest special.

Alexis: What about it?

Stan: I think you've worked with me long enough to know what I like and expect from my programs. I want real, down-to-earth, gritty reporting. I want programs with emotion. I want top-of-the-line shows which move people.

Alexis: That's what we try to bring to you.

Casey leans over to Alexis.

Casey: (whispering) I think he's saying we don't try hard enough.

Stan: I think you don't try hard enough.

Casey nods slightly as Alexis looks surprised.

Alexis: What do you want us to do? Is it me? Is it the direction? If you don't like the way Quinn is directing-

Stan: Alexis, honey, the direction is not the problem. You're not the problem, and Casey is not the problem.

Casey: But there's a problem.

Stan: There is... what we might designate as a loss of focus. This feature on L.A. surviving after the loss of the NFL is really good. Both sides are presented really well, but something is missing.

Casey: Focus?

Stan: Exactly. Casey, I knew when we brought you aboard you were going to be sharp as a tack. Sharp as a tack. What we are missing is focus.

Alexis: What should be the focus?

Stan: Alexis, honey, I know there are times you want me to look brilliant by having me speak my own words. I know you know what I'm trying to say. I want you to focus.

Casey points two fingers toward Stan, and then points them toward his own eyes.

Alexis: Focus.

Casey: It's not hard-hitting enough. There isn't enough grit.

Stan: Sharp as a tack.

Alexis: You want more controversy?

Stan: I want people to be moved. I want people to watch your special and say that was the best damn special they've ever watched. I want every special to be memorable. Your specials... aren't so memorable.

Casey: If I may beg to differ-

Stan casts a glare over Casey as he puts his cigar back in his mouth.

Casey: -the people of Pappadeaux, Louisiana have been moved. Also, the NCAA has been moved so much they have started a formal investigation into Central Louisiana University.

Stan: You're right.

Casey: If that's not hard-hitting, gritty journalism, then I don't know what is.

Stan: Consistency is the key.

Casey: There's something to be said about consistency.

Stan: It's boring. That's what to be said about consistency.

Alexis: I... I'm starting to get a little lost.

Stan: You need to be groundbreaking. You need to be consistently breaking new ground. Hard-hitting, punch them in the mouth, gritty, rub their faces in the dirt, win at all costs, do or die reporting.

Casey: Make them cry 'uncle' and make disparaging references about their mothers.

Stan: Sharp as a tack, Casey.

Alexis: You want us to do a different special. I can dump the whole L.A. football situation, and we can re-shoot-

Stan: Take it to editing. Let them do their jobs, but make sure they understand what is missing.

Casey: Focus?

Stan: Focus.

Stan turns away from Casey and Alexis.

Stan: It's good having this talk.

Casey and Alexis wait for a moment before slowly getting up. Stan walks over to his chair and picks up the remote. Casey and Alexis make their way toward the door while looking over their shoulders to see if Stan has anything more to add. Stan clicks on the remote and restarts Casey's interview. When the two nearly reach the door to the office, it automatically opens. Casey and Alexis proceed to exit the room. The door closes behind them.

The two start walking down the hallway.

Alexis: What are we going to do?

Casey: I guess regain our focus.


Isaac is doing paperwork at his desk as Jeremy stands in his doorway.

Jeremy: Isaac? Are you busy? If you are, I can come back later.

Isaac: I'm working Jeremy.

Isaac notices Jeremy ringing his hands.

Isaac: Come in. What is it, Jeremy?

Jeremy walks to the middle of the room.

Jeremy: I understand certain situations call for certain actions, but I am hoping I can somehow state my case and call for an exemption-

Isaac: What is it?

Jeremy: And I've read the corporate handbook, and there is no mention of this situation, but if you grant me this one action, I will try to make it a mitigating situation as possible.

Isaac: I don't have all day, Jeremy.

Jeremy wipes his mouth, thinks for a moment, and calms down.

Jeremy: Back in college, I had this professor- Tom Bennett. He wasn't just an ordinary professor, he had something in him which inspired others. He taught a media and public relations class for years at UCLA. He was instrumental in my decision to go into journalism... Add that with my love for sports, and this is where I am today. I originally took his class because I wanted some easy credits. To my dismay, he wasn't that easy, but I did earn the credits plus admiration and mutual respect. Anyway, the way he spoke about the media, it provided me with inspiration and directed me on my career path-

Isaac: Jeremy.

Jeremy: He died.

Isaac pauses for a moment.

Isaac: I'm sorry.

Jeremy: Thank you. Anyway, the reason why I came here is that the memorial service is this Saturday... and it is such short notice, so I would understand if you were unable-

Isaac: How much time did you need off to go to the service?

Jeremy: Saturday and Sunday. A day-and-a-half. Two at the most.

Isaac: You're going to fly there, attend the service, and fly back?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Isaac: Do you have tickets and reservations?

Jeremy: I wasn't assuming you were going to say 'yes,' I only did it as a preemptive action in hopes-

Isaac: Did you make arrangements?

Jeremy: Yes. I made arrangements over the internet.

Isaac: Okay. Go.

Jeremy: Thank you, Isaac. Thank you very much.

Jeremy shakes and waves his arms as he thanks Isaac and begins to leave his office.

Jeremy: I appreciate it. I owe you so much gratitude. Thank you.

Isaac: Jeremy?

Jeremy stops in the doorway.

Jeremy: Yes, Isaac.

Isaac: Besides teaching at UCLA, did Professor Bennett have a family?

Jeremy: A wife, Sandra; and three grown children, Carson, Jason, and Brooke.

Isaac: Please send them my condolences.

Jeremy: Thank you. I will.


Inside his office, Dan is flipping through a book. Once he finds the section he is looking for, he takes the open book and sets it on his desk.

Dana knocks on his door.

Dana: Hey, Danny. I'm going to need you to condense the baseball free agency segment by thirty seconds.

Dan: How come?

Dana: They just announced John Bowers is going to be released from his contract after his team plays their final game this weekend.

Dan: Is there a buyout?

Dana: They haven't released the details of the agreement.

Dan: I'll work on it.

Dana: Thanks. (pauses) Does Natalie seem all right to you?

Dan: How so?

Dana: She's been very quiet today. Do you think-

Dan: Yeah.

Dana: Did you know what question I was going to ask?

Dan: I think I did. "Do you think it has anything to do with Michael going back to Los Angeles?"

Dana looks amazed.

Dana: Yes.

Dan: Yeah.

Dana: Okay then.

Dan: Okay.

Dana: Do you think we should do something?

Dan: Like throw a party?

Dana: I don't know.

Dan: She could join us at the costume party dressed as her favorite character.

Dana: Natalie will be there.

Dan: It will be fun and help get her mind off of things for a little while.

Dana: Yeah. But I think we need to do something more.

Dan: I have an idea.

Dana: What's that?

Dan: Have her help me pick out a costume for the party.

Natalie enters the office and walks right by Dana. She hands Dan a memo.

Dan: Thanks, Natalie.

Natalie: You're welcome.

Natalie starts to leave, but Dana blocks her way.

Dana: How ya' doin' Natalie?

Natalie: I'm fine. Y... you... you're in my way.

Dan: Hey, Natalie.

Natalie: I'm fine.

Dan: I was just going to ask you about the memo.

Natalie: It's an updated invitation to the costume party.

Dan: I see that.

Natalie: Then why did you ask me?

Dan: Just making casual conversation.

Natalie: Okay. I've got work to do.

Natalie scoots around Dana and leaves the room. Dana gives a puzzled look to Dan, and he shrugs his shoulders. Dana hurries to catch up with Natalie's pace in the newsroom.

Dana: Hey, Natalie.

Natalie: Dana.

Dana: Anything new?

Natalie: Don't tell me you knew.

Dana: Knew what?

Natalie: About Jeremy.

Dana: What about him?

Natalie: Don't be so coy.

Dana: I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.

Natalie: You didn't know?

Dana: Natalie.

The two stop walking.

Natalie: Obviously he skirted around you, also.

Dana: What happened?

Natalie: I wanted to surprise Michael this weekend by flying out to L.A., but it turns out Jeremy had already gone to Isaac and asked for this weekend off.

Dana: He asked for this weekend off?

Natalie: He went behind your back, and he did it to spite me.

Dana: He did it to spite you?

Natalie: He knew that I wanted to go out and visit Michael, and he purposely ruined my plans.

Dana: I didn't know about your plans.

Natalie: That's because they were my plans. They were my plans before I told Jeremy. He then made plans to destroy my plans.

Dana: Natalie, I honestly don't think Jeremy would scheme to hurt you-

Natalie: You should have seen his beady little eyes earlier. I knew he was trying to think of something.

Dana: Have you talked with Jeremy?

Natalie: Why should I?

Dana: Because you are having issues.

Natalie: I'm frankly surprised.

Dana: Over what?

Natalie: That you are not reacting the same way especially when he went behind your back to ask for time off. Plus, he gave four days notice. The company handbook even states you have to give four weeks notice before taking any paid time off. Four days, Dana.

Dana: Have you talked with Jeremy?

Natalie: No.

Dana: I'll have a word with Jeremy, but you also need to talk with him. Okay?

Natalie: Fine. Okay.


Casey and Alexis are bundled up sitting in the chilly outdoors on a park bench. They sit down for their lunch consisting of hot dogs, fries, and sodas.

Alexis: I don't know how much longer I can do this.

Casey: It's 40 degrees out here. Eat quickly and we'll get back inside.

Alexis: I mean this job.

Casey: It's a job.

Alexis: The constant pressure, the never-ending meetings, deadlines, and expectations. Once you do something, you've got to top it the very next week. If not, they're ready to show you the door.

Casey: I don't think they are going to show you the door.

Alexis: I don't know.

Casey: Look. We've received critical acclaim for our work. Our ratings don't justify a cancellation. You'll probably be nominated for a couple of awards this year. Try not to let the pressure get to you.

Alexis: That's easy for you to say because...

Casey: Because what?

Alexis: Because this is your show. You're the main attraction. They could replace everybody behind the cameras, and you would still produce the same quality specials.

Casey: I wouldn't doubt your capabilities. Plus, you're the reason why the show looks and runs so good.

Alexis: Thank you.

Alexis smiles and watches Casey eat his hot dog.

Casey: What?

Alexis: It's nothing.

Casey: I've got mustard on my face.

Alexis: No, you don't.

Casey: Then why were you looking at me like that?

Alexis: Like I said, it's nothing.

Casey: Okay. Let's eat.

The two continue eating their lunch.


Jeremy is editing a tape and taking notes. Natalie opens the door and closes it behind her.

Natalie: Hey.

Jeremy: Hey.

Natalie: Whatcha' doing?

Jeremy: I'm doing some research on the next top three contenders for the heavyweight title. Did you know that Poplov's knockouts have come by the third round? Once you get by the third round, he starts to tire and drop his arms making himself vulnerable.

Natalie: Yeah.

Jeremy stops the tape and focuses on Natalie.

Jeremy: I'm sorry about your plans. I didn't realize you were actually going to go through with them.

Natalie: Dana spoke with you.

Jeremy: She did, and I didn't do it with malicious intent.

Natalie: What's so important about this weekend?

Jeremy: There's a memorial service I need to attend.

Natalie: For what?

Jeremy: The man, who I consider to be my mentor, passed away.

Natalie: Oh. I'm sorry.

Jeremy: I am also.

Natalie: What did he die from?

Jeremy: Cardiac arrest. He was doing some yard work when it hit him.

Natalie: Oh. How old was he?

Jeremy: 49.

Natalie: That's young. I bet it was unexpected.

Jeremy: Yeah. I hear his family is in shock.

Natalie slumps onto the couch inside the editing room. Jeremy looks over and wheels his chair over to the couch.

Jeremy: You want to talk about it?

Natalie: Talk about what?

Jeremy: I know hearing me tell you about someone I admired dying so suddenly and young probably reminds you about your father.

Natalie: How did... you know?

Jeremy: There are some things people just know and understand about you, Natalie.

Natalie smiles for a brief moment.

Natalie: You know what?

Jeremy: What?

Natalie: Your mentor would have been proud of you.

Jeremy: I certainly hope so.

Click here to continue with Sports Night...