O For a Muse of Fire...



Tina Lake: (on-air) We'll see if the off-field distractions affect their performance this weekend. Coming up after the commercial break, we'll have highlights of the only game completed in the NHL: the Kings and Predators- a game which went into overtime. You're watching "Sports Night" on CSC.

"We're out."

"Two-and-a-half minutes back."

The crew inside the control room relaxes a bit during the commercial break.

Dana engulfs herself in a newspaper as Natalie calls out requests to Chris and Will. Elliott enters the room.

Natalie: What's new, Elliott?

Elliott: Nothing's new.

Natalie: What about the Ducks and Sharks?

Elliott: They're still in second intermission.

Natalie: This is a slow night.

Dana: I can't believe this.

Natalie: We can't control the schedule, Dana. We only have a handful of games.

Dana shows Natalie a particular article from the newspaper.

Dana: No. Because this is in print- this article is in black-and-white- this group of investors suddenly became experts on cable sports.

Natalie: Apparently they have the money and a dream.

Dana: It's going to be my nightmare.

Natalie: Dana.

Dana: Five guys get together and say, "Hmmm. I bet it would be neat if we started up another cable sports network. Let's call the newspaper and inform them of our will-o'-the-wisp."

Natalie: I'm certain they did the proper research before making their announcement.

Dana: Yeah, proper research. There's us, ESPN, ESPN2, EXPN, ESPN Classic. There's Fox Sports, Home Team Sports, the Speed Channel, the Golf Channel, the Tennis Channel-

Jeremy: Yes.

Dana: See? Jeremy agrees with me.

Jeremy: Actually, I'm adding the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, the YES Network.

Dana: Right. YES.

Jeremy: I'll also add NBA TV.

Dana: Yes, NBA TV. The NFL Network, the Football Network, College Sports Network, Sports Classics Network, New England Sports Network. Am I missing anybody?

Jeremy: You failed to mention CNN/SI.

Dana: Of course, the most valuable lesson can be learned from CNN/SI. They are long gone and out of business. Do you want to know why? Because we wiped the floor with them.

Jeremy: I think ESPN did more wiping-

Dana: The point is there is a saturation of sports networks. We don't need another one trying to weasel its way into the market.

Jeremy: I guess the five multimillionaires should have consulted you before making the final decision to start up this project.

Dana: Yes, as a matter of fact, they should have.

Isaac quietly enters the room.

Dana: And they even have a catchy name: Global Sports Network. It's like they are trying to say, "Hey, if it's on the globe, we've got it covered. If it's in another galaxy, well then you'll just have to find yourself another network."

Natalie: We're the Continental Sports Channel.

Isaac: Good evening, everybody.

Dana: Oh, good evening, Isaac. Have you seen this article?

Isaac: I read it and moved onto more important matters.

Dana: I'm just saying they don't have a strategy. They haven't even selected a city for their headquarters. Their lack of planning shows they are certainly throwing money into what will be a vastly inferior project.

Isaac: The same was said about Luther Sachs when he founded this network. And the same was said when Quo Vadimus purchased Continental Corp.

Dana: It was completely different with those two. It's been different with us. Luther Sachs and Quo Vadimus had a proven track record of running successful corporations. These five guys are collaborating for the first time on this project.

Isaac: And I'm sure the fact they made millions on their own doesn't make them qualified to start a new project.

Dana: Don't you agree, Isaac? That the market is already saturated with cable sports networks?

Isaac: Yes, but that shouldn't stop somebody from trying to put together a quality product.

"Back in 5, 4, 3, 2..."

Tina Lake: (on-air) Welcome back. Tonight there are two games on the NHL schedule. The game between Anaheim and San Jose has just completed the second period...

Back inside Anthony's, Dan and Casey watch the broadcast and hockey highlights.

Casey: Good show tonight.

Dan: It's a slow night.

Casey: It's still a good show.

Dan: It's a good show because it's a slow night.

Casey: No matter how bright the fire burns, they are still the keepers of the flame.

Dan: Yeah. A fire on the set would certainly liven things up.

Casey takes a sip of his beer while Dan pops a few mini-pretzels into his mouth.

Casey: There's tension on the set.

Dan: It's a boring broadcast. There is no tension on the set.

Casey: I'm saying between you and Bobbi.

Dan: When?

Casey: Every night.

Dan: Not every night.

Casey: Every night over the last four weeks.

Dan: We may have a few disagreements every now and then, but we're still civil toward each other.

Casey: I caught the three seconds where the two of you thought you were off the air. The three seconds where you two argued over who was doing the teaser.

Dan: First of all, I didn't hear Dave count us down over the intercom. Next, the hard copy had me listed as doing the teaser. Second, Bobbi offered to do it, and I declined.

Casey: That's three things.

Dan: Whatever. I was right and she was wrong.

Casey: And I'm sure the 3 million people coming back from commercial appreciated you making your point.

Dan: It wasn't that bad.

Casey: Really?

Dan: It really wasn't that bad. Isaac spoke to us afterward, but he was cool about it.

Casey: Isaac was cool about it?

Dan: Yeah.

Casey slightly twists his head as he has a hard time believing Isaac "being cool" over the incident.

Dan: We're together every single night, and there can be some straining moments. There may be moments where we don't get along, but as long as we stay out of each other's way, everything will run smoothly.

Casey: You're describing the relationship between you and Bobbi?

Dan: Yes.

Casey: Because if you added a child to your story, I would swear you'd be describing Lisa and me.

Dan: It's nowhere near the vicinity of you and Lisa.

Casey: Okay.

Dan: I'm serious. It isn't that bad.

Casey finishes his beer and sets his glass aside.

Casey: I might be wrong. It might be something else I'm seeing between you two.

Dan: Yeah.

Casey: It just might be true love.

Casey can't contain his huge grin as Dan pierces Casey's head with his eyes.


Isaac stands next to his desk and talks on the telephone. On the edge of his desk sits an opened cardboard box half-filled with styrofoam peanuts, a new tennis racket, and two new cans of florescent yellow tennis balls.

Isaac: (into phone) You've probably given me more information than I needed to know.

Dana walks in holding a clipboard.

Isaac: (into phone) Don't apologize. It happened, and let's move on. Listen, I've got someone in here. Yeah. I'll talk with you later.

Isaac hangs up his phone.

Isaac: Yeah?

Dana: Was it bad news? Did it have to do with the lawsuit? Don't tell me we've settled the lawsuit.

Isaac: That wasn't about the lawsuit.

Dana: I was figuratively speaking when I spoke. You'd tell me if it was about the lawsuit, right?

Isaac: Yeah.

Dana: Okay.

Isaac: Let me update you about these proposals.

Dana: Hold on, Isaac.

Isaac: What now?

Dana points to the items on Isaac's desk.

Dana: What's that on your desk?

Isaac: What does it look like to you?

Dana: It looks like a tennis racket and tennis balls.

Isaac: Astute observation. Nothing gets by you, Dana.

Dana: I didn't know you played tennis.

Isaac: I used to, when I was younger.

Dana: But you... obviously have decided to take up the sport once again.

Isaac: No.

Dana: Then why-

Isaac: It's a gift from the son of a former colleague. We worked together at CNN.

Dana: You worked with the colleague as opposed to the son?

Isaac: Yes.

Dana: So just out of the blue, someone sends you a gift- a gift in which you have no intentions of using.

Isaac: Yes.

Dana: Why?

Isaac: It was just a reminder.

Dana: Of what?

Isaac: Nothing.

Dana: Isaac? I don't have time to dig down into a box of Cracker Jacks to retrieve a decoder ring.

Isaac: There are some details I prefer not to be used as office banter.

Dana: Isaac, your life isn't used for office banter. It's used more for fact-based theories.

Isaac: That's what I hear.

Dana: I share with you the details concerning my professional and personal lives.

Isaac: One would think you could get a lifetime worth's of banter from your professional and personal lives.

Dana: Ooo, snappy comeback there, mister. You're not going to deter me.

Isaac: Are you saying you're going to bother me until I finally give in?

Dana: I'll be like a cell phone constantly ringing inside a theater during your favorite movie. I'll be like a fly buzzing around your head. I'll be like-

Isaac: An annoying producer keeping me from my work?

Dana: Precisely.

Isaac: Fine. The son of a former colleague sent me a gift. My former colleague's name is David Bracken.

Dana: David Bracken? David Bracken? Hold on there. Is it safe to assume his son is also named, David Bracken?

Isaac: Junior. David Bracken, Junior. He used to go by D.J., but in recent years, he's become more successful than his father-

Dana: And now he's known mostly as David, without the Junior.

Isaac: Correct.

Dana: David Bracken, Junior, one of the founders of the Global Sports Network.

Isaac: Yes.

Dana: David Bracken, one of the founders, sending you gifts.

Isaac: Yes.

Dana: David Bracken, one of the founders, is possibly trying to recruit you.

Isaac: No.

Dana: Then why-

Isaac: I was hoping we were going to discuss the proposals and not have an interrogation over this.

Dana: I'm just saying it's hard not to notice a tennis racket and those bright, bright tennis balls sitting on your desk. It cries out for an inquiry.

Isaac: Then may I remind you why I wanted you in here in the first place?

Dana: To talk about these proposals?

Isaac: Let's talk about the proposals. I'll preface our talk by saying it's still a work in progress.

Dana: How much more progress?

Isaac: Until I'm satisfied with the progress.

Dana: You could have sent me a memo.

Isaac: And take the chance of it falling into the wrong hands?

Dana: Whose hands?

Isaac: Hands belonging to neither you nor me.

Dana: Are you concerned about spies?

Isaac: I'm concerned about rumors and innuendo.

Isaac pulls out a list from his desk and hands it to Dana.

Dana: Is this list going to self-destruct in five seconds?

Isaac: This is still a work in progress.

After looking at Isaac, Dana scans the list and attempts to figure out Isaac's future plans.

Dana: I won't make initial judgments or objections because you say it's still a work in progress. But my first thoughts are the correspondents are going to have more work to do.

Isaac: I'm still working on that.

Dana: You're hiring more correspondents.

Isaac: Who said I'm hiring more correspondents?

Dana: You did.

Isaac: When?

Dana: Right now.

Isaac: Where?

Dana: You didn't say it directly on this proposal, but I'm starting to piece the puzzle together. I have an image of the finished project, and it looks fantastic.

Isaac: That's good to know.

Dana: I won't make any objections until all the pieces of the puzzle are laid out on the table.

Isaac: Okay.

Dana: But looking at these first pieces-

Isaac: Here we go.

Dana: What's going to happen to-

Isaac: Reassignments.

Dana: Okay. And when you say, "reassignments," what do you mean? Do you mean tweaking the show or a complete overhaul so drastic-

Isaac: Your job is safe.

Dana: Great.

Isaac: For as long as I don't hear these proposals outside of my office.

Dana: I can keep a secret, Isaac.

Isaac: Yeah, uh-huh.

Dana: Really, I can.

Isaac: I'm showing you this list, aren't I?

Dana sits proudly in her chair.

Dana: Oh. Yes. Yes, you are showing me this list.

Isaac: Okay.

Dana: Unless it's a ploy to try and have me give out misleading information.

Isaac shakes his head.

Dana: But you know what I think?

Isaac: I haven't the slightest clue.

Dana: I think you are preparing the future of "Sports Night" without you. Preparing it in this highly secretive fashion because this David Bracken, Junior, is trying to recruit you. You can't leave us behind, Isaac, because they are a bunch of bad, bad people. Don't trust them, Isaac.

Isaac stares at Dana in disbelief.

Isaac: It's like I've been talking to a brick wall.


Casey tries to remain calm as he goes down the corridor inside his workplace. He passes by a couple of coworkers.

Casey: It's only two people. There's nothing to worry about.

The two coworkers nod their heads at Casey's statement.

Casey continues walking. He passes by another coworker.

Casey: It's only two people. There's nothing to worry about.

The coworker nods and continues on.

Casey holds his head high and walks to the end of the corridor. He knocks on a door, opens it, and enters. Inside sits Casey's executive producer, Alexis May.

Casey: It's only two people. There's nothing to worry about.

Alexis: Yes, Casey. It's only two people.

Casey: Two more people just up and quit.

Alexis: Yes, Casey.

Casey: And it's nothing to worry about.

Alexis: Yes.

Casey: This is a good network. The pay is comparable with other networks.

Alexis: Comparable as it may be.

Casey: Plus this network receives critical acclaim and wins awards.

Alexis: I've seen the trophies.

Casey: So when a number of people suddenly quit, it's nothing to worry about.

Alexis: Yes.

Casey: But here's the thing... I'm worried about it.

Alexis: It's only two people.

Casey: Two people last week and two people today. Who knows how many will quit next week?

Alexis: Two?

Casey: Exactly. Two more might quit next week. Pretty soon, the numbers will be down to you and me.

Alexis: It's your show. You are already getting help from the Sports Division to assist with the production, so you'll be fine with the show.

Casey: With all these people quitting, there has to be some sort of explanation. Is it something I said? Is it something I did?

Alexis: No and no.

Casey: Then I would like a logical explanation on why four people would up and quit the show.

Alexis: They were unnecessary crew on your show. I've been told we will not be hampered by their decisions to leave.

Casey: Which begs the question, why did they leave?

Alexis: Maybe they got a better job offer. Maybe they were tired of running around the country. Maybe they wanted to quit before they were fired. Maybe they won the lottery. Maybe they felt enclosed in an environment where there isn't a clothing-opitional dress code, so they ran off to a nudist colony.

Casey: Maybe they are crazy.

Alexis: Maybe.

Casey: Alexis-

Alexis: Listen, Casey. They tendered their resignations. I'm not going to question their decisions. I accepted their decisions and had them leave.

Casey: You had security escort them from the building.

Alexis: Actually, Stan had security escort them from the building.

Casey: That's a little harsh, isn't it?

Alexis: The way Stan sees it, they were no longer employees with this network. Once their resignations reached him, they were no longer employed here, and non-employees in this area need to be escorted by security.

Casey: I only wish they came to me beforehand, if they had any issues.

Alexis: It's not time to dwell in the past. What's been done is done. Move on. You've got a live broadcast in two days.

Casey: Only if there are enough people to produce it.

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