The Ties That Bind



The crew is in the middle of the afternoon rundown and seated inside the conference room.

Dana: What's the latest on Northern California?

Elliott: Reportedly, two days ago, Coach Francis locked them inside their practice facilities for three hours on the day after their loss to Nevada.

Dana: And the reason being?

Natalie: Their seventh straight loss?

Dan: Or maybe the fact the team is shooting under thirty percent and committing an average of 15-plus turnovers a game.

Kim: A couple of players missed some classes because of the lock down, and one is quoted as saying "they were being held hostage on their own campus."

Dana: Anything take place during the meeting with the athletic director? Also is there any word that Francis might be fired?

Elliott: The players aired their grievances, and some sort of announcement is expected to be made by the school's chancellor and athletic director. As for the status of Francis, word ranges from him being fired to having his contract extended.

Kim: Students are having a support rally for Francis around five o'clock local time.

Dana: Kelly's already there, so we will go live with this.

Isaac: Back in my day, word of something like this occurring would be thought of as a coach shaping boys into disciplined men.

Dan: Isaac, back in your day, the hoops were still made from peach baskets.

Dana: Okay, so we're all aware that we'll need some wiggle room for the story. Be prepared to trim the NHL and NBA to games pertinent to playoff implications, and keep spring training pretty trim. We'll probably do a 2-minute wrap-around between the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.

Dan: Two minutes each or two minutes total?

Dana: Two minutes total. And... more importantly, on a personal note, has everybody heard-

"Four and thirteen" responds everybody else.

Dana: Oh, great. And even though we all have cause to celebrate-

Dan: Could you mention the categories one more time, Dana?

Dana: Okay, Natalie and Jeremy each were nominated for-

Dan: Yeah, I was being facetious.

Dana: Okay. Even though we all have cause to celebrate, let's not let the nominations go to our heads. We've got some tough work ahead of us, so now is not the time to be taking it easy.

Dana: If that's it, let's call it a wrap.

The crew gather their notes, and they start to leave the room.

Isaac: Dana?

Dana: Yes, Isaac.

Dana and Isaac exit the conference room.

Isaac: There are several interviews scheduled for today.

Dana: Yeah, people looking to become Bobbi's successor.

Isaac: I feel this would be in the network's best interests if you conducted the interviews.

Dana: Me?

Isaac: Yes. This would be a great experience for you. Do you have a problem with that?

Dana: Well, you're the managing editor of "Sports Night." I would assume you would be the one to do the hiring.

Isaac: I didn't suggest you would do the hiring.

Dana: But you want me to conduct the interviews.

Isaac: Yes, and make some suggestions to whom should be considered for a second interview.

Dana: A second interview to be conducted by you, after my suggestions are given to you.

Isaac: Exactly. This would be a valuable experience. I highly regard your suggestions, and since you will be working closely with Dan's new partner, this is a situation with upswing and benefits.

Dana: You just want me to weed out the crazies.

Isaac: Like I said, upswing and benefits.


Dan is typing on his computer as Natalie enters his office.

Natalie: I've got the preview for the upcoming race at Daytona.

Natalie sets a video tape on the edge of Dan's desk.

Dan: Thanks, Natalie.

Natalie clutches her clipboard and watches Dan type.

Natalie: Are you okay?

Dan: Yeah.

Natalie: No sniffles, no coughing, no illnesses of any sort?

Dan: None whatsoever.

Natalie: Fabulous.

Natalie turns and exits. Dan leans back in his chair and waits for Natalie's return. Dan only has to wait a few seconds.

Natalie: Danny?

Dan: Natalie.

Natalie: Is everything going great with JoAnne?

Dan: Natalie, what is it you want?

Natalie: I'm just checking to see how things are going.

Dan: Are we done with this game of twenty questions?

Natalie: You tell me.

Dan: Yes.

Dan gets up to pull a book off its shelf.

Natalie: How's your dad?

Dan: The game continues with your fifth question.

Natalie: So how's your dad?

Dan: What does my father have to do with this conversation? He has no involvement in this whatsoever.

Natalie: I was curious because I took his phone message for you. You seemed upbeat before receiving the message, and you've been down after.

Dan: My father is well.

Dan takes a reference book and begins flipping through it.

Natalie: He sounded in a good mood when he called.

Dan: Yeah.

Natalie: He heard about the nominations, didn't he?

Dan: Somewhat. My mother gave him some misinformation. He thought when the show was nominated that I was the one being nominated.

Natalie: We were nominated.

Dan: Yeah. He mistakenly thought I was singly nominated.

Natalie: So everything is well with your dad?

Dan: Yeah.

Dan closes the book with a thump and places it back on the shelf.

Natalie: I was concerned with your dad because Jeremy said you won't be coming to Anthony's to celebrate the network's success. I'm glad to hear everything is all right.

Dan: It's going good.

Natalie: Come join us at Anthony's tonight. It isn't going to be elaborate. It's just going to be a bunch of coworkers and friends getting together.

Dan: Yeah, you're right. I might be coming down with something.

Natalie: It isn't only about me, Jeremy, and Dana. The show has been nominated, too. This is our very first nomination. It's a good time to celebrate, and you are a big part of our success.

Dan: Maybe another night.

Dan's phone rings.

Dan: I've got to get that.

Natalie: Come on, Danny. Come out with us tonight.

Dan: I'll think about it.

Dan answers his phone.

Dan: (into phone) Hello. This is Dan Rydell.

Natalie slowly leaves, believing Dan will not "think about it."


Dana escorts a gentleman into her office.

Dana: Please have a seat, Ben.

Ben: Thank you.

Ben unbuttons his suit jacket before sitting in front of Dana's desk. Dana sits in her chair and grabs a notepad and pencil.

Dana: In reading your resumé, I saw where you had worked in local markets: Phoenix, Memphis, and San Antonio.

Ben: That's correct. I do believe in working my way up. Going from a local, yet, major market to a national audience is the next logical step in my progress.

Dana: That's great. We love ambition in the people we hire.

Ben: Thank you.

Dana: We also want to see some basic knowledge. Since you're currently in San Antonio, if I were to ask you about the pairings in the Alamo Bowl...

Dana motions to Ben, trying to pull out an answer.

Dana: You may answer at any time.

Ben: Oh, I'm sorry. The Alamo Bowl pairs teams from the Big Ten and Big Twelve. The game brings in about 10 million dollars to the local economy-

Dana: That's great. Changing subjects: the MVP from San Antonio's two NBA championships...

Ben: Tim Duncan on each championship team.

Dana: Great. You certainly know your San Antonio sports. I'm sure you find yourself having to understand and know Texas prep sports because that's what your core audience is wanting to view during your sportscast.

Ben: That's correct.

Dana: And in wanting to make a jump from a local, major market to a national audience, I have to ask you one question.

Ben: Could I handle the pressure of working for the Continental Sports Channel?

Dana: Not exactly. What can you tell me about the White Sox's middle relief?

Ben: Excuse me?

Dana: The Chicago White Sox. What can you tell me about their middle relief?

Ben begins to feel ill as he tries to come up with an answer.

Dana: Ben?

Ben: Yes?

Dana: Tell me anything at all.

Ben: About the White Sox middle relief?

Dana: That's what I asked.

Ben: They come after the starters and before the closer.


Dana is interviewing another candidate inside her office.

Dana: Avery, what can you tell me about the White Sox middle relief?

Avery: Which year?

Dana: Which year? How about this past season?

Avery goes deep into thought.

Avery: Last year's Chicago White Sox... middle relief... I believe... finished seventh in the American League in ERA at 4.28... it might be 4.32... and I think they might have been sixth in winning percentage... in the American League.

Dana: Okay.

Avery: I'm not certain, but feel free to double-check those numbers.

Dana: I trust you.

Avery: Thank you.

Dana: What can you tell me about the Denver Broncos running game?

Avery: Which year?

Dana: Oh, let me pick out a year - 1986.

Avery: Denver Broncos... 1986... I believe they won the AFC that season... running game... they primarily ran a one-back offense with either two tight ends or a tight end and H-back or three wide receivers... Sammy Winder led them in rushing and rushing touchdowns.

Dana: Amazing.

Avery: Again, feel free to double-check that.

Dana: Judging by your confidence, I think you are very, very close.

Avery: Thank you.

Dana: Here's another question: what do you feel about women's figure skating?

Avery: The U.S. has a great crop of youngsters, but you can never go wrong with Michelle Kwan.

Dana: So you believe figure skating is a very competitive sport.

Avery: Yes.

Dana: Give me an argument that it's not.

Avery: I agree Michelle Kwan is great, but I don't think she dominates-

Dana: I'm sorry, what I mean is give me an argument that women's figure skating is not a sport.

Avery: It is.

Dana: Some people, like yourself, believe figure skating is a sport. There are other people who believe otherwise. Give me a convincing argument from their perspective.

Avery: Well, Miss Whitaker, they're wrong.

Dana: Here at "Sports Night," we like to give balanced reporting. Even though we each have our own opinion, understanding the differentiating opinions will allow us to report a balanced story.

Avery: I see.

Dana: So tell me how women's figure skating is not a sport.

Avery: Um... uh... it's not a sport because... they compete on ice?

Dana: Well, that's not convincing, and be sure not to tell your reasoning to the New York Islanders.


Casey knocks on Isaac's door. Isaac is surprised to see his former anchor standing in his doorway.

Isaac: Casey, come in. It's great to see you.

Casey enters and the two meet and shake hands in the middle of the room.

Casey: You're looking good, Isaac.

Isaac: I feel good.

Isaac invites Casey to sit. The two sit in front of Isaac's desk.

Casey: Congratulations on all your nominations.

Isaac: And three nominations for you, Casey. It looks like you are doing a great job.

Casey: Thanks.

Isaac: What brings you here?

Casey: I saw Danny working on an assignment-

Isaac: Good.

Casey: And Dana was conducting some interviews.

Isaac: Even better. So you find yourself with some idle time.

Casey: I did want to come and visit, for just a moment... and to pass along some information.

Isaac: Okay. What do you have?

Casey: I think it might be best if I don't show up over the next few weeks or month.

Isaac: Is something bothering you, Casey?

Casey: No, I'm great. I've got some nominations, and I'm going to be working on a number of shows.

Isaac: I'm sorry about your show's cancellation.

Casey: Thanks.

Isaac: It's a real shame they couldn't find a spot for a critically-acclaimed and possibly award-winning program.

Casey: I've still got job stability.

Isaac: You feel great and are working on a number of projects. Why did you feel the need to tell me you won't be gracing our offices over the next few weeks?

Casey: To avoid any possible controversy.

Isaac leans back in his chair.

Isaac: Over selecting Danny's new on-air partner.

Casey: Yeah.

Isaac: You're in my office.

Casey: Yeah.

Isaac: You don't believe this would raise any suspicions?

Casey: Well, I felt it was my obligation to tell you that I didn't want to cause any problems.

Isaac: My telephone is working fine, Casey. You could have called and given me the news.

Casey: I didn't want to raise any suspicions.

Isaac: It's quite a conundrum you're creating.

Casey: It's just for the next few weeks.

Isaac: Okay.

Casey stands up.

Casey: It was great seeing you again.

Isaac: Take care, Casey.

Isaac watches Casey leave his office.


Dana takes a sip of coffee during another interview. She hopes the caffeine will keep her alert.

Dana: Okay, Candy. You've managed to answer all the questions. Do you have any questions for me?

Candy: I have one.

Dana: Great. What is it?

Candy: Does this network have regional bureaus outside of New York?

Dana: We used to have a bureau on the West Coast, but it was consolidated with the East Coast a few years back.

Candy: Oh.

Dana: Does that pose some sort of problem?

Candy: Just a little. You see, my husband is transferring to New York for his promotion. In order to continue to move up in his company, he would have to be promoted to another office outside of New York.

Dana: So if your husband would be promoted... say to Seattle, if they have an office there, you would want to transfer to Seattle or some place where we might have a regional bureau.

Candy: Exactly.

Dana: I understand completely. I was in Los Angeles, my promotion took me to Dallas, and my next promotion took me here.

Candy: I'm glad you understand, Dana.

Dana: Of course, I understand. I also understand that this would be one heck of a promotion.


An exhausted Dana knocks on Isaac's open door. Isaac stops his paperwork as Dana leans against the door frame.

Dana: Isaac? There are days when you are not so lovable. This is one of those days.

Isaac: I take it the interviews didn't go well.

Dana: In a matter of speaking.

Isaac: There's nobody you would recommend to me?

Dana: I've been weeding them out.

Isaac: You saw the benefit of not finding someone who qualifies for the job.

Dana: You're referring to the upswing?

Isaac: Yeah.

Dana: Maybe you just want to drive me crazy.

Isaac laughs.

Isaac: The upswing is you know what you want in a new anchor and how you want to shape your show. Even though you didn't find your new anchor today... eventually you will.

Click here to continue with Sports Night...