A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Garden



Isaac is inside his office watching some college basketball highlights as Natalie enters.

Natalie: Fields has a sweet jump shot.

Isaac: He certainly does.

The two watch Fields drain an eighteen footer with ease.

Isaac, with his remote, stops the tape.

Isaac: What is it you need, Natalie?

Natalie: I was dropping by to inform you of the latest developments.

Isaac: So what's the latest developments?

Natalie checks over the notes on her clipboard.

Natalie: Nothing.

Isaac: I was hoping you could give me something more substantial than nothing.

Natalie: "Nothing at all, sir."

Sam knocks on Isaac's door.

Isaac: Sam.

Isaac notices Sam holding a ratings book.

Sam: When you have a minute, I need to review some numbers.

Natalie: Is that the latest ratings book?

Sam: Yeah. Shall we do this later, Isaac?

Isaac: We can do this now.

Isaac sets the remote on his desk and pushes aside some paperwork. Sam enters the room and walks by Natalie. Natalie is slightly perturbed by the cold shoulder from Sam.

Natalie: Isaac, may I see the numbers after you have finished reviewing them?

Sam: I believe Isaac and I were going to have a meeting; a meeting consisting of this book, Isaac, myself, and minus you.

Natalie: Okay.

Isaac: I'm sorry. If you don't mind, Natalie.

Natalie: Sure. I don't mind at all.

Natalie walks to the door.

Isaac: Thank you for your understanding.

Natalie: Not a problem. Would you like for me to close the door on my way out?

Sam: You can leave it open.

Natalie: Isaac?

Isaac: If Sam feels a closed-door meeting isn't necessary-

Natalie: I can very easily close the door in order for you to have some privacy. You may not want any sensitive information to be overheard in the hallway.

Sam: We'll be fine.

Natalie: Really?

Isaac: Natalie.

Natalie: Okay. I'm leaving now to go do some work.

Isaac: Thank you.

Natalie exits the room. Isaac puts on his reading glasses as he turns the cover of the ratings book. Sam places his hand over the first page, covering the table of contents.

Isaac: Sam, is there something we should discuss beforehand?

Sam: There's some sensitive information.

Isaac: Is it safe to assume this book doesn't contain secret governmental codes?

Sam: I suppose.

Isaac: What is it?

Sam removes his hand and Isaac closes the book.

Sam: It doesn't look good.

Isaac: I thought we were closing in on second place for the quarter?

Sam: We were. The calculations are based on overall viewership, and with Bristol and Fox gaining a larger percentage of cable-accessed homes-

Isaac: How far are we expected to drop?

Sam: Fourth place, and with those numbers, the network is going to revamp all of its programming and eliminate positions.

Isaac: Sam-

Sam holds up his hand to momentarily quiet Isaac. The sound of footsteps can be heard running down the hall and away from Isaac's office.

Sam: I believe she's gone now.

Sam walks over and closes the door.

Isaac: You do realize Natalie is going to tell everybody.

Sam: Yeah. A little misinformation shouldn't hurt at this point.

Isaac: I'm sure Natalie will check her resources first.

Sam: She'll check them second after she tells everybody first. Now, let's discuss the real numbers.


Dana is inside the editing room. She is working on a feature for that evening's broadcast.

Natalie runs into the room.

Natalie: Dana.

Dana: Natalie. And why are you running through the building?

Natalie: Looking for you.

Dana: You're probably wondering what I'm doing.

Natalie: Not really.

Dana: I'm editing a feature about the labor situation in hockey.

Natalie: Have you spoken with Sam today?

Dana: No. This is going to be a good piece, Natalie. At the expense of self-interest, I believe this will be one of the better pieces we've produced this week.

Natalie: Good, because there are going to be some changes with the show.

Dana: Breaking news?

Natalie: Yeah.

Dana: What is it?

Natalie: Our stock has dropped 63 cents.

Dana: Okay.

Natalie: It was up thirty-eight cents early this morning.

Dana: So our stock is fluctuating.

Natalie: It's a one dollar change, Dana.

Dana: I am aware of the stock market, Natalie. Things tend to balance themselves out.

Natalie: The shareholders and brokers know something. They know there are going to be layoffs.

Dana: Here?

Natalie: Yeah. Plus, there will be drastic programming changes.

Dana: Where did you get this information?

Natalie: Sam.

Dana: Sam gave you this information?

Natalie: Sam told Isaac.

Dana: And you were listening through the door.

Natalie: The door was wide open.

Dana doesn't believe Natalie.

Dana: Sure.

Natalie: It was. The doorway was wide open for anybody to catch pieces of their conversation.

Dana: I haven't seen a memo, attended a meeting, or heard anything confirming or denying this news, Natalie. I'm not going to concern myself with this until I speak with Isaac.

Natalie: It's a one-dollar drop.

Dana: Are you suggesting I should sell my stock? That would be considered insider trading.

Natalie: I'm not suggesting anything.

Dana: If you are privy to information regarding the future of this network, you shouldn't suggest anything to anyone with a financial stake in this company.

Natalie: I'm not.

Dana: Good. I'll speak with Isaac, and we'll get this cleared up. Don't tell anybody anything, Natalie.

Natalie: In regards to what I just shared with you.

Dana: Yes.

Natalie: There's a slight problem.

Dana: I thought you were running around looking for me.

Natalie: I ran into people along the way. I shared. It came up in conversation.

Dana: It just sort of came up in casual conversation.

Natalie: I was stressing the urgency to find you.

Dana: Well, your urgency found me.

Natalie: And in good time.

Dana: I suppose we need to speak with Isaac right away.

Natalie: That would be prudent.

Dana shakes her head and pops out the tape from the editing machine. The two exit the editing room.


Jeremy is typing on his computer and using his shoulder to hold a telephone receiver next to his head.

Jeremy: (into phone) I don't have a confirmation on anything. All I know is that Chicago's management is in town, and you've told me Houston had a scout at the Bulls' game two nights ago.

Elliott walks over to Jeremy's desk.

Elliott: Houston has no comment.

Jeremy: Thanks. (into phone) I'm trying to put pieces together. I don't have a story unless somebody is willing to confirm or deny.

Kim joins the group. Jeremy stops typing in order to focus solely on his telephone conversation.

Kim: What have you guys got?

Elliott: Houston has no comment, and Jeremy's on the phone with Jerry Donaldson.

Kim: I think we need to work in additional time for Jerry and his NBA analysis. Where's Dana and Natalie?

Elliott: I saw Natalie running around a few minutes ago. Did you know our stock has dropped a dollar since this morning?

Kim: Who gives a damn?

Elliott: Natalie, for one.

Kim: I would also if I had a stock portfolio.

Jeremy finishes his call and lets out an air of frustration as he hangs up.

Elliott: What does Jerry have to say?

Jeremy: He knows Houston is interested in Chicago's Chandler. He knows Boston is interested in New York's Weatherspoon. Whether or not Chicago is interested in something from New York or vise versa, that remains to be confirmed.

Kim: So there's nothing in the works with a three- or four-team trade.

Jeremy: Or there could be something.

Elliott: We should inform Dana.

Jeremy: She should be conducting her first interview shortly.

Elliott: Then we need to inform Natalie.

Jeremy quickly checks his computer monitor for the latest stock quote.

Jeremy: Natalie soon will be spreading the news that we're down one-and-a-quarter.

Natalie enters the newsroom and is escorting Rob Landers. The two stop in front of Jeremy's desk.

Natalie: Guys? This is Rob Landers. Rob is interviewing for the open "Sports Night" anchor position.

Rob: Good afternoon, everybody.

The three producers collectively greet Rob.

Natalie: This is Elliott, Kim, and Jeremy. They all help with the production of the show.

Rob: Good to meet each one of you. Anything exciting happening in the world of sports?

Elliott: There is the possibility of a four-team trade-

Kim subtly bumps Elliott.

Elliott: What?

Kim: There could be a number of different avenues teams explore when trying to make improvements for the playoffs. For instance, staying rested and healthy.

Rob: I don't mean to intrude, but I certainly hope I get the opportunity to work with you. It's good to meet you.

Natalie: We've got to go. Have any of you seen Isaac?

Jeremy: Isaac's in a meeting.

Natalie: Yeah. Dana and I were hoping he would be back. In the meantime, we'll be heading to Dana's office. Keep me posted on when Isaac finishes his meeting.

Jeremy: We'll do.

Natalie and Rob head toward Dana's office. Once the two exit the newsroom, Elliott and Kim turn on each other.

Elliott: Why did you hit me?

Kim: I didn't hit you. I merely nudged you.

Elliott: It hurt.

Kim: With the rumors of job cuts, you shouldn't give anybody interviewing for a position an advantage by informing them of possible breaking news.

Elliott: If there's any breaking news, everybody will know because of the live feed on all the monitors.

Jeremy: Good point.

Kim nudges Elliott again.


Dana knocks on Sam's door and walks into his office.

Dana: Good afternoon, Sam.

Sam looks up from his laptop.

Sam: Yeah.

Dana: Could I please have a quick word with you?

Sam: I'm certain you'll do a great job in helping choose Dan's next partner.

Dana: Thank you, but I wish to discuss another subject.

Sam smiles, knowing Dana is under his mercy.

Dana: Have you recently seen Isaac?

Sam: Yeah.

Dana: I know he's currently in a meeting, but would you care to give me some insight to what the meeting is about?

Sam: I believe you know what is on the meeting agenda.

Dana: Discussions involving my show.

Sam: And, I'm not mistaken when I say this, you are not currently involved with the meeting because you are supposedly conducting interviews in pursuit of your new co-anchor.

Dana: Yes.

Sam: How are the interviews going?

Dana: I... never mind that... The first interview isn't for another five minutes. Have you seen today's stock quote?

Sam takes a quick look at the Quo Vadimus stock quote in the corner of his laptop window.

Sam: It's down.

Dana: By a good deal.

Sam: I don't believe it's changed much from the opening bell.

Dana: Is there any particular reasoning to why our stock price is dropping?

Sam takes a second look at his laptop.

Sam: According to the market's numbers, the exchange is down as a whole.

Dana: I heard you received the recent ratings book.

Sam: You heard from your associate producer.

Dana: Yes, I heard from Natalie.

Sam: Isaac currently has the book.

Dana: And Isaac's in a meeting.

Sam: So you stated.

Dana: Would you care to share with me some of the information contained in the book?

Sam: Not particularly.

Dana: Sam.

Sam: I am trying to determine whether we have enough time to share such information. If such information shaded to be on the negative side, then I'd be concerned about your focus on your upcoming interviews.

Dana: I believe I am professional enough to handle such information so that it wouldn't impact my attitude when conducting an interview.

Sam: Okay.

Dana impatiently waits for Sam to divulge some more information.

Dana: Sam?

Sam: I also believe punctuality is a part of being professional, and, judging by my watch, you have just a few minutes to get to your office and ask your list of questions.

Dana: Just tell me if the news good or bad.

Sam: It depends on which side you're hearing it from.

Dana can barely contain her anger. She quickly checks her watch.

Dana: I'm going to go do this interview. I will be back after I am done.

Dana turns her back on Sam.

Sam: Dana?

Dana quickly turns around.

Dana: Yes?

Sam: Don't forget to be professional.

Dana doesn't say a word. She only glares at Sam as she exits his office.


Walking at a brisk pace, Jeremy goes into Anthony's. He goes straight to the bar. There, Jack has prepared a carryout bag for Jeremy. Jeremy hands some cash over to Jack, and Jack gives him his bagged meal.

As Jeremy turns to leave, he spots Casey sitting on the other side of the bar. Jeremy decides he can spare a minute to walk over and say "hello."

Jeremy: Hello.

Casey, who has brought along some of his paperwork, is pleasantly surprised.

Casey: Hey, Jeremy.

Jeremy: You look like you've been here all day.

Casey: I haven't been here all day.

Jeremy: I believe you were here during Dana's lunch.

Casey: I haven't been here all day.

Jeremy: And you've got paperwork.

Casey: I carry my paperwork because, first, Dana and I haven't specified an area at home where I can do my paperwork and, second, I no longer have an office.

Jeremy: Because they cancelled your show.

Casey: Yes, because they cancelled my show.

Jeremy: But since you're working on a dozen shows with a similar number of assignments, I would assume your network would give you some place to work.

Casey: Actually, five shows, Jeremy. Also, I do have a cubicle.

Jeremy: Do you have a fear of cubicles? I, myself, couldn't bear to be isolated in that kind of working environment. I see those artificial walls as a barrier. It prevents a smooth-working atmosphere and hinders any camaraderie among the coworkers.

Casey: You're claustrophobic.

Jeremy: True.

Casey: I don't enjoy my cubicle because I share it with two other people.

Jeremy: Kind of like a time-share.

Casey: Yeah, something like that.

Casey takes notice of Jeremy's carryout bag.

Casey: What do you have there?

Jeremy: A late lunch. It's been a busy day.

Casey: I thought Dana said it was going to be a slow news day.

Jeremy: Unless you are playoff-contention basketball teams which need to improve their stocks of talent before the postseason.

Casey: Are Boston and New York actually pulling off the deal?

Jeremy: Well, I don't believe they want to trade with each other since they are inside the same division.

Casey: They want extra teams to work a deal. Plus, I hear Chicago and Houston are outside of their division.

Jeremy: Exactly! I just can't get anyone to go on the record.

Casey: I've got a source involved with the Rockets organization.

Jeremy: Great! Casey, you've got to help me! In exchange, I'll give you my lunch.

Jeremy tries to hand Casey his takeout order.

Casey: No thanks, Jeremy.

Jeremy: No, please take it. I'm in desperate need for information, not to mention losing a few pounds.

Casey: I can help you out sans the meal.

Jeremy: Elliott couldn't get Houston to comment.

Casey: That's because he went through the Rockets' front office, while I took another route. I'm friends with Lorenzo Kensington's agent. It seems Kensington was scheduled to film a commercial for a local Houston car dealership. It had to be cancelled unexpectedly, and Kensington's wife was reportedly spotted at Houston International boarding a flight to Logan International.

Jeremy: Kensington's going to Boston.

Casey: Either that, or his wife had an urge to hang out on Newbury Street.

Jeremy: That's one piece of the puzzle! I owe you, Casey.

Casey: Just be sure to tell Dana and Isaac who helped you on the tip.

Jeremy: Is it to make up for the stairclimber?

Casey: Excuse me?

Jeremy: Yeah, Dana mentioned she was missing her stairclimber. Suspicion pointed toward you because there was no sign of a break-in. Also, the only thing missing was a piece of workout equipment instead of the more popular jewelry and electronics.

Casey: The stairclimber has been donated to a worthy charity. They'll put it to good use, instead of letting it collect dust.

Jeremy: Dana did mention the clean spot on the carpet where the stairclimber once stood.

Casey: Besides, she already retaliated by getting rid of some of my prized possessions.

Jeremy: If you two are fighting, maybe I shouldn't be involved-

Casey: We're not fighting, Jeremy. It's merely a disagreement.

Jeremy: A disagreement over stuff being thrown away.

Casey: Given to charity.

Jeremy: Right.

Casey: Just let Isaac know who helped you out. It may become useful since the network is trying to find someone to work with Danny.

Jeremy: You're saying you want to come back to "Sports Night"?

Casey: Well... not exactly. Just if they are looking for some viable candidates.

Jeremy: I understand.

Jeremy becomes worried over becoming involved in the anchor-hiring process.

Casey: What's wrong?

Jeremy: It's just...

Casey: What is it?

Jeremy: They've brought in Dan's former partner from Chicago to interview for the position.

Casey is shocked.

Casey: Really?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Jeremy decides to cheer up Casey.

Jeremy: But I'll still put in that word for you.

Casey becomes distant.

Casey: Yeah.

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