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Sorkin Rides Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 4, 2006

I wrote a column for today's Beacon Journal about how important writers and directors can be to actors. (You can find it here.) In it I mentioned the collaboration of Aaron Sorkin and Bradley Whitford, and that Whitford was planning a new project with Sorkin. Today, NBC picked up that project as a series for the fall. Here's the announcement:

NBC has added "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" - the new backstage television drama series from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme (both for NBC's "The West Wing")-- to its Fall 2006-07 primetime schedule, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.

"Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme's work is TV at its best and 'Studio 60' lives up to that standard," said Reilly.  "I'm thrilled they are back on NBC for the Fall."

Among the stars of the ensemble cast are Matthew Perry ("Friends"), Amanda Peet ("Syriana"), Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing"), Sarah Paulson ("Down with Love"), D.L. Hughley ("The Hughleys"), Nathan Corddry ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"), Timothy Busfield ("thirtysomething"), Steven Weber ("Wings"), Evan Handler ("The West Wing") and Carlos Jacott ("Being John Malkovich").   

Sorkin returns to television with this crackling take on the drama behind the humor of producing a popular, late-night comedy sketch show, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."  He lays bare the backstage politics, romances and delicate balance between creative talent, on-air personalities and network executives in an instant text-messaging world. 

Prominent are Jordan McDeere (Peet), a savvy new network entertainment chief who inherits a massive public relations disaster on the series -- even before she starts her first day - and Matt Albie (Perry) and Danny Tripp (Whitford), a brilliant creative team that she wants to resurrect the program.  Also playing crucial roles are the sketch comedy series stars Harriet Hayes (Paulson), Simon Stiles (Hughley) and Tom Jeter (Corddry), their normally cool-headed director, Cal Shanley (Busfield) as well as supreme network honcho Jack Rudolph (Weber).

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