Synopsis by Hal Erickson
One of the two NBC series debuting in the fall of 2006 which took place backstage at a Saturday Night Live-style comedy show (the other was 30 Rock), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was the brainchild of The West Wing's Aaron Sorkin. This weekly, hour-long dramedy concerned itself with the million-and-one intrigues behind the hallowed walls of the fictional "NBS" network, where ambitious new president Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) was determined to pump fresh blood into the network's anemic Prime Time schedule. Over the objections of imperious NBS chairman Jack Rudolph (Steve Weber), McDeere rehired writer Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and director Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford), who had been fired from the staff of the network's weekly ensemble-comedy offering "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" two years before. It was hoped that Albie and Danny could save the flagging property from cancellation, a formidable task in that "Studio 60" was already collapsing from within thanks to a surfeit of egotism and ill-will. For head writer Matt Albie, the challenge was doubly difficult: it so happened that "Studio 60"'s star Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) was his former lover. Fortunately, Matt and Cal worked together so harmoniously that it would seem that Jordan McDeere's strategy for rescuing her network from oblivion was sheer brilliance. . .maybe. Other regulars included D.L. Hughley and Nathan Corddry, respectively, as popular "Studio 60" cast members Simon Styles and Tom Jeter. Filled to overflowing with smart-and-savvy inside references to the state of network TV in the first decade of the 21st century (many of the "jokes" were at the expense of the series' host network NBC), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip premiered September 18, 2006.