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TV Note: 3/2/02

Saturday, March 02, 2002

Sorkin slams NBC's White House special

Aaron Sorkin, the creator of NBC's political drama "The West Wing," has criticized his own network, calling anchorman Tom Brokaw's special, "The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing," a "valentine" to George W. Bush.

"The White House pumped up the president's schedule to show him being much busier and more engaged than he is, and Tom Brokaw let it happen -- the show was a valentine to Bush," Sorkin said in The New Yorker magazine.

Brokaw's special aired Jan. 23 in the time slot immediately preceding "The West Wing." Although its title ties in to the popular drama, Brokaw has done similar behind-the-scenes specials for every president back to Richard Nixon.

The show's opening acknowledged that Bush's schedule for the day was heavier than usual for the benefit of the cameras -- as had been done with other presidents.

Brokaw declined to comment on Sorkin's statement. Neither Sorkin nor "The West Wing" producers were saying anything either.

In a teleconference with reporters, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said the network didn't take issue with Sorkin's statements, except in regard to Brokaw. Zucker said Sorkin and Brokaw spoke, and Sorkin apologized for his characterization of Brokaw's report.

Sorkin said "The West Wing's" mythical president, Jed Bartlet, will run for re-election against the fictional Florida governor, "who's not the sharpest tool in the box but who's raised a lot of money and is very popular with the Republican Party."

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

ABC woos Letterman

ABC is trying to persuade David Letterman to switch his late-night talk show from CBS, a bold move that would oust "Nightline" from the time slot it's held for two decades.

Letterman's representatives are talking with ABC and CBS, where he has worked since moving from NBC in 1993. His contract with CBS is up in August.

Letterman has been the longtime No. 2 in the ratings behind NBC's Jay Leno in the late-night comic wars.

He's been unhappy for some time that CBS's older prime-time audience and the weak local news programs on CBS affiliates don't provide him with a stronger lead-in.

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

Murphy on 'Early Show'

Child psychologist and State Sen. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, will appear on Monday's "The Early Show" (7 a.m., KDKA) to discuss his new book, "The Angry Child: Regaining Control When Your Child is Out of Control."

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

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