In an episode originally broadcast live (there are two versions, one for the Eastern and Central time zones; one for the Pacific time zone), Santos and Vinnick square off in a debate with TV newsman Forrest Sawyer (as himself) moderating. Halfway through the debate, Santos departs from the "script" and begins delivering statements while pacing the stage; Vinnick joins in. Other cast members appear briefly in backstage film segments, and Ellen DeGeneres hosts (also on film) from an adjacent sound stage. Alan Alda (Vinnick), an accomplished stage actor, seems much more comfortable with the live format than Jimmy Smits (Santos) who blows several lines during the East Coast hour. Written by
Did You Know?
The Debate was advertised as a "live presidential debate" and was actually telecast live twice, once for the East and West coasts, with limited commercial interruption. It was also one of the few times actors were allowed to go "off script." See more
West Wing Main Title
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony See more