In the commentary track included on the DVD, Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme reveal that Bradley Whitford's scenes in the pilot were shot while he was still finishing up work on the final season of The West Wing (1999) (hence his absence in two of the final three episodes of "The West Wing"). Schlamme also says that he, Whitford and other casting staff made conscious, deliberate effort to help Whitford create an entirely new character and 'check' himself from employing as few of the mannerisms as possible on which he relied in the portrayal of his longtime "The West Wing" character Josh Lyman.
The original name for the fictitious network was UBS, the same network from the film Network (1976) which broadcast shows such as The Howard Beale Show and The Mao Tze Tung Hour. The network was later changed to NBS.
Amanda Peet was still performing in the play "Barefoot in the Park" when the episode was filmed and would not abandon it. Her hair was still in a 1960s style, necessitating having it pulled back for the episode.