Tag Archives: White House

An American Writer

A little over a decade ago, NBC’s fall television line-up included a new drama called “The West Wing.”

I can’t remember now what initially drew me to the series.  Was it Rob Lowe in the cast?  Washington D.C. as the setting?  All the characters talking about the then mysterious “POTUS”?  Or did the promos say ‘brought to you by the creator of The American President?’

Any of those would have worked on me.

But after witnessing the series premiere’s first scene alone — that now famous ‘walk and talk’ through the corridors of the White House — I was hooked.  My friends will tell you, I became a huge unpaid front man for the show, constantly trying to get more people on board to watch.

So, no one was prouder than me when “The West Wing” won a record 9 Emmy awards in its first year, including Best Drama.  I even hung a banner on my cubicle at Hallmark Cards.  (I believe it said, “I told you so.”)

By that time, I knew one of the big reasons I kept watching:  writer/creator Aaron Sorkin.  He has scribed so many movies and TV shows that I love.  A Few Good Men.  Malice.  The American President. “Sports Night.”  Even “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”  (Hey, someone had to like it.)

Sorkin’s writing is intelligent and real, always rapid-fire and often preachy when he feels the need to soapbox (which is quite often).  I think he was the perfect choice to write “The Social Network,” the movie about the birth of Facebook, which opens today.

I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailers look amazing….and early reviews are glowing.  And based on his record, I’ll bet I give Mr. Sorkin a really big “like” for his latest effort.

Staying power

I have decided the lack of sunshine in California has confused the entertainment community.

Jay Leno won’t go home…and Rob Lowe won’t stay.

Just when he was riding high again in the popular TV drama “Brothers & Sisters,” Lowe has decided to leave the show because he feels he is being ‘underused.’  Parent network ABC let him go, but is keeping him around to possibly anchor his own show in the future.

Where have I heard that before….?

Yes, it has shades of Leno in it.  But it also has shades of Lowe.

Remember Rob Lowe as earnest White House speech writer Sam Seaborn on “The West Wing?”  Even though it was structured as an ensemble drama, Lowe’s character was initially intended to be the show’s center, and President Jed Bartlet, portrayed by Martin Sheen, very much in the background.  In fact, Sheen’s initial contract was only written for four episodes.

But I think we all know what happened there.

A show about the West Wing of the White House — with Martin Sheen as POTUS — rotates around that central figure…and not the assistant communications director.  So after four seasons, Lowe left the show to anchor his own series.

It was called “Dr. Vegas.”  It lasted 10 episodes.  Oh — and Lowe was offered the part of McDreamy on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but he turned it down because he didn’t want to do another ensemble drama. Hmmm.

So, Rob — I know it’s raining.  I know the light has dimmed.  But try to see the pattern that you’ve fallen into…

Yet again.

Not for sale

Turns out, President Obama has a lot more than the election in Massachusetts to be worried about.

Have you heard how the White House is losing its property value?

It’s true. It’s dropping like a lead balloon.

Zillow, the online real estate database, gave the president’s residence an estimated value of $292,386,000 as of January 18th. That’s down $15.6 million since Obama first took office last year. And it had already lost $23.8 million the last year President George W. Bush was in office.

I have to wonder how Zillow came up with these estimated values. In a standard appraisal, the appraiser looks at homes of comparable value. Where do you find homes that compare with a 55,000 square-foot building that sits on 18 acres, and has 132 rooms including 16 family-guest rooms, an underground bunker, three kitchens, three elevators, and 28 fireplaces?

And does the popularity of the president sitting in office affect the property value? It shouldn’t — just as my likeability as a person shouldn’t affect my own home’s value — but does it, in the case of the President of the United States?

Regardless, he’ll never to worry about resale.

Lucky stiff.