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An NBC ensemble show that premiered in 2006 about life behind the scenes at a fictional failing sketch comedy show. No, not the one with Tina Fey. You're thinking of ''Series/ThirtyRock''. This one was the one created by Creator/AaronSorkin, was an hour-long, had a much more dramatic slant, and ended up lasting only a single season.

After the creator of failing sketch-comedy show "Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip" is fired for launching into an angry improvised rant on the state of television during a live broadcast, former writers Danny Tripp (now a producer barred from his next Hollywood film for testing positive for cocaine) and Matt Albie (presumed AuthorAvatar for Sorkin) are called in by plucky new network executive Jordan [=McDeere=] and her amoral boss Jack Rudolph to save the ShowWithinAShow, which stars Harriet Hayes (a fundamentalist Christian and Matt Albie's ex-girlfriend), Tom Jeter (all-American midwesterner with a brother serving in Afghanistan), and Simon Stiles (the TokenMinority and not particularly pleased with it). Each week the cast deals with personal and professional issues in front of and behind the camera as they try to make sure the show gets off the ground.

And politics. Lots and lots of politics. [[SarcasmMode For some reason.]]
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!!This show provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: Wasn't there a reporter writing an article?
* AlliterativeName: Harriet Hayes (née ''Hannah'' Harriet Hayes), Simon Stiles, and even the name of the show itself.
* AllStarCast: This was a TV show with a feature-film-worthy cast of regulars. A large part of the reason the show didn't get renewed for a second season was because the cast was just so darn expensive.
* AsHimself: The celebrity guests are this [[ShowWithinAShow to the power of two]]; Rob Reiner as Rob Reiner, as Rob Reiner!
* AuthorAvatar: Matt. Oh so very much
** Although both Matt and Danny actually display symptoms of this, when you take into account Danny's (and Aaron Sorkin's) history of drug-related problems.
* AuthorCatchPhrase (the very last episode was "What Kind of Day Has It Been" -- and there are likely others.)
** In "The Wrap Party," Tom says that his parents seem not to understand that he could "buy [their] house four times and turn it into [his] ping-pong room." In "4 AM Miracle," Matt talks about other people claiming they wrote a script of his and dismissing it because "if they’d written it, they’d have written it." Both lines are echoed in ''TheSocialNetwork.''
* AuthorTract: This show took the preachiness from ''Series/TheWestWing'' and turned it UpToEleven.
* BabiesEverAfter
* BilingualBackfire
* BrokenAesop: On the Nevada Day episode of , The writers clearly tried to get across a message about how not everyone in small towns is an unreasonable, stuck in the dark ages bible bashing gun-nut (To the point where John Goodman's character actually says something to that effect). Its a nice if glaringly obvious aesop that gets broken because the Judge was giving them every reason to believe that he really was as bad as they thought he was. When he comes into the sheriff's office, He puts a holstered gun on the table,refers to nearby chinese people as "Japs", refuses to listen to any legal arguments from the attorney and threatens to have him shot if he keeps talking (I.e, actually trying to defend his client) and claims to have never heard of the station they work for. He then has a good laugh at their expense and chastises them in a manner clearly directed at audience members who had made their mind up. Its like calling someone a racist name and chastising them for assuming you're racist. The judge even tells Tom that he doesn't like his show in a manner that basically says "I don't like what you do for a living so I'm not going to be fair or do my job right". The only thing that saves Tom is having a brother in the army and we never get a sense that the judge would have been fair or lenient otherwise. It also doesn't help that the show has previously shown Tom's parents from the midwest as so hopelessly out of touch with pop culture that they've never heard of Abbot & Costello despite presumable growing up in the 1950's.
* CannotTellAJoke: Harriet. You'd think this would hurt her career, but it seems she's mainly a comic actress/impressionist -- that is, she's capable of ''being funny'', just not of telling a conventional 'joke' joke.
* CastingGag: Openly bisexual Sarah Paulson as the conservative Christian Harriet Hayes, whose ambiguous feelings about gay marriage factor significantly into the plot of "Nevada Day."
** Doubly so during a conversation between her and Jordan about fixing the bad press she got from commenting on it.
--> '''Jordan''': Here's what I need you to do to fix it--
--> '''Harriet''' (Sarcastically): By going on the cover of Newsweek and saying I’m gay?
--> '''Jordan''': Would you be willing to do that? I'm kidding!
** There may be a historical allusion here also. The character of Harriet Hayes might have been named after Harry Hay, a pioneer in the gay rights movement.
* CelebrityParadox: The ShowWithinAShow has actors and comedians as celebrity guests, but not all of them are more famous than the show's own actors. Best way to tell is if you haven't seen them in a previous episode, they're [[AsHimself As Themselves]].
** Particulary weird was Allison Janney as herself, as she was (and is) most famous for her role on TheWestWing, a show written and directed by Sorkin which co-starred Bradley Whitford that had Timothy Busfield as a frequent supporting cast member and Janney's love interest.
** Even weirder: Janney indicated to another character that this person had her confused with Christine Lahti. Earlier in the season, Christine Lahti had guest-starred, playing a reporter.
* CellPhonesAreUseless: An instance of double-cell-phone-failure is used to HandWave the obvious solution to the locked-out-on-the-roof plot.
* CommediaDellArte: Rarely seen but often mentioned, a regular sketch on the ShowWithTheShow, starring Jeanie (although it's not clear which of the roles she plays).
* CompletelyUnnecessaryTranslator: The Macau investor.
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Invoked, subverted (off-camera), and deconstructed in "The Option Period", when Matt complains about an (unseen) sketch that a clueless special-effects guy ruins by curtailing the scripted excessive blood, thereby un-crossing the second line, so to speak. [[invoked]]
--> '''Danny''': He didn't think it was realistic.
--> '''Matt''': The prop guy?
--> '''Danny''': Yeah.
--> '''Matt''': It's called "Quentin Tarantino's Hallmark Movie, ''Turkey Won't Die.''" It's about a mortally wounded bird that will not die, ''even as it's being served.'' Did he find the premise realistic?... If [[{{Gorn}} geysers of blood are gushing out]], then I get the Tarantino joke, and [[BloodyHilarious it's funny]]. If it's just a ''realistic'' amount of blood, then it's... ''[[{{Squick}} extremely]]'' [[KickTheDog disturbing...]]
* TheDanza (Matthew Perry as "Matt")
* ADayintheLimelight: "The Disaster Episode," for Cal (and possibly Allison Janney too).
* DeadpanSnarker: Many. This is a Sorkin Drama after all.
* DirectedByCastMember
* DoggedNiceGuy
* DuelingShows: ''Series/ThirtyRock''. If you went back in time to 2006 and told someone ''30 Rock'' would last seven seasons while ''Studio 60'' would only get one before being unceremoniously canceled, [[ItWillNeverCatchOn you would have been laughed out of the room]]. Oh, and just add in the fact that ''30 Rock'' has won three straight Emmys for Best Comedy while ''Studio 60'' never even managed a nomination for Best Drama and then they'll really think you must be joking. ''Everyone'' expected ''Studio 60'' would be the next ''West Wing'' and that ''30 Rock'' would be gone long before. That said, TinaFey has said that Sorkin had nothing but the best wishes for her show, even sending her a dozen roses the week ''30 Rock'' premiered.
** Sorkin cameoed as himself in a fifth-season episode of ''30 Rock'':
--->'''Sorkin''': I'm Aaron Sorkin. ''TheWestWing'', ''AFewGoodMen'', ''TheSocialNetwork''...\\
'''Liz''': ''Studio 60''?\\
'''Sorkin''': [[SelfDeprecation Shut up.]]
* EggSitting - the practice baby. [[EpicFail It explodes.]]
** To be more specific, Cal and Tom ''decapitate'' it in a guillotine (to be fair, they didn't think it would work) and when asked to repair it, the prop guys have a little fun and makes its head pop up on a spring and its eyes bug out.
* EpisodeTitleCard
* FiveManBand
** TheLeader: Matt Albie
** TheLancer: Danny Tripp
** TheBigGuy: Simon Stiles
** TheSmartGuy: Cal
** TheChick: Harriet Hayes
* FollowUpFailure
* FoxNewsLiberal Pretty much everyone that is not a progressive or a jerkass.
* HandOrObjectUnderwear - Harriet
* HideousHangoverCure
* HollywoodAtheist - Heartbreakingly averted by Danny Tripp refusing to kneel to a god that would kill children, after getting the "foxhole" speech from Harriet and with his pregnant fiancee at risk of dying.
* HowWeGotHere: 'Nevada Day' - How Tom Got to a police station in Pahrump, Nevada, dressed as Jesus Christ and charged with drug possession, assault and speeding.
* InfoDump: Literally ''ten minutes'' of "The Long Lead Story" is Harriet describing her BackStory in detail.
* InformedAbility - Matt's sketch-writing
** Harriet's comedic talents and singing ability definitely count too. The former is especially noticable because Aaron Sorkin can write comedy pretty well.
* KnockKnockJoke
* LadiesAndGerms: as an added note of sarcasm and incredulity when Matt Albie remembers to her ex-girlfriend ([[AsYouKnow and the audience]]) that she doesn't have the right to question who he is dating because she broke with him, ''and she did it by e-mail''.
* LockedInARoom: or roof, rather, with Danny and Jordan
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: Jack unwisely attempting WittyBanter with Danny.
-->'''Danny:''' Don't we have bigger fish to fry right now?
-->'''Jack:''' No. We have ''many'' fish to fry, and this is one of 'em. And this fish... is a fish that... ''[angrily]'' I don't care about fish!
* LowerDeckEpisode: "The Disaster Episode," which has Cal and the cast juggling the latest live show without the help of Danny, Matt, Jordan, or the props crew (who are on strike because of an insult Danny threw at them 10 minutes before taping, resulting in the titular "disaster show"). With the exception of Harriet, none of the show's primary characters appear.
* ManipulativeBastard: Matt manipulates Dylan (with a little help from Jeanie) in ''Nevada Day'', but it's Danny who really owns this trope, at least where Matt is concerned:
-->'''Matt''': and... (''{{beat}}'') There was no conversation with standards and practices, was there?
-->'''Danny''': I am the puppet master.
* MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome: Parodied in-show, with a sketch about a newsflash for a [[ExaggeratedTrope Missing White Woman's]] ''[[ExaggeratedTrope Cellphone]]'' which makes a throwaway reference to a bunch of kidnapped black people.
* NWordPrivileges: Darius and Simon use this against each other, although it's meant to be antagonizing to make a point rather than friendly.
* OverlyLongGag: Danny parodies the "Banker" {{Padding}} segments of ''DealOrNoDeal'' in a sketch with Howie Mandell.
* ParentalFavoritism: Tom's parents, rather unsubtly.
* PlayingAgainstType: Matthew Perry in a serious role.
* ProductPlacement: InUniverse, the network wants ''Studio 60'' to incorporate PP in the show but Matt is against it. Then he realizes he can put it into the backdrop, which will resemble the Sunset Strip -- full of ads.
* RatingsStunt: in the first episode back after the forced hiatus, [[LampshadeHanging several ratings stunts often used by dramas in ratings trouble are listed]]. The show goes on to do ALL of them over the next five episodes, but manages to make them work anyway.
* RecitationHandclasp: The cast assumed this posture while singing their version of the MajorGeneralSong.
* RightBehindMe: Tom does an excellent one of these when he bombs into his dressing room and refers to [[AsianAirhead Kim]] as "that lunatic girl"...without realizing her very important parents are standing right there.
* RunningGag: Sorkin loves to incorporate throw-away running gags, often with each instance rephrasing the joke from a different angle. For example, one episode supposedly had off-camera guest-host (and real-life {{Malaproper}}) JessicaSimpson filling in extra airtime at the end of the fictional show's live broadcast:
---> '''Cal''': Nice girl, nice performer... don't want her to extemporize on our air. She had time to thank her pets, and then she asked us all to pray for peace in the Mid''west''.
--> [+The regulars continue wisecracking about this as the (real) show continues.+]
---> '''Matt''': Indiana, Illinois, Missouri... are rebel forces gathering?
---> '''Danny''': No.
---> '''Matt''': Then why are we praying for peace in the Midwest?
---> '''Danny''': Girl's nice to look at.
--> [+...and finally...+]
---> '''Jordan''': Good show! ... I saw the end, and I think we should all take a moment to consider the suffering in Des Moines.
* SeriousBusiness: They work on an {{SNL}} ripoff, yet Matt and Danny act as if they are writing an important Social Drama about Society's Ills. Sorkin's usual dramatic style, which worked so well on ''{{The West Wing}}'', might seem a bit jarring in this context... [[RealityIsUnrealistic which isn't to say]] that TV writers ''don't'' act like their job is more important than the President's.
** Definitely a case of RealityIsUnrealistic, since former SNL castmembers have suggested that if anything S60 was too light and fluffy to represent the real thing.
* SetBehindTheScenes: Set backstage of a comedy TV show.
* ShoutOut: Well, possibly: in "Breaking News," Jack states that they have a "[[{{Lost}} 4.8/15]]" ratings/share.
** The opening episode, with its CreatorBreakdown rant, is a ShoutOut to Howard Beale's similar breakdown in the movie ''{{Network}}''.
* ShowWithinAShow
* {{Showrunner}}
* SorkinRelationshipMoment
* SpitTake: there's a scene where all the comics compete backstage to deliver the best one.
* StalkerWithACrush: Danny is one of these to Jordan for a while, but [[spoiler:as soon as he backs off they get together anyway.]]
** Many viewers were disturbed by this storyline, since it appeared to be asking us to root for Danny despite his acting more like he was going to kill Jordan.
* StopBeingStereotypical: Simon is disappointed and almost depressed that a heavily praised black stand up comedian he has gone to see performs nothing but cliched racial humor and WhiteDudeBlackDude jokes. However, the comedian who goes on ''next'', though not very funny in that particular performance, has legitimately witty things to say and is recruited onto the the ''Studio 60'' writing staff to help nurture his talent and bring a new perspective to the show.
* TakeOurWordForIt: We never see the sketches that are supposed to be bad -- "Peripheral Vision Man"; "Turkey won't Die" -- just informed that they were BAD. If they'd also left the "best" sketches off-screen, the idea that the ShowWithinAShow is generally hilarious would have gone down a lot easier.
* TakeThat: All. The. Time.
** The entire concept of the pilot is a massive Take That towards ABC (which cancelled ''SportsNight'') and NBC (which ran ''TheWestWing'', from which Sorkin ... "quit"). Matt Albie, the Sorkin self-insert, is an incredibly talented writer. People can't get over how talented he is. He's so talented and classy that they've just got to repeat it over and over again. Sadly, his intelligence and outspokenness are far superior to that of the network, which fires him, after which point his show steadily declines until they are forced to come grovelling back to him. Later, Jordan fights to pick up a pilot for a show written about the UN with striking similarities to ''The West Wing'', gushing over the excellent scripting.
** Aaron Sorkin based the character of Harriet Hayes (the ex-girlfriend of his self-insert character Matt) on his ex-girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth (with permission), and aims several Take Thats at Chenoweth through the character's interactions, specifically regarding Chenoweth's decision to appear on ''Series/The700Club'' and an FHM bathing-suit photo-shoot of Chenoweth's, employing the other characters to lambaste Harriet for her decision to do a lingerie shoot.
** Also at former ''West Wing'' writer Rick Cleveland, with whom Sorkin had a public feud over "In Excelsis Deo", an episode which the two co-wrote. Cleveland is written into ''Studio 60'' as Ricky Tahoe. Ricky is time and again characterized as a hack, a nasty little man who publicly ostracized Matt over a controversial statement Matt had made. He ultimately leaves the show with a crappily written pilot script, petulantly taking the entire writing staff with him. In a rare moment of class just before Ricky departs, Matt secretly gives Ron suggestions on how to improve the problematic script.
** It's worth noting that even though they almost always eventually lose, the characters used for the Take That are usually painted as sympathetic and do have legitimate points that are acknowledged in universe.
** Matt gets plenty of atheistic Take That's in against Christianity, Christians, Harriet's faith, and people of faith in general. Everyone will tell you that. What no one seems to want to admit is that Harriet generally holds her own whenever she gets Matt to shut up long enough to EXPLAIN her position.
* TheTeaser
* ThrowingOutTheScript: The first scene of the pilot.
* TokenMinority: Simon and Harriet. He's the token black, she's the token Christian.
* UnderminedByReality: One of the main contentions of Jordan's character is that high-budget, high-quality programming is truly what America wants, and the network will be successful if they avoid cheesy trashy reality programming. It turns out it isn't.
* TheUnfavourite: Tom, compared to his soldier younger brother.
* WalkAndTalk: Duh. It's a Sorkin show, after all.
-->'''Danny:''' Can we have this conversation moving?
* WhiteDudeBlackDude: Simon [[StopBeingStereotypical is dismayed]] to find a hotly tipped black stand-up's material is nothing but this.
* [[WhosOnFirst Who's On First?]] Mentioned in 'The Wrap Party', where Tom is amazed that his parents somehow haven't heard of the routine. He starts trying to explain it (solo) before wisely deciding that "trying to describe it to you now is just going to turn into a whole new sketch".
* WillTheyOrWontThey
* {{Writer On Board}}: Want to know in excruciating detail what Creator/AaronSorkin thinks about any topic? Boy, is this the show for you!
* WritersSuck:
** Unless they're named "Matt Albie".
** No one else might think so, but Matt's usually convinced that he's tanking.
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