- By Peter Vetsch
Many of the actors who have appeared on the West Wing have previously
appeared in "Sports Night". Some of them went from "Sports Night" bit players
to West Wing regulars, others have taken the opposite route. I'm of the opinion that it's only a matter of time before all of the main
cast of "Sports Night" gets a shot as a recurring role player in the West
Wing...for the most part right now it's only secondary SN characters that tend to pop up in Sorkin's second show. Here are all the actors that I've noticed in both shows (in no
particular order); if anyone has others to add to the list, please let me
know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Actor: Joshua Malina
- West Wing character: Will Bailey
"Sports Night" character: Jeremy Goodwin
- Actor: Janel Moloney
- West Wing character: Donna Moss, Josh's assistant
"Sports Night" character: Monica the wardrobe assistant in episode 1-11, The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee. She
lectures Casey about how the crew of the show deserve credit for the quality
and appearance of the production (and the onscreen talent).
- Actor: Felicity Huffman
- West Wing character: Ann Stark, the Chief of Staff of the Republican hopeful for President in
episode #33, The Leadership Breakfast. She and Toby seem to have a past
together; she gets Toby to agree to have a press conference on Capitol Hill
instead of in the White House Press Room, with disastrous consequences for
the Bartlet staff.
"Sports Night" character: Dana Whitaker, executive producer of "Sports Night";
one of the show's main characters.
- Actor: Timothy Davis-Reed
- West Wing character: Mark, a press room reporter who surfaced somewhere in
season 2 (his picture can be found here:
"Sports Night" character: Chris, one of the "Three Stooges" of the show's
control room (Will and Dave are the other two). He's a regular character in
"Sports Night", but is not a main character and therefore doesn't usually get
many lines of dialogue.
- Actor: Jeff Mooring
- West Wing character: Phil, a recent addition to the press room...I at least
did not notice him there until season 3.
"Sports Night" character: the aforementioned Dave in "Sports Night"'s control
room. That makes two of three SN control room mainstays who have relocated
to the West Wing press room. Can Ron Ostrow (Will) be far behind?
- Actor: Ted McGinley
- West Wing character: Mark Gottfried, host of Capital Beat
"Sports Night" character: Gordon, Dana's season 1 fiancee. Gordon was the
infamous third man in the strange love triangle also including Casey and
Dana. At the end of season 1, in episode 1-23, What Kind of Day Has it
Been?, Gordon breaks up with Dana because he thinks she's still "hung up on
- Actor: Lisa Edelstein
- West Wing character: Laurie, Sam's call girl friend
"Sports Night" character: Bobbi Bernstein, substitute anchor on "Sports Night"
on multiple occasions, the first of which is episode 1-13, Small Town. She
drives Dan crazy because she's convinced they slept together and then he
never called her; Dan doesn't remember at all, and swears he's never slept
- Actor: John de Lancie
- West Wing character: Al Kiefer, the polling expert the President meets with
when he journeys to California in "24 Hours in L.A." ; also ex-flame of Joey Lucas
"Sports Night" character: Bert Stors, a finance executive for CSC
(Continental Sports Channel, the fictional network that carries Sports
Night) in episode 2-19, April is the Cruelest Month.
- Actor: Allen Garfield
- West Wing character: Hollywood mogul in season 2 premiere. His displeasure
poorly in an awards show and slipping a few spots on a "Most
Powerful People in Hollywood" list gets C.J. fired from her old job.
"Sports Night" character: Chuck "The Cut Man" Kimmell in episode 2-11,
fittingly titled The Cut Man Cometh. Chuck Kimmell is a last-ditch
replacement ringside reporter for a big boxing match televised on CSC; his
interaction with Dan and Casey on the air is the funniest scene I have ever
seen on television.
- Actor: Clark Gregg
- West Wing character: FBI Official, Special Agent Mike Casper in episode
#38, Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail. He's the guy
Sam goes to see in the FBI about pardoning a suspected spy.
"Sports Night" character: Calvin Trager, owner of Quo Vadimus, a massive
holding company that ends up purchasing CSC in the final "Sports Night"
episode of all. He first shows up in episode 2-21, La Forza del Destino,
then saves the day, and the show, in the series finale.
- Actor: Nina Siemaszko
- West Wing character: Eleanor "Ellie" Bartlet, the President's middle
daughter, first seen in episode #37, Ellie.
"Sports Night" character: Holly, the nanny of Casey's son Charlie in episode
1-23, What Kind of Day Has it Been. To further enhance this parallel, both of these shows featuring Nina end with a father telling his child these words: "All you ever had to do to make me happy was come home at the end of the day". Casey says that to Charlie at the end of the episode above, and
President Bartlet says it to Ellie.
- Actor: David Graf
- West Wing character: Colonel Chase, a member of the
Council. He appeared in the situation room in two
episodes of The West
Wing: #29, "The Portland Trip", and #34, "The Drop
Sports Night character: Chase (strangely enough), one of the network lawyers sent to talk with Dan after his controversial interview with Esquire magazine in episode 1-2, "The Apology".
(overlap pointed out by Lisa R.)
NOTE: Mr. Graf passed away on April 7th, 2001,
shortly after appearing in "The Drop In".
- Actor: Alanna Ubach
- West Wing character: Celia Walton, the office temp in the communications
department who calls Sam a sexist in episode #57, "Night Five". She takes
exception to the way Sam speaks to Ainsley and becomes the focal point of a four-way verbal sparring match between those two, herself and Charlie.
Sports Night character: Catherine Brenner, Dan's on-again, off-again publicist in episode 2-20, "Bells And A Siren". After Dan calls her up to fire her after an event gone sour, she berates him about his attitude until he changes his mind. She seems to have a knack for calling Sorkin characters to task.
(overlap also pointed out by Marybeth I. and Karen Streed)
- Actor: Nadia Dajani
- West Wing character: Lily Mays, the First Lady's assistant in episode #17, "The White House Pro-Am".
Sports Night character: Tina Lake, who is a substitute anchor covering for Casey in episode 2-7, "Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks". Casey is in Ohio
examining a possible drug scandal in the NFL, while Tina is watching Dan
become totally unglued following his promise not to flirt with her.
(overlap pointed out by David Kimura)
- Actor: Greg Baker
- West Wing character: Interviewer, the man assisting the Surgeon General
with her online chat in episode #37, "Ellie".
Sports Night character: Elliot, an associate producer working in the
control room during broadcasts and usually at odds with fellow AP Kim (Kayla Blake). Elliot was a regular character in Sports Night's two seasons, and his presence on the West Wing makes it a majority of SN's control room that have guested on Sorkin's other show
(overlap pointed out by David Daniel)
- Actor: Ron Ostrow
- West Wing character: John, a press room reporter who makes his first
appearance in Season 4, episode 4-07, "Election Night".
Sports Night character: Will, the last member of SN's control room gang to
make his migration over to the WW's White House press corps. Ostrow, Timothy Davis-Reed and Jeff Mooring are the first trio I know of to move from playing minor characters with monosyllabic names on one series to playing different minor characters with monosyllabic names on another series.
(overlap also pointed out by Brian Cimmet and Patrick Kovacich)
- Actor: Felton Perry
- West Wing character: Mr. Perry has actually had two bit parts in two different
WW episodes playing two completely different characters. In episode 114, "Take
This Sabbath Day", he plays a public defender named Jerry who is one of the counsel for a death row inmate. He also plays an alcoholic politician in episode 318, "Stirred".
Sports Night character: The homeless man who Dan finds in his office in the middle of the night in episode 1-9, "The Quality of Mercy at 29K".
- Actor/Director: Timothy Busfield
- West Wing character: Danny Concannon, White House Washington Post
reporter and CJ's quasi-beau.
He played a role on "Sports Night" as well, only
behind the camera. Busfield
directed episodes 2-16 ("The Local Weather") and
2-21 ("La Forza del
Destino") of "Sports Night".