Excerpt from Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Although the advance copy of The West Wing had been receiving freakishly unanimous raves, I was ecstatic and humbled by this particular endorsement. It's impossible to imagine living JFK Jr.'s life and then watching a show whose central theme was the heart and soul of the American presidency. His whole world has been shaped by the office, the service to it and the tragic sacrifice in its name. The West Wing was going to be about "the best and the brightest." His father's administration all but coined the phrase.
"Um, Alan, does John realize that there is no guarantee that the show will last through the fall?" I knew that George was in serious financial trouble and could ill-afford to feature a show with the high likelihood of attaining the ultimate creative Pyrrhic victory: worshiped by critics, ignored by the public. If the show was quickly canceled (and quite a few thought it would be) it would be a financial disaster for John and, possibly, could be the end of the magazine. "Rob," Alan said, "John is putting you on the cover. He couldn't care less."
The politics of the workplace can be complicated, Machiavellian, self-serving and just downright stupid no matter where you work. My grandpa ran a restaurant in Ohio for 50 years. I'm sure every now and then he would get nervous when his most popular carhop got uppity and started wanting better hours. My father practices law to this day and deals with those who smile to his face, then wish he would step on a limpet mine in the middle of Ludlow Street. That's the way it is in the world. It's just worse in Hollywood.