The BEST Episodes of Sports Night

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Network: ABC (US)

Sports Night ran nearly two full seasons on the ABC network in the US during the '98-99 and '99-00 seasons. Smart, fast-paced, witty and featuring a fine ensemble cast, Sports Night struggled in the ratings from the start, particularly during its second season, when it was routinely pre-empted and moved from night to night. Art imitated life imitating art, as the show took on a consultant, was hired to "tweak" the ratings. The show within a show continued to falter, amidst rumors of the imminent sale of its network and the subsequent gutting of its staff, until it, like its parent Sports Night, simply disappeared from the schedule.

The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee

#1 - The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 15, 1998

A southern African American football player and five other students refuse to play at a Tennessee college where the Confederate flag is hung. Luther Sachs the owner of CSC and alumnus of the college sides with the college, but Isaac disagrees and says so on the show. Casey goes on "The View" and takes credit for his wardrobe, which he doesn't deserve and this leads Dan and another staffer to teach him that the show is a team.

star 8.04
158 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Bill Wrubel, David Walpert, Matt Tarses
Napoleon's Battle Plan

#2 - Napoleon's Battle Plan

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 27, 1999

Gordon has proposed to Dana, and Casey is seething, but tells Dan he plans to ""take the high road' and follow Napoleon's Battle Plan: Show up and see what happens next. Dan reminds Casey that Napoleon lost at Waterloo and died in exile, and announces his intention to ""step in"". So Dan tells Natalie about Gordon's fling with Sally. Natalie runs straight to Dana, who confronts Gordon who, in turn, tells Dana about Casey's fling with Sally. Then Dana confronts Sally, who reveals she has been sleeping with Casey for months. Confused? You won't be on the tonight's episode of . . . oh wait, that's another show!

star 7.97
123 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
The Local Weather

#3 - The Local Weather

Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 7, 2000

Dan decides to skip therapy and spends an hour in Abby's office telling her so. Jeremy e-mails the porn star he blew off, then decides to tell her in person why he's not going to see her again. Casey decides to bribe the gang with international cuisine to get them to watch a track and field event in the wee hours. Dana decides to seek shelter from a rainstorm in church.

star 7.84
172 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Sally

#4 - Sally

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 23, 1999

When Casey has a one-night stand and does not tell anyone, the entire staff, led by Dan, prods him for details. After Gordon cancels a date with Dana, she questions the status and future of their relationship. Jewish Jeremy, panics when he is set to visit Natalie's parents for a Catholic holiday, he knows nothing of.

star 7.83
153 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss, Rachel Sweet
Special Powers

#5 - Special Powers

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 5, 1999

Second Season Opener Isaac returns to the job, but the effects of his stroke appear to be affecting his performance. The 90-day ""cooling off period"" following Dana's canceled wedding is drawing to a close, and Dan encourages Casey to ask Dana out. Natalie and Jeremy fight over a job she's offered in Galveston, TX.

star 7.81
181 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Dana and the Deep Blue Sea

#6 - Dana and the Deep Blue Sea

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 9, 1999

Having been rebuffed by Rebecca, Dan turns to Casey for help in dating her. Casey, still wrestling with his feelings for Dana, refuses. Next Dan turns to Jeremy in his efforts to be ""more than friends"" with Rebecca. Meanwhile, Dana agrees to go snorkeling with Gordon even though she is terrified of fish. Casey: ""Sometimes you just stand there -- hip-deep in pie."" Rebecca [to Jeremy]: ""Is everyone who works on your show deranged?""

star 7.80
151 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss
The Reunion

#7 - The Reunion

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 21, 1999

Dana gets edgy as the arrival of her brother comes close. As part of a Secret Santa, Casey searches for the perfect gift for Isaac. Natalie tells Casey that if his gift isn't cheap and located within two blocks of the building he's getting socks. When Natalie gives Dan a tape to watch of her work as an anchor, he tells her it was great, when it really was just mediocre. The crew struggles to name an athlete of the century. Dan decides to go to midnight mass, even though he's Jewish.

star 7.77
176 votes
Directors: Dennie Gordon
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Kevin Falls
Mary Pat Shelby

#8 - Mary Pat Shelby

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 20, 1998

Dana is excited to be getting a notorious football player, Christian Patrick on the show. The staff is not when his lawyers force them to not mention the ex-girlfriend he badly abused, Mary Pat Shelby. When Natalie goes to pre interview him, he assaults her. Dana's decision about whether to break the story is a difficult one, and it is not the same as Dan and Casey's. Also Dan wrestles with whether or not to get a goatee and Dana realizes her absence of a sense of humor.

star 7.77
142 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Tracey Stern
The Quality of Mercy at 29K

#9 - The Quality of Mercy at 29K

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 1, 1998

The team broadcasts an Everest climb, the first one since 1954. Jeremy realizes he's got something to live for, Natalie. Casey searches for food, as Dan searches for a charity to give to. Dana takes her niece to see ""The Lion King"", and discovers a love of the theater.

star 7.71
133 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Bill Wrubel
Dear Louise

#10 - Dear Louise

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 10, 1998

Jeremy writes a letter to his deaf sister about his new job at Sports Night. In it he describes the last few days there, including Dan's writer's block and the beating of an 80-year-old Negro League ball player, Archibald Russell. He also talks about his love for Natalie. Isaac's mad that his daughter is dating a Republican and Casey tries to annoy Gordon, Dana's new man.

star 7.67
162 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, David Walpert
Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks

#11 - Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 14, 1999

Dana is extremely proud when her brother gets two sacks in a football game. She becomes determined to show others how he did it. Jeremy is nervous about firing Corbin Davis, a cousin of JJ's who is screwing up simple assignments. Jeremy gives him a pep talk and Corbin tells him, that he doesn't take sides when JJ talks bad about this show. Because of a drug scandal involving football players erupts, Casey travels to Ohio to find out the names, Tina fills in. When the names are uncovered, one hits close to home for Dana... literally... her brother.

star 7.66
172 votes
Directors: Dennie Gordon
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Tom Szentgyorgyi
Eli's Coming

#12 - Eli's Coming

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired Mar 30, 1999

Dan's day is not shaping up to be a good one as Bobbi Bernstein returns to the broadcast, and he discovers Rebecca's husband hasn't quite reached ""ex"" status. Meanwhile, Casey and Dana's bickering escalates until news that Isaac has suffered a stroke reaches the staff.

star 7.65
152 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Shane

#13 - Shane

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 7, 1999

Natalie obsesses over the loss of hell. In a nod to real-life racist John Rocker, Casey interviews an old friend, Shane McArnold, who heaps disdain on his new home city of New York and all its inhabitants. Casey promises to ""fix it"" out of loyalty, but Dana knows it's good television and leaves it as is. Meanwhile, Dan's therapist Abby is opening up Dan's true feelings about his family, making him more and more dysfunctional.

star 7.64
170 votes
Writers: Bill Wrubel, Kevin Falls, Matt Tarses
And the Crowd Goes Wild

#14 - And the Crowd Goes Wild

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 8, 2000

Jeremy and Natalie's break-up ripples through the show after Jeremy asks for his ""stuff"" back. Casey's dilated pupils provide comic relief for Dan and the crew. Dana deals with Sam's imminent departure. A riot breaks out at Madison Square Garden and Natalie questions turning over the show's filmed coverage of the event to the police.

star 7.63
172 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Tom Szentgyorgyi
The Cut Man Cometh

#15 - The Cut Man Cometh

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 18, 2000

While prepping to cover a major fight, Dana and Casey duke it out over their stalled fling, and Dan's dad, Jay, hits town for a tense visit. But after the match goes south, the CSC staff bands together to knock out a killer show, including an hour's worth of coverage of a fight that lasted under a minute and a correspondent who only will respond to being called "the cut man", calls Dan; Casey, and Casey; Dan. He also shows he has no idea what he is talking about, when he talks about the last winner of the Miss America pageant, Miss Rochester.

star 7.62
144 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Bill Wrubel
When Something Wicked This Way Comes

#16 - When Something Wicked This Way Comes

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 12, 1999

Rumors abound that a "ratings guy" is being brought in to raise the show from its third place status. To Dana's suprise, Isaac announces the rumors are true. Dana has an "epiphany" that she and Casey should date other people for six months. Dan is invited to a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, and in his efforts to impress the First Lady, confuses secular with non-secular in a conversation about schools. This causes him no end of distress, and he proceeds to obsess about it to Casey.

star 7.61
179 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Ordnance Tactics

#17 - Ordnance Tactics

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 6, 1999

Isaac's in the hospital, the network brass is all over Dana, Jeremy wants to break up with Natalie, Rebecca may go back to her husband and Casey continues to see Sally -- something's bound to explode -- let's hope it's not a bomb in the building!

star 7.61
178 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Louise Revisited

#18 - Louise Revisited

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 26, 1999

Jeremy becomes concerned when he finds out Natalie is writing to his deaf sister Louise. Dan and Casey become, very competitive about an Internet poll, over whose cooler. Casey convinces Jeremy to rig the computer to vote for him 2,000 times a minute. When Dana goes out with an old friend from high school, Cab Calloway, Casey is angry. Dana as a spur of the moment action takes off her underwear during the meal.

star 7.61
174 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Miriam Kazdin
The Apology

#19 - The Apology

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 29, 1998

Dan is misunderstood on his opinion over marijuana and the law. When Luther Sachs reads this, he demands an on-air apology; Isaac seconds it, as does Dana. But no one will answer as to whom he should be apologizing to. Casey worries about why he is not considered ""cool"" like Dan is. Dan is stalked by one of the CSC fitness show stars.

star 7.59
206 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
A Girl Named Pixley

#20 - A Girl Named Pixley

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 28, 1999

Dana worries when Casey goes out on a date. Jeremy's optimism about his award nomination fades.

star 7.58
178 votes
Directors: Dennie Gordon
Writers: David Walpert
Quo Vadimus

#21 - Quo Vadimus

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 16, 2000

Bidders drop out of the auction for Continental Corp., which causes concern for the future of the "Sports Night" team. Meanwhile, Casey prepares to look for new work without Dan, who is reunited with a familiar face from his past.

star 7.58
117 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Rebecca

#22 - Rebecca

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 26, 1999

Rumors spread about Isaac's job status when the Wall Street Journal reports the recent trouble between Luther Sachs and Sports Night. J.J. begs Isaac to let him forward messages to Luther instead of Isaac doing it himself. This leads Isaac to realize that J.J. is the only one to gain if there is turmoil between the show and company. Maybe J.J. is starting trouble? Dana is nervous that Gordon is going to dump her because she is so preoccupied with work. Dan feels he should apologize for not calling Rebecca after he met her in the elevator. She doesn't remember him, though.

star 7.55
154 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss
How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

#23 - How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 9, 1999

A televised tennis match heads into overtime, delaying the start of Sports Night and forcing Dana to choose between canceling a date with Gordon and handing the show over to Sally. Meanwhile, Jeremy uses the delay to write to Louise; and Dan's charms are beginning to work on Rebecca.

star 7.55
154 votes
Directors: Marc Buckland
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Draft Day: Part II - The Fall of Ryan O'Brian

#24 - Draft Day: Part II - The Fall of Ryan O'Brian

Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 21, 2000

As NFL draft day unfolds, relationships unravel. Jeremy anguishes over Jenny's visit to the studio, where she and Natalie discover common ground and she and Jeremy come apart. After giving him a talking-to behind closed doors, Casey is stunned when Dan humiliates him in front of millions.

star 7.55
203 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
The Sweet Smell of Air

#25 - The Sweet Smell of Air

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 25, 2000

The crew is excited when they get a chance to interview Michael Jordan; that is until the strings began to be attached. First they find a paper in the press packet, that coaches Michael how to steer away from sports questions, next they are told to only talk about his new cologne, and then they get a request for total editorial control to Michael. They drop the interview when they discover that they were picked because of their ratings vulnerability. Sam returns and sets Dana into a frenzy, he later meets Sally. Casey frets over what to do in front of Charlie's class, when he is invited to show and tell.

star 7.55
140 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, David Handelman, Kevin Falls, Matt Tarses