The Best Episodes of Sports Night

Last Updated: Nov 25, 2018

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.

Quo Vadimus

#1 - Quo Vadimus

Season 2 - Episode 22

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 8.10
38 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee

#2 - The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee

Season 1 - Episode 11

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 8.06
52 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Matt Tarses, David Walpert, Bill Wrubel
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Dear Louise

#3 - Dear Louise

Season 1 - Episode 7

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 7.98
55 votes
Writers: David Walpert, Aaron Sorkin
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La Forza Del Destino

#4 - La Forza Del Destino

Season 2 - Episode 21

While at Anthony's trying to drown their fears about the future of "Sports Night," Dana meets a mysterious stranger who seems to know a great deal about the bidding for Continental Corp.; and Dan tries to convince Casey that a move to LA might not be a bad thing.

star 7.94
38 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Apology

#5 - The Apology

Season 1 - Episode 2

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 7.93
72 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Local Weather

#6 - The Local Weather

Season 2 - Episode 16

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 7.90
41 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Cut Man Cometh

#7 - The Cut Man Cometh

Season 2 - Episode 11

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 7.87
39 votes
Writers: Bill Wrubel, Aaron Sorkin
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Eli's Coming

#8 - Eli's Coming

Season 1 - Episode 19

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 7.87
45 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Mary Pat Shelby

#9 - Mary Pat Shelby

Season 1 - Episode 5

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 7.86
62 votes
Writers: Tracey Stern, Aaron Sorkin
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Shoe Money Tonight

#10 - Shoe Money Tonight

Season 1 - Episode 10

It's snowing in Pittsburgh so, the anchors of the 2 AM West Coast Update are stuck and the staff have to stay to do the show. Instead of going to Atlantic City, Dan and Casey and the staff have a poker tournament. Natalie is angry with Jeremy because he skipped an outing with her to go play tennis with an old girlfriend who is now an actress. Casey approves a rundown from the 2AM producer, Sally without consulting Dana, making her feel very angry and unappreciated. Isaac is shrinking.

star 7.85
52 votes
Directors: Dennie Gordon
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Pilot

#11 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1

Already at odds with the network over Casey's recent lack of professionalism, the team is struggling to get the go-ahead to air a human interest feature on an African runner who's about to compete in his first major race since recovering from a potentially career-ending leg injury. Natalie finds herself attracted to Jeremy, a nerdy but knowledgeable applicant for an opening on the production team

star 7.84
90 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Sally

#12 - Sally

Season 1 - Episode 16

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
47 votes
Writers: Rachel Sweet, Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss
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Cliff Gardner

#13 - Cliff Gardner

Season 2 - Episode 3

With Sam Donovan around stiffness ensues both on and off the set. Dana debates leaving the show, after she feels everyone is blaming her for the shows problems. Natalie tells her that if she goes she has to bring her, and Jeremy, and Dan, and Casey. The tension grows, when the network bosses demand that the staff meet with J.J. and his boys for some notes. Sam is offered Isaac's job but he turns it down, and tells them where to go, thus showing he does have feelings.

star 7.81
47 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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What Kind of Day Has it Been

#14 - What Kind of Day Has it Been

Season 1 - Episode 23

Season One Finale. Gordon has an announcement for Dana. Dan helps Casey and his son Charlie with a problem. Dana has a big new camera and she's threatening to use it. Isaac's back!

star 7.80
46 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Napoleon's Battle Plan

#15 - Napoleon's Battle Plan

Season 1 - Episode 22

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 7.79
42 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks

#16 - Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks

Season 2 - Episode 7

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 7.78
41 votes
Directors: Dennie Gordon
Writers: Tom Szentgyorgyi, Aaron Sorkin
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The Hungry and the Hunted

#17 - The Hungry and the Hunted

Season 1 - Episode 3

Jeremy gets the ""call"" from Isaac and Dana, to go out on assignment for CSC's hunting show. While he wants to move up, he has a problem with hunting animals. Natalie tries to orchestrate romance between Casey and Dana, during one of Luther Sach's parties. Technical errors occur on the set.

star 7.77
63 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Special Powers

#18 - Special Powers

Season 2 - Episode 1

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 7.76
49 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Shane

#19 - Shane

Season 2 - Episode 6

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 7.75
40 votes
Writers: Kevin Falls, Matt Tarses, Bill Wrubel
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April is the Cruelest Month

#20 - April is the Cruelest Month

Season 2 - Episode 19

The network deals a financial blow to "Sports Night" that has Isaac and Dana reeling - the show's Olympic coverage is going to be cut to the quick and Natalie's job may be cut entirely! Depressed about his disgraceful on-air behavior toward Casey, Dan decides to hold a Passover Seder, which Jeremy turns into a theatrical event that has a healing effect on everyone.

star 7.74
39 votes
Directors: Don Scardino
Writers: Bill Wrubel, Matt Tarses
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Dana and the Deep Blue Sea

#21 - Dana and the Deep Blue Sea

Season 1 - Episode 15

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 7.74
45 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss
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Draft Day: Part II - The Fall of Ryan O'Brian

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

Season 2 - Episode 18

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 7.72
47 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Quality of Mercy at 29K

#23 - The Quality of Mercy at 29K

Season 1 - Episode 9

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 7.72
53 votes
Writers: Bill Wrubel, Aaron Sorkin
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Small Town

#24 - Small Town

Season 1 - Episode 13

It's Dana and Casey's night off, and neither wants to take it. They decide to double date, Dana with Gordon and Casey with Lisa a lawyer who's on a blind date. Natalie is left to produce the show for the first time, and has to handle an 11th hour trade, which in its chaos, Isaac and Jeremy question her authority. Casey's replacement is Bobbi Bernstein a psychotic woman who thinks that Dan slept with her in Spain and never called.

star 7.70
50 votes
Writers: Paul Redford, Aaron Sorkin, Joan Binder Weiss
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The Sweet Smell of Air

#25 - The Sweet Smell of Air

Season 2 - Episode 12

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 7.69
36 votes
Writers: David Handelman, Kevin Falls, Matt Tarses, Aaron Sorkin
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