What's Next: A Backstage Pass to The West Wing, Its Cast and Crew, and Its Enduring Legacy of Service

What's Next: A Backstage Pass to The West Wing, Its Cast and Crew, and Its Enduring Legacy of Service

What's Next: A Backstage Pass to The West Wing, Its Cast and Crew, and Its Enduring Legacy of Service

What's Next: A Backstage Pass to The West Wing, Its Cast and Crew, and Its Enduring Legacy of Service

Audiobook (Digital)

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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be released on August 13, 2024

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Overview

A behind-the-scenes look into the creation and legacy of The West Wing as told by cast members Melissa Fitzgerald and Mary McCormack, with compelling insights from cast and crew exploring what made the show what it was and how its impassioned commitment to service has made the series and relationships behind it endure.

Step back inside the world of President Jed Bartlet's Oval Office with Fitzgerald and McCormack as they reunite the West Wing cast and crew in a lively and colorful “backstage pass” to the timeless series. This intimate, in-depth reflection reveals how The West Wing was conceived, and spotlights the army of people it took to produce it, the lifelong friendships it forged, and the service it inspired.

From cast member origin stories to the collective cathartic farewell on the show's final night of filming, What's Next will delight readers with on-set and off-camera anecdotes that even West Wing superfans have never heard. Meanwhile, a deeper analysis of the show's legacy through American culture, service, government, and civic life underscores how the series envisaged an American politics of decency and honor, creating an aspirational White House beyond the bounds of fictional television.

What's Next revisits beloved episodes with fresh, untold commentary; compiles poignant and hilarious stories from the show's production; highlights initiatives supported by the cast, crew, and creators; and makes a powerful case for competent, empathetic leadership, hope, and optimism for whatever lies ahead.


* This audiobook edition has been adapted for the audio format, and the content deviates slightly from the printed version. It includes a downloadable PDF that contains a list of organizations important to the cast and crew and behind the scenes photos and images from The West Wing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

06/10/2024

Actors Fitzgerald and McCormack—who played Carol Fitzpatrick and Kate Harper, respectively, on The West Wing (1999–2006)—deliver an entertaining history of the show grounded in extensive interviews with its stars, writers, and crew. The authors recount how creator Aaron Sorkin largely improvised his pitch for The West Wing after realizing that what he had assumed was a friendly dinner with ER producer John Wells was actually a development meeting. Elsewhere, Fitzgerald and McCormack explain that the show’s signature walk-and-talk shots stemmed from pilot director Thomas Schlamme’s efforts to recreate the hustle and bustle he witnessed while visiting Bill Clinton in the Oval Office, and that Glenn Close confessed to feeling nervous about keeping up with the show’s frenetic production schedule when guest starring as a Supreme Court nominee. The insider stories amuse, and meditations on the show’s legacy highlight its influence on real-life politicos (Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow quips, “We accept that our day-to-day is Parks and Recreation... but we always aspire to be The West Wing”). This will be catnip for fans of the show. Agent: Matt Latimer, Javelin. (Aug.)

From the Publisher

Mary and Melissa succeed so brilliantly in capturing what it was like to be part of The West Wing. From the casting process to the table reads to our final night of filming, What’s Next is packed full of details, anecdotes, and secrets from behind the scenes. This is the book The West Wing deserves. –Allison Janney
 
“Dedication to service has always played a key part in The West Wing, and now it’s a key part of What’s Next. Full of a hopeful optimism, it’s a celebration of the past as well as an inspirational look to the future. What’s Next is the book we all need right now. –Dulé Hill
 
“Mary and Melissa have brought me back to those glorious days on the West Wing set with What’s Next.  A perfect storm of talented people lucky enough to find each other in a seminal moment of television history: this wonderful book remembers the 17 hour days and 80 hour weeks and the grind and glory of the impossible pursuit of excellence. We formed a tribe that adored each other and respected each other and elevated each other to heights we could not ever reach alone. What a joy to read from the memories of all our perspectives that bring us right back to stage 23 on the Warner Bros. lot.” –Richard Schiff
 
“What an amazing time to take a deep dive into the Bartlet administration! Any West Wing fan will adore this book, as will anyone who admires brilliant television and all that it takes to make it. Run and buy What’s Next for all the West Wingers in your life!” –Janel Moloney
 
“Being part of The West Wing was more than the creative experience of a lifetime. It was a show that celebrated public service and was a reminder that we don’t just get a democracy, we have to make one every day. I’m so proud of my West Wing family who continue to use the attention the show gave us to hold this country up to its spectacular, unfulfilled promise. And I’m so grateful to Melissa and Mary for highlighting the causes that are so important to each of us and how you can help. A joy and a MUST READ for all the Wingnuts out there!!!” –Brad Whitford
 
What’s Next is the highest level of access you can get to The West Wing without a background check. I co-hosted a podcast about the show and there’s tons of stuff in here I didn’t know. Mary and Melissa take you inside the writers’ room, on the cast-and-crew road trips to Vegas, and behind the scenes of the series we all love. Buy the book and skip the chapter about Brad.” –Josh Malina

“An entertaining history of the show grounded in extensive interviews with its stars, writers, and crew…the insider stories amuse, and meditations on the show’s legacy highlight its influence on real-life politicos.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178135617
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 08/13/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 551,052
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