The narrative takes place on April 23, 2010. MacKenzie McHale asserts control over the new incarnation of News Night and enlists a beautiful and brainy on-air economist, Sloan Sabbith, to do a nightly segment. Jim Harper takes the fall for a Maggie Jordan mistake when doing the prep work for a report on SB 1070; Charlie Skinner forbids Reese Lansing from holding furtive meetings with Will McAvoy; a long-festering breakup secret gets out.
- This episode takes place on April 23, 2010.
After learning the names of his staff, Will McAvoy arrives at the office to start the morning with a meeting with MacKenzie "Mac" McHale. He first expresses his concerns about the youth and inexperience of the staff, followed by his doubts about the lead story for tonight's show. Additionally, Will stresses to Mac his desire not to have anyone in the office know about the circumstances of their breakup.
Will and Mac's argument about the lead story continues on the way to the first rundown meeting for News Night 2.0. Mac also announces a change to the office email system. She does not understand the announcement and immediately runs into problems sending emails to her intended recipients.
Charlie Skinner calls in Reese Lansing, the network president and a ratings expert. Charlie tells him to stop advising Will about ratings because he doesn't want the ratings for the new format of the show to affect the content.
Mac continues her meeting laying out the new format and concept for News Night 2.0. Unhappy with the way ACN and News Night was covering the news, Mac proposed "News Night 2.0", a complete overhaul of the way the news was covered based on three "I"s: 1) Is this information we need in the voting booth? 2) Is this the best possible form of the argument? 3) Is the story in historical context?
Mac and Jim Harper present a segment about the immigration bill in Arizona and their intentions to bring on an expert and the Governor of Arizona to debate the bill. Neal Sampat pitches an interview with an illegal immigrant whose driver's license was taken after a newspaper story about him was published. Mac shoots down the idea as not being the type of interview that fits in the show's new format. Jim approaches Maggie Jordan to practice her pre-interview with the Governor's press aide. Maggie protests the supervision and during the practice interview she shows Jim her passion for the subject and impresses him enough for him to let her do the pre-interview on her own.
Mac approaches Sloan Sabbith about joining News Night. Impressed with Sloan's intelligence and appearance, Mac offers her the position believing her looks will help people pay attention to economics stories. Mac tries to make friends with Sloan and finds out that everyone in the office thinks that Will cheated on her, precipitating their breakup. She tells Sloan that it is not true but honors Will's request not to disclose details.
Will and Reese review ratings numbers regarding the show, the oil spill, and the Northwestern incident. Reese suggests that Will avoid attacking Sarah Palin because it will be popular with conservatives.
Jim finds out that Maggie blew the interview with the Governor's press aide. Maggie admits that she briefly dated the press aide in college. It ended embarrassingly and she mistakenly kept if from Jim. They call an emergency meeting to find a replacement guest for the show. Unable to find a suitable replacement they get three highly unqualified guests for that evening's broadcast. Everyone is afraid to tell Will for fear of being fired. Mac again tries to defend Will and convince everyone that he's a good man. Frustrated she sends an email asking Will if she can reveal to everyone that she cheated on him. However, due to the new email system she sends it to the entire staff. Will is furious and then apoplectic when he finds out about the night's replacement guests.
Just before the show begins Will decides to add a Sarah Palin clip behind MacKenzie's back because it will be good for ratings. Maggie offers to resign for her mistake and the disastrous segment; Will tells her that despite her mistake he hopes that she stays. The broadcast is predictably calamitous and the mistakes are compounded by Will refusing to listen to Mac's instructions during the show. His additional segment fares no better when his lack of preparation is obvious.
Returning to his office Will gets chewed out by Mac for adding the Palin clip and his part in the poor show. Mac demands that Will decide if he is in or out for the show's new direction.
The staff licks their wounds at a karaoke bar after the broadcast. Don Keefer comes in and criticizes Maggie and they have a fight. Maggie then yells at Jim for covering for her in the meeting. After comforting Maggie for her mistake Jim reprimands the rest of their staff. Will calls Neal about the immigrant who had his driving license revoked. He has Neal privately pay for a cab for the man's commute. Will asks Neal to put Mac on. He tells her that he is in. After hanging up with her, he gazes upon the Statue of Liberty.
- First appearances of
- "News Night 2.0" at HBO.com
- "News Night 2.0" on Wikipedia
- "News Night 2.0" at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- "News Night 2.0" at TV.com
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