Plans for a retrospective special saluting “The West Wing” have been scrapped after some of the actors on the show decided there wasn’t enough money in it for them.
When NBC announced the skein’s swan song back in January, Peacock chief Kevin Reilly also said the net would air a one-hour clip show featuring interviews with the cast. Special was set to air 7-8 p.m. Sunday, right before the show’s final episode.
But even though Warner Bros. TV and John Wells Prods. had hired a production company to handle the special, it had to be scrubbed. Turns out some of the actors on the show weren’t happy with the coin they were being offered to appear on-camera, according to people familiar with the decision to ax the special.
It’s unclear just how much WBTV and Wells were willing to pay the actors, but some of the thesps on the show make in the $200,000-per-hour neighborhood. Shelling out anywhere near that much would have caused the budget for the special to soar — not a financially wise move given the relatively paltry ratings “West Wing” is averaging in its final season.
Nobody at WBTV or NBC seems concerned about the special’s demise, likely because expectations are modest for how “West Wing” will perform when it signs off.
It’s a big contrast to recent send-offs for shows such as “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Friends,” when pre-finale clip shows drew huge audiences as fans made an entire night of it.
Peacock is still planning a clipfest for “Will & Grace,” while Fox is airing a roughly 90-minute salute to departing laffer “That ’70s Show” this Thursday in conjunction with a seven-minute trailer for “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
And “The West Wing” will still have a two-hour goodbye: NBC has struck a deal with WBTV to air the show’s pilot episode in place of the special.