And that time an X-ray machine nearly ruined the show

By Oliver Gettell
Updated March 14, 2017 at 01:08 PM EDT
Credit: The West Wing Weekly/Twitter

Aaron Sorkin may have begun his career as a playwright and garnered one of show business’ highest honors by winning an Oscar, but the medium of television will always have a unique appeal to him.

In an exclusive preview of the next episode of the West Wing Weekly podcast, Sorkin sits down with hosts Joshua Malina (who played Will Bailey on the NBC series) and Hrishikesh Hirway to discuss the allure of TV writing.

“Working with the same group of people every week, you develop as a team and as a family,” says Sorkin, who created The West Wing and was the primary writer for the first four seasons. “And the immediacy of it: When I’m writing a screenplay, if everything goes perfectly, a joke that I write today, I’ll hear the laugh two years from now. With television, there’s going to be an episode on six weeks from now [and] I don’t even know what it is yet. I haven’t thought of it.”

While Sorkin laments that TV doesn’t offer the same shared experience as an audience huddled together in a dark theater, he says found his own way to conjure a hidden connection: He used to drive around and imagine how many of the glowing TV screens he saw in people’s windows were tuned to The West Wing.

Listen to his remarks, including an anecdote about the time an airport X-ray machine almost ruined a West Wing episode, below. Sorkin’s episode of The West Wing Weekly will be released Wednesday. You can subscribe on iTunes.

The West Wing

  • TV Show
  • Off Air
  • NBC