NBC will air a live episode of “The West Wing” featuring a debate between presidential candidates Matt Santos and Arnold Vinick on Nov. 6.
Airing scripted TV shows live is a rarity these days, although NBC tried the attention-getting device earlier last week with the “Will & Grace” season premiere.
“The West Wing,” which has lagged in the ratings with its move to Sunday nights this season, is in the midst of the campaign to replace Martin Sheen’s character, President Bartlet. Jimmy Smits plays Democratic candidate Santos and Alan Alda the Republican Vinick.
The cast will run through two separate live versions, one for the East Coast and one of the West. The series’ executive producer, John Wells, has experience with this: He was at the helm when “ER” opened its fourth season in 1997 with a live episode.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)