More MS news articles for January 2000

'West Wing' ailment turns out to be a plot

Knight Ridder Newspapers
(Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2000)

Fans of NBC's "West Wing" were startled by last week's episode that revealed President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) has Multiple Sclerosis, a progressively crippling disease. What's up with that?

"I honestly can't remember how I reached that decision," says Alan Sorkin, the manic creator-exec producer. "I think I wrote it four episodes ago. It all started when I wanted the president to be in bed watching soaps. I wanted it to be his first experience with daytime drama. I had to figure out how to get him there and didn't want it just to be the flu."

The easy-going Sheen, 59, up for any plot twist, says he's "fine with venturing out into more troubled waters and learning to be a better sailor."

Sheen says he's asked both his actor sons, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, to do guest shots, "but they tell me they're waiting to see if the show's a hit," he laughs. French film star Jeanne Moreau bolted after her first day on the "ER" set last week, the producers confirmed. She was scheduled for five episodes as Dr. Elizabeth Corday's (Alex Kingston) mother, a role that now goes to English actress Judy Parfitt.

Sources say problems began when Warner Bros. sent a Ford Explorer instead of a limo to pick her up on her first day. Says Julianna Margulies (Nurse Carol Hathaway): "She came. She looked. She left."