|Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip character|
|Job||creator and former executive producer of Studio 60|
Wes Mendell is the creator and former executive producer of Studio 60. He wrote for many of the great comedy performers, such as the Smothers Brothers, Richard Pryor, and Bill Cosby. While Wes was generally regarded as a good showrunner and a good man, his policies are often stated to run counter to Matt and Danny's. For example, he refused to do a Christmas show while Matt insisted that they do, and he did not approve of Studio 60 staff dating each other, while Matt ultimately dates Harriet and Danny falls in love with his boss, Jordan.
Wes had a heart attack before the start of the 2001-2002 season of Studio 60. While he was recuperating, Danny and Matt had to act as executive producers, forcing them to plan the first show after the 9/11 attacks. The season premiere for the 2001 season featured a sketch that was considered offensive by conservatives who threatened a boycott. Bowing to the pressure, Wes issued an apology from his hospital bed which, in turn, resulted in Matt and Danny quitting the show.
By 2006 Wes's power had dwindled and the show's creativity was at an all time low. Furious with the network, and at himself, for bowing down to the FCC and the religious right, he tries (and fails) to get the last sketch Matt wrote for the show on the air. Refused by the representative from Standards and Practices, who fears it will offend conservatives, he hijacks the live broadcast of Studio 60 and rants an improvised tirade, similar to that shown in the film Network (which is commented on in the pilot itself), venting against bureaucratic control, the influence of minority groups in the censorship of the network, and the nature of the broadcast industry in general. This results in him being fired which is the catalyst that brings Matt and Danny back to the show.
|“||Uh, it's not going to be a very good show tonight, and I think you should change the channel. Change the channel, go ahead, right now. Better yet, turn off the TV, okay? No, no, I... know it seems like this is supposed to be funny, but tomorrow, you're going to find out that it wasn't, and by that time I'll be fired. Now this, this is not sup- . . . this is not a sketch.
This show used to be cutting-edge political and social satire. But it's gotten lobotomized, by a candy-ass broadcast network hell-bent on doing nothing that might challenge their audience. We were about to do a sketch that you've seen already about 500 times. Yeah, no one's going to confuse George Bush with George Plimpton. Now, we get it.
We're all being lobotomized by this country's most influential industry, that's just thrown in the towel on any endeavor to do anything that doesn't include the courting of 12-year-old boys. Not even the smart 12-year-olds -- the stupid ones, the idiots. Of which there are plenty, thanks in no small measure to this network. So why don't you just change the channel? Turn off your TVs. Do it right now. Go ahead.
They say there's a struggle between art and commerce. Well, there's always been a struggle between art and commerce, and now I'm telling you, art is getting its ass kicked, and it's making us mean, and it's making us bitchy, it's making us cheap punks. That's not who we are. People are having contests to see how much they can be like Donald Trump? We're eating worms for money. "Who Wants To Screw My Sister?" Guys are getting killed in a war that's got theme music and a logo.
That remote in your hand is a crack pipe. Oh yeah, every once in a while we pretend to be appalled. It’s pornography, and it's not even good pornography. They're just this side of snuff films, and friends, that's what's next, 'cause that's all that's left. And the two things that make them scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho religious cult that gets positively horny at the very mention of a boycott. These are the people they're afraid of. This prissy, feckless, off-the-charts greed-filled whorehouse of a network, I do believe, is thoroughly unpatriotic, mother— [show cuts to title screen]