THE NETWORK NEBULA

 

                 THE SCRIPT  

                    Scenes 3-11  

         

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CREDITS

   PADDY CHAYEFSKY

SIDNEY LUMET

PETER FINCH

NED BEATTY

CINDY GROVER

WILLIAM HOLDEN

FAYE DUNNAWAY

OTHER CREDITS

NETWORK SCRIPT

Scenes 1-2

Scenes 3-11

Scenes 12-17

Scenes 18-25

Scenes 26-39

Scenes 40-46

Scenes 47-59

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   Back to Scenes 1-2.
 
   3.     INT. A BAR - 3:00 A.M.
 
   Any bar.  Mostly empty.  MAX and HOWARD in a booth, 
   so sodden drunk they are sober --
 
              HOWARD
       I'm going to kill myself --
 
              MAX
       Oh, shit, Howard --
 
              HOWARD
       I'm going to blow my brains out
       right on the air, right in the
       middle of the seven o'clock news.
 
              MAX
       You'll get a hell of a rating,
       I'll tell you that, a fifty
       share easy --
 
              HOWARD
       You think so?
 
              MAX
       We could make a series out of it.
       Suicide of the Week. Hell, why
       limit ourselves? Execution of the
       Week -- the Madame Defarge Show!
       Every Sunday night, bring your
       knitting and watch somebody get
       guillotined, hung, electrocuted,
       gassed.  For a logo, we'll have
       some brute with a black hood over
       his head.  Think of the spin-offs
       -- Rape of the Week --
 
              HOWARD
              (beginning to get
              caught up in the idea)
       Terrorist of the Week?
 
              MAX
       Beautiful!
 
              HOWARD
       How about Coliseum '74? Every
       week we throw some Christians
       to the lions! --
 
              MAX
       Fantastic! The Death Hour!  I
       love it!  Suicides, assassinations,
       mad bombers, Mafia hitmen, murder
       in the barbershop, human sacrifices
       in witches' covens, automobile
       smashups.  The Death Hour!  A
       great Sunday night show for the
       whole family. We'll wipe fucking
       Disney right off the air --
 
   They snigger and snort.  HOWARD lays his head down 
   on the booth's table and verges on sleep --
 
 
   4.     INT. HOWARD'S BEDROOM - 4:30 A.M. - DARK
 
   HOWARD, fully clothed, sprawled asleep on his still-
   covered bed in the dark bedroom.  Suddenly, he sits bolt
   upright, SCREAMING out against unseen terrors --
 
 
   5.     INT. HOWARD'S APARTMENT HOUSE - LANDING 
        OUTSIDE HIS  DOOR - 8:00 A.M. - TUESDAY, 
        SEPT. 24
 
   -- as HOWARD'S HOUSEKEEPER, a middle-aged lady, lets
   herself into
 
 
   INT. HOWARD'S APARTMENT - ENTRANCE FOYER
 
   The HOUSEKEEPER, unbuttoning her coat, is greeted by
   the sound of a raucous clock ALARM, relentlessly
   BUZZING O.S.  She crosses the --
 
 
   INT. LIVING ROOM
 
   --  and opens the blinds letting in an eruption of
   daylight. The shrill BUZZING getting louder, she
   proceeds into the --
 
 
   INT. BACK FOYER
 
   --  where she pauses to look into the bedroom, the door
   being ajar; the BUZZING is coming from here --
 
   HOUSEKEEPER'S P.O.V -- HOWARD BEALE,
 
   still wearing the clothes he wore last night, curled in a 
   position of fetal helplessness on the floor in the far 
   corner of the room --
 
              HOUSEKEEPER
              (after a moment)
       Are you all right, Mr. Beale?
 
              HOWARD
              (opens one eye)
       I'm fine, thank you, Mrs.
       Merryman --
 
   With some effort, he contrives to get to his feet as the 
   HOUSEKEEPER crosses to the alarm clock and turns it 
   off --
 
 
   6.     CREDITS AND MUSIC ERUPT ONTO THE SCREEN
 
   TITLE: "N E T W O R K"
 
   UNDER AND INTERSPERSED WITH CREDITS, a montage of
   scenes, occasionally audible, on this seemingly
   routine day --
 
 
   7.     INT. HOWARD BEALE'S OFFICE - 5TH FLOOR - 
        9:20 A.M.
 
   A small, unpretentious office, cluttered with books,
   magazines, periodicals, photographs and awards on the
   walls, various mementos here and there.  HOWARD
   (necktied and in shirtsleeves), behind his desk, rattling 
   away his copy for that evening's broadcast on his 
   typewriter -- pauses to pour himself a quick shot of 
   Scotch --
 
 
   8.     INT. THE NIGHTLY NEWS ROOM - ROOM 517 - 
        10:30 A.M.
 
   The common room off which Howard's office debouches.  
   A large room compactly filled with the desks of 
   producers, associate producers, head writer and writers, 
   production assistants, etc.  The walls are festooned like 
   bulletin boards with sheaves of newspaper pages and 
   cutouts and reams of wire releases (there are two wire 
   machines in a corner).  Large blowups of HOWARD BEALE 
   are prominently displayed.  There are small, shelved 
   libraries of books, directories and magazines here and 
   there.  And the ever-present bank of four television 
   monitors; and, 
 
   Since it is 10:30 A.M., Tuesday, September 23, 1975,
   and, since the AUDIO is OFF, the screens silently
   flicker with whatever was on that day at that time.
   HOWARD comes out of his office, crosses through the
   general HUM of informal industry, an occasional
   TYPEWRITER CLACKING, a more than occasional phone
   ringing, as the Nightly News Room PERSONNEL, all in
   their 20's and 30's, move, MURMUR, confer about their
   businesses.  HOWARD BEALE makes for a ledge of 
   reference books to check out some fact.  He spreads the 
   reference book out on an unoccupied desk.  SOMEONE in 
   b.g. tells him he's wanted on the phone.  He nods, takes 
   the call at the desk he is at.  Throughout, he belts away 
   at his glass of booze --
 
 
   9.     INT. OFFICE OF THE EXEC. PRODUCER OF UBS - 
          NETWORK NEWS - UBS BUILDING - 5TH FLOOR - 
          1:00 P.M. - TUESDAY
 
   Another smallish office debouching off the main room
   like Howard's, absolutely jammed with nine PEOPLE, a
   couple of them standing, the others sitting wherever
   they can.  The executive producer, HARRY HUNTER 
   (early 40's), is behind the desk.  HOWARD BEALE sits 
   on the small, Finnish modern couch, flanked by an 
   ASSOCIATE PRODUCER and a MAN from the Graphics 
   Department. Aside from BEALE and HUNTER, everybody 
   else is in their 20's or early 30's, and, with the same 
   exceptions, they're all casually dressed.  This is the daily 
   run-down meeting at which the schedule for that 
   evening's broadcast is roughed out, and it sounds 
   something like this --
 
              HOWARD
              (reaching for the bottle of
              booze on HUNTER'S desk to
              refill his glass)
       -- let's do the Lennon deportation
       at the end of three --
 
              HARRY HUNTER
       That strong enough to bump?
 
              HOWARD
              (sipping his booze)
       In one then, I'll do a lead on
       Sarah Jane Moore to Mayberry in
       San Francisco --
 
              ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
       The film I saw was the Chief
       of Detectives --
 
              GRAPHICS MAN
       I think we got maybe ten seconds
       on the shooting itself --
 
              PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
       The whole thing is one-twenty-five --
 
              HOWARD
       What does that come out?
 
              PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
       About four-fifty --
 
              ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
       Are we using Squeaky Fromme?
 
              HARRY HUNTER
       Let's do that in two -- Squeaky --
       Ford at the airport - bump.  Now.
       we using a map going into San
       Francisco?
 
              GRAPHICS MAN
       I prefer a news-pix --
 
   HOWARD pours himself another shot of booze and sips 
   it --
 
              HOWARD
       What've we got left?
 
              PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
       Gun control, Patty Hearst affidavit,
       guerillas in Chad, OPEC in Vienna --
 
 
   10.   INT. 4TH FLOOR CORRIDOR - UBS BUILDING - 
        6:28 PM - TUESDAY
 
   LOOKING INTO the small network-news make-up room 
   where HOWARD BEALE is standing, Kleenex tucked into 
   his shirt collar, getting a few last whisks from the MAKE-UP 
   LADY.  Finished, HOWARD pulls the Kleenex from his collar, 
   takes a last sip from a glass of booze on the make-up shelf, 
   gathers his papers and exits, turns and enters --
 
   11.   INT. NETWORK NEWS STUDIO - 4TH FLOOR.
 
   Typical Newsroom studio -- cameras, cables, wall
   maps, flats and propping, etc.  HOWARD nods, smiles to
   various PERSONNEL -- CAMERAMEN, ASSISTANT 
   DIRECTORS, ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS -- as he makes his 
   way to his desk facing Camera One.  He sits, prepares his 
   papers, looks up to the control room, nods --
 
   MUSIC ABRUPTLY OUT:
 
   END OF CREDITS:
 
 
            Continue to Scenes 12-17.
 
 

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