THE NETWORK NEBULA

 

                    SCRIPT

                 scenes 40-46           

                     

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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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POLLS - archived

CURRENT
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TERRORISM

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MIDDLE EAST WAR

TAX REFORM

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MEDICAL CARE

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OVER POPULATION

 

UNEMPLOYMENT

COST OF LIVING

GLOBALISM

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THERSITES REPORTS

 

RAMBO GRANNY

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Return to Scenes 26-39.
 
40.   INT. A BANQUET ROOM - NEW YORK HILTON - WEDNESDAY -
3:00 P.M.
 
LONG SHOT.  A stockholders' meeting.  Standing room
only.  Some 200 STOCKHOLDERS seated in the audience;
others standing around the walls.  On the rostrum, a
phalanx of UBS CORPORATE EXECUTIVES, seated in three
rows, including EDWARD RUDDY, Chairman of the Board,
the PRESIDENTS and SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENTS of the other
divisions and other groups -- the UBS Records Group,
the UBS Publishing Group, the UBS Theater Chain, etc.
Representing the network are NELSON CHANEY and the
divisional heads -- GEORGE NICHOLS, President of the
Radio Division; NORMAN MOLDANIAN, President Owned
Stations; General Counsel WALTER AMUNDSEN, and, of
course, MAX SCHUMACHER, President of the News Division.
FRANK HACKETT, Senior Executive Vice President UBS-TV,
is at the lectern making the annual report --
 
              HACKETT
              (in the droning manner
              of such reports)
       ... but the business of management
       is management; and, at the time
       C. C. and A. took control, the
       UBS-TV network was foundering
       with less than seven percent of
       national television revenues,
       most network programs being sold
       at station rates.  I am therefore
       pleased to announce I am submitting
       to the Board of Directors a plan
       for the coordination of the main
       profit centers, and with the specific
       intention of making each division
       more responsive to management --
 
ANOTHER ANGLE SINGLING OUT MAX SCHUMACHER in the second
row of the phalanx of EXECUTIVES, bored with the
proceedings, and whispering to NELSON CHANEY seated
beside him.  INCLUDE in frame the 67 year old, silver-
haired Brahmin of television, EDWARD RUDDY, who is
seated in the front row.  HACKETT in b.g.  It is some
twenty minutes later --
 
              HACKETT
              (reading from his report)
       ... point one.  The division producing
       the lowest rate of return has been
       the News Division --
 
MAX suddenly begins paying attention --
 
              HACKETT
       -- with its 98 million dollar budget
       and its average annual deficit of 32
       million.  To me, it is inconceivable
       such a wanton fiscal affront go
       unresisted --
 
ANOTHER ANGLE ACROSS HACKETT with a smoldering MAX
SCHUMACHER in b.g. --
 
              HACKETT
       -- The new plan calls for local
       news to be transferred to Owned
       Stations Divisions --
 
MAX in b.g., stares angrily down his row towards NORMAN
MOLDANIAN, who studiously avoids his eye --
 
              HACKETT
       -- News-Radio would be transferred
       to the UBS Radio Division --
 
ACROSS MAX turning in his seat to scowl at GEORGE
NICHOLS in the row behind him --
 
              HACKETT (in b.g.)
       -- and, in effect, the News Division
       would be reduced --
 
MAX leaning forward trying to catch the eye of EDWARD
RUDDY in the front row.  RUDDY is staring stonily
ahead --
 
              HACKETT
       -- from an independent division to
       a department accountable to network --
 
MAX is about ready to blow his stack --
 
 
41.   INT. BANQUET ROOM - NEW YORK HILTON - 
       WEDNESDAY  - 5:30 PM.
 
The stockholders' meeting is over.  The floor is a swirling 
CRUSH of STOCKHOLDERS mingling with EXECUTIVES.  
MAX SCHUMACHER is elbowing his way through the 
crowded aisle to get to where EDWARD RUDDY is chatting 
away with a COUPLE of STOCKHOLDERS --
 
              MAX
              (to RUDDY)
       What was that all about, Ed? --
 
              RUDDY
              (turning to MAX, urbane)
       This is not the time, Max.
 
              MAX
              (barely containing himself)
       Why wasn't I told about this? Why
       was I led onto that podium and
       publicly guillotined in front of
       the stockholders?  Goddammit, I
       spoke to John Wheeler this morning,
       and he assured me the News Division
       was safe.  Are you trying to get
       me to resign?  It's a hell of a
       way to do it.
 
              RUDDY
              (silken murmur)
       We'll talk about this tomorrow
       at our regular morning meeting.
 
RUDDY turns back to the clutch of STOCKHOLDERS around him.  
MAX wheels away in a rage --
 
 
42.   EXT. NEW YORK HILTON HOTEL - SIXTH AVENUE - 
        DUSK
 
The Sixth Avenue entrance to the hotel.  Taxis pulling in, 
disgorging PEOPLE; taxis pulling out with new fares.  MAX 
comes striding out of the hotel, sore as a boil.  PAN HIM as he 
bulls his way through the line of taxis and across jammed, c
langing 5:50 P.M. Sixth Avenue --
 
 
43.   INT. UBS BUILDING - 5TH FLOOR CORRIDOR
 
MAX, steaming, strides down the corridor to --
 
 
44.   INT. ROOM 509 - NEWS DIV. EXECUTIVE OFFICES
 
Empty except for perhaps one SECRETARY pecking away at her 
typewriter.  MAX strides across and into --
 
 
45.   INT. MAX'S OFFICE
 
MAX takes off his jacket, throws it on the couch, sits behind his 
desk.  But he's too steamed to stay there long.  A moment later, 
he's up again, strides around, a caged lion.  He thumps his desk 
angrily, strides around, then whips his jacket up from the couch 
and strides out --
 
 
46.   INT. CONTROL ROOM - NETWORK NEWS SHOW
 
The wall CLOCK reads 6:28.  The DIRECTOR, TECHNICAL
DIRECTOR, LIGHTING DIRECTOR and PRODUCTION 
ASSISTANT are at their long shelf in front of the double 
bank of television monitors.  The AUDIO MAN is off in his
glassed-in cubicle.  HARRY HUNTER and his SECRETARY
and the UNIT MANAGER are on the raised level in the
back.  HUNTER is on the phone, looks up as the door to
the control room opens, and MAX, carrying his jacket,
comes in.  Curious looks from the PERSONNEL here;
presidents of news rarely come down to the control
room.  HUNTER finishes his phone call, offers his seat
to MAX, but MAX prefers standing in the back --
 
              PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
       ... five seconds --
 
              LIGHTING DIRECTOR
       -- picture's too thick --
 
              DIRECTOR
       -- coming to -- and one --
 
The show monitor, which has been showing color patterns,
now suddenly flicks on to show HOWARD BEALE as he looks
up from the sheaf of papers on his desk and says:
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       Good evening.  Today is Wednesday,
       September the twenty-fourth, and
       this is my last broadcast.  Yesterday,
       I announced on this program that I
       would commit public suicide, admittedly
       an act of madness.  Well, I'll tell
       you what happened -- I just ran out
       of bullshit --
 
              HARRY HUNTER
       All right, cut him off.
 
The MONITOR SCREEN goes black.
 
              MAX
              (from the back wall)
       Leave him on --
 
HOWARD's image promptly flicks back on --
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
              (looking O.S.)
       Am I still on the air?
 
Everybody in the control room looks to MAX --
 
              MAX
       If this is how he wants to go out,
       this is how he goes out.
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       I don't know any other way to say
       it except I just ran out of bull-
       shit ...
 
The PHONE RINGS.  HUNTER picks it up.  ANOTHER PHONE
RINGS.  HUNTER'S SECRETARY picks it up.
 
              HUNTER
              (on first phone)
       Look, Mr. Schumacher's right here,
       do you want to talk to him?
              (extends the phone to MAX)
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       Bullshit is all the reasons we give
       for living, and, if we can't think
       up any reasons of our own, we always
       have the God bullshit --
 
              HUNTER'S SECRETARY
              (awe)
       Holy Mary Mother of Christ --
 
              MAX
              (on phone)
       Yeah, what is it, Tom? --
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       We don't know why the hell we're
       going through all this pointless
       pain, humiliation and decay, so
       there better be someone somewhere
       who does know; that's the God
       bullshit --
 
              MAX
              (on phone)
       He's saying life is bullshit,
       and it is, so what're you
       screaming about? --
 
He hangs up.  The PHONE promptly RINGS again.  HUNTER'S 
SECRETARY picks it up.  (HUNTER is on the phone that rang 
before.)
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       If you don't like the God bullshit,
       how about the man bullshit? Man
       is a noble creature who can order
       his own world, who needs God?
 
              HUNTER'S SECRETARY
              (to MAX)
       Mr. Amundsen for you, Mr. Schumacher.
 
              MAX
       I'm not taking calls.
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       Well, if there's anybody out there
       who can look around this demented
       slaughterhouse of a world we live
       in and tell me man is a noble
       creature, that man is full of
       bullshit --
 
              DIRECTOR
              (staring in awe at
              HOWARD on the screen)
       I know he's sober, so he's got to
       be just plain nuts --
              (starts to giggle)
 
              HARRY HUNTER
              (screaming)
       What's so goddam funny?
 
              DIRECTOR
       I can't help it, Harry, it's funny --
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       I don't have any kids --
 
A PHONE RINGS.  HUNTER'S SECRETARY picks it up.
 
              HARRY HUNTER
       Max, this is going out live to
       sixty-seven affiliates --
 
              MAX
       Leave him on.
 
              HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
       -- and I was married for thirty-
       three years of shrill, shrieking
       fraud --
 
A breathless and distraught YOUNG WOMAN bursts into the 
control room.
 
              YOUNG WOMAN
       Mr. Hackett's trying to get through
       to you --
 
              MAX
       Tell Mr. Hackett to go fuck himself --
 
				Continue to Scenes 47-59.
 

 

 

 

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