THE NETWORK NEBULA

 

                    SCRIPT

        scenes 47- 59             

                     

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PADDY CHAYEFSKY

SIDNEY LUMET

PETER FINCH

NED BEATTY

CINDY GROVER

WILLIAM HOLDEN

FAYE DUNNAWAY

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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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 Return to Scenes 40-46.
 
47.   INT. DIANA'S OFFICE
 
DIANA, sitting alone in her office, watching HOWARD BEALE on 
her office console --
 
              HOWARD (ON CONSOLE)
       I don't have any bullshit left.
       I just ran out of it, you see --
 
 
48.   INT. CONTROL ROOM - NETWORK NEWS SHOW
 
--  as FRANK HACKETT and his assistant, TOM CABELL, wrench
 the door open and stride in --
 
              HACKETT
              (roaring)
       Get him off!  Are you people nuts?!
 
The TECHNICAL DIRECTOR taps a button, and the SCREEN 
mercifully goes black.
 
 
49.   INT. LOBBY - UBS BUILDING                  .
 
White-haired, patrician EDWARD RUDDY, Chairman of the 
Board, impeccably groomed, fastidious in a light topcoat, 
making his way through the absolute CRUSH of NEWSPAPER 
PEOPLE, WIRE SERVICE PEOPLE, CAMERA CREWS from CBS, 
NBC, ABC, from the local stations, WPIX, WOR-TV, 
METROMEDIA, and from Channel 13, the educational channel.  
A half dozen SECURITY GUARDS protect the elevators, and 
three more help RUDDY get through the GLARING CAMERA 
LIGHTS and the horde of REPORTERS thrusting mikes at him --
 
              RUDDY
              (moving through the crowd)
       -- I'm sorry, I don't have all the
       facts yet --
 
 
50.   INT. 20TH FLOOR - LOBBY, LOUNGE, CORRIDOR
 
MAX, standing by the deserted reception desk, in the empty, 
silent lounge.  This is the top-management floor, and the decor, 
which is posh-austere, reflects the eminence of the top 
executives who have their offices here.  It is all silent and 
empty now, cathedral, hushed, echoing.  Way down at the far 
end of the corridor, the double doors of the corner office open,
and NELSON CHANEY leans out and beckons to MAX, who
starts down the plush carpeting in response --
 
 
51.   INT. MR. RUDDY'S OFFICE
 
Large, regal.  Impressionist originals on those walls which are 
not glass through which the crepuscular grandeur of New York 
at night can be seen.  RUDDY sits behind his desk.  JOHN 
WHEELER, 59, silent, forceful, lounges in one of the several 
leather chairs.  The door opens, and NELSON CHANEY and MAX 
SCHUMACHER come in.  Everybody nods at everybody else.  
MAX slumps
into a leather chair.
 
              RUDDY
              (murmurs to CHANEY)
       I'll want to see Mr. Beale after
       this.
 
CHANEY promptly picks up a corner phone and calls down to 
the Fourteenth Floor.
 
              RUDDY
              (regards MAX briefly,
              murmurs)
       The way I hear it, Max, you're
       primarily responsible for this
       colossally stupid prank.  Is
       that the fact, Max?
 
              MAX
       That's the fact.
 
              RUDDY
       It was unconscionable.  There
       doesn't seem to be anything more
       to say.
 
              MAX
       I have something to say, Ed.
       I'd like to know why that whole
       debasement of the News Division
       announced at the stockholders'
       meeting today was kept secret from
       me.  You and I go back twenty
       years, Ed.  I took this job with
       your personal assurance that you
       would back my autonomy against
       any encroachment.  But ever since
       CCA acquired control of the UBS
       Systems ten months ago, Hackett's
       been taking over everything.  Who
       the hell's running this network,
       you or some conglomerate called
       CCA?  I mean, you're the Chairman
       of the Systems Group, and Frank
       Hackett's just CCA's hatchet man.
       Nelson here -- for Pete's sake, he's
       the president of the network -- he
       hasn't got anything to say about
       anything anymore.  Who the hell's
       running this company, you or CCA?
 
              RUDDY
              (murmurs)
       I told you at the stockholders'
       meeting, Max, that we would discuss
       all that at our regular meeting
       tomorrow morning.  If you had been
       patient, I would've explained to
       you that I too thought Frank Hackett
       precipitate and that the reorgani-
       zation of the News Division would
       not be executed until everyone,
       specifically you, Max, had been
       consulted and satisfied.  Instead,
       you sulked off like a child and
       engaged this network in a shocking
       and disgraceful episode.  Your
       position here is no longer tenable
       regardless of how management is
       restructured.  I expect you to
       bring in your resignation at ten
       o'clock tomorrow morning, and we
       will coordinate our statements to
       the least detriment of everyone.
              (to WHEELER)
       Bob McDonough will take over the
       News Division till we sort all
       this out.
              (WHEELER nods.  RUDDY turns
              to CHANEY still in the corner
                    of the room on the phone)
I'd like to see Mr. Beale now --
 
              CHANEY
              (on phone)
       They're looking for him, Ed.  They
       don't know where he is --
 
 
52.   INT. LOBBY - UBS BUILDING
 
HOWARD BEALE, bleached almost white by the GLARE of the 
CAMERA LIGHTS, and almost totally obscured by the tidal 
CRUSH of cameras, REPORTERS, SECURITY GUARDS around him --
 
              HOWARD
       -- every day, five days a week,
       for fifteen years, I've been
       sitting behind that desk -- the
       dispassionate pundit --
 
 
53.   INT. DIANA'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM
 
DIANA, naked, sitting on the edge of her bed in a dark 
bedroom, watching HOWARD BEALE's impromptu press 
conference on television --
 
              HOWARD
              (on TV screen)
       -- reporting with seemly detachment
       the daily parade of lunacies that
       constitute the news -- and --
 
Also on the bed is a naked young STUD, who isn't really that 
interested in the 11:00 News.  He is fondling, fingering, 
noodling and nuzzling DIANA with the clear intention of 
mounting her --
 
              HOWARD
              (on TV screen)
       -- just once I wanted to say what
       I really felt --
 
The young STUD is getting around to nibbling at DIANA's 
breasts --
 
              DIANA
              (watching the TV set
              with single-minded
              intensity)
       Knock it off, Arthur --
 
 
54.   EXT. UBS BUILDING - 9:00 A.M., THURSDAY, 
       SEPT. 25 - DAY
 
Bright morning sunshine.  DIANA, in a pants suit and 
carrying half a dozen scripts, enters the building --
 
 
55.   INT. UBS BUILDING - LOBBY
 
DIANA, pausing at the newsstand to pick up the morning 
papers, which she reads en route to the elevators --
 
 
56.   INT. UBS BUILDING - 14TH FLOOR - 9:15 A.M.
 
DIANA briskly enters through the door marked:
DEPARTMENT OF PROGRAMMING, and whisks off down 
the corridor --
 
57.   INT. PROGRAMMING DEPARTMENT - COMMON ROOM
 
DIANA crosses to her own office.  THREE SECRETARIES, 
including DIANA's, are abuzz in a corner over last night's 
Howard Beale show.  DIANA'S SECRETARY scurries to follow 
DIANA as, in b.g., BARBARA SCHLESINGER comes out of her
 office carrying four scripts --
 
 
58.   INT. DIANA'S OUTER OFFICE
 
DIANA, rummaging through the papers on top of the 
SECRETARY's desk as the SECRETARY enters --
 
              DIANA
       Did the overnight ratings come
       in yet?
 
              SECRETARY
       They're on your desk.
 
              DIANA
       Have you still got yesterday's
       overnights around?
 
              SECRETARY
       Shall I bring them in?
 
              DIANA
       Yeah --
 
She exits into --
 
 
59.   INT. DIANA'S OFFICE
 
Morning SUNLIGHT blasting in.  DIANA moves to her desk, 
stands behind it, scanning the front pages of the 
newspapers piled on her desk, then sits and studies the 
overnight ratings also on her desk.  The SECRETARY enters 
with yesterday's overnights, a sheet of paper, which she 
extends to DIANA, who promptly studies them.  The 
SECRETARY exits as BARBARA SCHLESINGER enters, sinks 
onto a chair with a sigh --
 
              SCHLESINGER
       These are those four outlines
       submitted by Universal for an hour
       series.  You needn't bother to
       read them.  I'll tell them to
       you.  The first one is set in a
       large Eastern law school, pre-
       sumably Harvard.  The series is
       irresistibly entitled The Young
       Lawyers.  The running characters
       are a crusty but benign ex-Supreme
       Court Justice, presumably Oliver
       Wendell Holmes by way of Dr. Zorba.
       There is a beautiful girl graduate
       student and the local district
       attorney who is brilliant and
       sometimes cuts corners --
 
              DIANA
              (studying the overnights)
       Next one --
 
              SCHLESINGER
       The second one is called The Amazon
       Squad --
 
              DIANA
              (studying the overnights)
       Lady cops?
 
              SCHLESINGER
       The running characters are a crusty
       but benign police lieutenant who's
       always getting heat from the
       Commissioner, a hard-nosed, hard-
       drinking detective who thinks
       women belong in the kitchen, and
       a brilliant and beautiful young
       girl cop fighting the feminist
       battle on the force --
 
              DIANA
              (now studying the front
              page of the Daily News)
       We're up to our ears in lady cop
       shows.
 
              SCHLESINGER
       The next one is another 
       investigative reporter show.  A crusty
       but benign managing editor who's
       always getting heat from the
       publisher --
 
              DIANA
       The Arabs have decided to jack up
       the price of oil another twenty
       per cent, and the C.I.A. has been
       caught opening Senator Humphrey's
       mail, there's  a civil war in Angola,
       another one in Beirut, New York City's
       facing default, they've finally caught
       up with Patricia Hearst, and --
              (she flips the Daily News over
              so BARBARA can read it)
       -- the whole front page of the Daily
       News is Howard Beale.
 
ACROSS BARBARA SCHLESINGER, half-standing so she can 
read the newspaper and showing the front page of the Daily 
News -- which consists of a 3/4 page blowup of HOWARD 
BEALE topped by a 52 point black banner headline:-- BEALE 
FIRED --
 
              DIANA
       -- it was also a two-column story
       on page one of the Times --
              (calls to her SECRETARY)
       Helen, call Mr. Hackett's office,
       see if he can give me a few minutes
       this morning --
 
 			Continue to Scenes 60-65 partial.
 

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