Looks like Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Dule Hill, and the rest of the ”West Wing” staffers will continue to serve at the pleasure of the president. That’s NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker, who announced Friday that the network has renewed the ailing drama for another two years, through May 2005.
Although ”West Wing,” now in its fourth season, remains a top 20 show and draws about 15 million viewers a week, it’s lost about 3 million viewers a week this year to alternatives like ABC’s ”Bachelor” and ”Bachelorette.” Of course, that loss probably made the pickup a bargain for NBC. The show’s producer, Warner Bros. Television, had hoped to negotiate a fee of $10 million per episode (the same fee NBC will cough up for each half-hour of ”Friends” next season), up from the current $2 million. Instead, sources close to the show tell the Los Angeles Times that the fee will be between $5 million and $7 million. It’s not clear whether any of that money will trickle down to the actors, who could use the cash to buy bigger mantelpieces for their growing supply of Emmy trophies.