NBC will still devote two hours to the final night of The West Wing on Sunday, but a clip show that was to air in the first hour will be replaced by a re-airing of the show’s original pilot.
Sources close to the show say the retrospective was scrapped over monetary demands of cast members.
So, NBC will air the pilot at 7 pm on Sunday, followed by the series finale at 8.
Despite the creative being reinvigorated with the election between Jimmy Smits’ Matthew Santos and Alan Alda’s Arnold Vinick, the seven-year-old Beltway drama struggled to draw an audience this season after NBC moved it to Sunday nights.
The move was not well received by West Wing insiders. "The network made it clear when it moved us to Sunday night that the show was not going to be a priority," West Wing star Bradley Whitford told B&C recently.
And NBC does seem ready to let the show’s term expire. Immediately following the penultimate episode last Sunday, NBC ran a generic "stay tuned for scenes from the next all-new West Wing" promo before the final commercial break, as opposed to producing a bumper spot asking viewers to stay tuned for scenes from the series finale, which followed the break.