When it comes to Aaron Sorkin, there are certain things that you can expect to carry over into each show he creates. They are as follows; everyone is going to talk really fast (usually while walking), everything is going to be overly serious and someone will be a moral paragon to tie it all together. The political hit The West Wing did an admirable job of embodying everything that is Aaron Sorkin, much like his other shows like Sports Night and The Newsroom did. If it was actually an accurate portrayal of how Washington works is another question altogether, but it sure was fun to watch.
When Sorkin was penning the pilot episode it was during the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal and he was told to shelve the idea of looking behind-the-curtain in the White House with a noble President as the centerpiece. Then, according to Mashable, when NBC execs did get a look at it, they were aghast at how much dialogue it was and how little action it contained.
“They were kind of interested in it, but they brought me up to the Chairman’s office and had some notes,” Sorkin told the crowd at the ATX TV Festival during a West Wing reunion panel. “They wanted things like Josh [Bradley Whitford] to literally go out in a boat and help the Cuban refugees [in the pilot] … This was just people talking and they had a problem with that.”
I mean, it’s Aaron Sorkin, what did they expect? The man likes his dialogue. Warner Bros. was passionate about the show, so much so that they “invented” demographics that the show would appeal to, one of which was people who had the internet. At the time having a high-speed internet connection was not exactly common, but they believed that The West Wing would appeal to that audience, so they ran with it. During the “dot com boom,” most of the advertisers on early episodes were internet companies, with it all working out in the end.