Voila! Finally, the Network
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Paddy Chayefsky
movie starring William Holden, Peter Finch, and Faye Dunaway. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Network. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
This story is about HowardBeale, the news anchorman on UBS TV.In his time, Howard Bealehad been a mandarin of televisiůn,the grand old man of news, with a HUTrating of and a audience share.In however,his fortunes began to decline.He fell to a share.The following year his wife diedand he was left a childless widowerwith an eight rating and a share.He became morose and isolated,began to drink heavily,and on September he was fired, effective in two weeks.The news was broken to himby Max Schumacher,who was the presidentof the news divisiůn at UBS.The two old friends got properly pissed.
I was at CBS with Ed Murrow in .
Must have been then.
I was NBC, uh, associate producer.
Morning news. I was
just a kid, years old.
anyway, they were building the lower
level of the George Washington Bridge.
We were doing a remote from there...
and nobody told me!
A minute after am I get a call.
"Where the hell are you? You're supposed
to be at the George Washington Bridge."
I jump outta bed, throw my raincoat
over my pyjamas. I run downstairs.
I run out in the street, hail a cab,
and I say to the cabbie "Take me to the
middle of the George Washington Bridge."
And the cabbie turns around
and he says...
he says "Don't do it, buddy!"
"You're a young man.
You got your whole life ahead of you!"
Didn't I ever tell you that one before?
I'm gonna kill myself.
Oh, shit, Howard.
I'm gonna blow my brains out
right on the air,
right in the middle
of the seven o'clock news.
You'll get a hell of a rating,
I'll guarantee you that. share, easy.
- You think so?
We could make a series out of it.
Suicide of the Week.
Hell, why limit ourselves?
Execution of the Week.Terrorist of the Week!
I love it.
Mafia hit men,
The Death Hour.
Great Sunday-night show
for the whole family.
We'll wipe that fuckin' Disney
right off the air.
- Let's do the Lennon deportation in three.
- It strong enough to bump?
In one, then. I'll do a lead on Sarah Jane
Moore to May Berry in San Francisco.
- Film I saw was the chief of detectives.
- I think we've got about, uh...
ten seconds on the shooting itself.
The whole thing is . .
- Where does that come out?
- About . .
- Are we using Squeaky Fromme?
- Let's do that in two.
Squeaky. Ford at the airport. Bounce.
You using a map going
into San Francisco?
Um, I'd prefer news pics.
All right. What have we got left?
Gun control, Patty Hearst affidavit,
guerillas in Chad, OPEC, Indiana.
- Hello, Howard.
- Hi. Hi, Dave.
- Don't forget, we're not using .
The first attempt on President Ford's lifewas days ago,and again yesterday in San Francisco.In spite of the two attempts,Mr Ford says he will not becomea prisoner of the Oval Office,a hostage of would-be assassins. The American peopleare good people.Democrats, independents,Republicans and others.Under no circumstances will I,and I hope no others,capitulate to those that want to undercutwhat's all good in America.
Two, cue Howard.
I would like, at this point, to announce
that I will be retiring from this programme
in two weeks' time
because of poor ratings.
Since this show was the only thingI had going for me in my life,
- I have decided to kill myself.
- So, what'd she say?
I'm going to blow my brains out, righton this programme, a week from today.
- Ten seconds to commercial.
- So tune in next Tuesday.That should give the public-relationspeople a week to promote the show.We ought to get a hell of a ratingout of that. A share, easy.
- Listen, uh, did you hear that?
- What was that about?
Howard just said he was going to
blow his brains out next Tuesday.
- Didn't you hear?
What's wrong now?
Howard just said he was going
to kill himself next Tuesday.
What do you mean, Howard said
he's gonna kill himself next Tuesday?
He was supposed to do a tag on...
He said "Tune in next Tuesday.
I'm gonna shoot myself."
- What the hell's going on?
- He just said he'd blow his brains out.
- What the fuck's going on?
- They said "What the fuck is going on?"
- I can't hear you.
- Turn the studio mike on.
- We're back on in seconds.
- Ten seconds.
- What are you doing? Have you flipped?
- I think we'd better get him off.
- Get him off!
- What's the matter?
Turn the sound off, you stupid
son of a bitch. He's goin' out live.
- We're in a lot of fucking trouble here.
- This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen.
Lou, can't we clear out
that downstairs lobby?
- How am I going to clear 'em out?
- Every TV station in the city.
- Anything litigable?
- Not so far.
- Frank Hackett just walked in.
- Nelson in there?
He's with Wheeler. fucking
phone calls about the foul language.
- What page are you puttin' it on?
- Hackett just walked in.
- ABC want the tape.
Tell 'em to go fuck'emselves,
and that goes for you too, Marty.
- You're off the air as of now.
- He wants to talk to you.
- Who's replacing Beale?
- We're flying Snowden up.
All right, everybody. Let's see
how the other networks handle this.
- Ten o'clock news opened with it.
- Good evening.
- Howard Beale, one of televisiůn's...
- They'll all make it their lead.
Howard Beale interrupted his programmeto announce he was going to kill himself.An unusual thing happened at oneof our sister networks, UBS, this evening.
How are we handling it?
Halloway's going to make
a statement after the show
that Howard's been under
great personal stress, etc.
I'll call you back. All right, we've got
a stockholders' meeting tomorrow
at which we're gonna announce
the restructuring plan.
I don't want this grotesque incident
to interfere with it.
I'll suggest Mr Ruddy open with a short
statement washing this whole thing off.
Max, you'd better have answers for
those nuts at the stockholders' meeting.
Mr Beale has been under great
professional and personal strain.
I've got some goddamn surprises
for you too.
I've had it up to here with your cruddy
divisiůn and its annual $ -million deficit!
You keep your hands off
my news divisiůn, Frank.
to corporate level, not you.
- We'll goddamn well see about that.
- All right, take it easy.
How do we get Beale out?
I understand there are at least
a hundred reporters in the lobby.
We got a limo at the freight exit.
Howard, you're gonna stay with me at my
place. There's bound to be press at yours.
I want Snowden here by noon.
Have Lester cover the CIA hearings,
and give the White House to Doris.
Youíre late for your screening, Max.
If John Wheeler calls, switch him
to projection room seven.
- Sorry, Bill. This Beale business...
- Itís all right.
- Diana asked if she could sit in on this.
- Fine. Howís it goiní?
Youíll like this better than
the stuff I showed you last time.
Oh, goddammit! When, Louise?
Well, did he say anything?
All right. Thank you.
The Communist Party believes that themost pressing political necessity todayis the consolidation of the revolutionaryradical and democratic movementsinto united fronts.
Harry, Howard Beale left my house about
minutes ago. Has he come in yet?
Well, let me know when he arrives, huh?
- Thatís Laureen Hobbs, isnít it?
This is from a David Susskind thing a
while back. I think we can use some of it.
What weíre going to see now
is something really sensational.
The Flagstaff Independent Bank
of Arizona was ripped off last week
by a terrorist group called
the Ecumenical Liberation Army.
They took movies of the rip-off while
they were ripping it off. Wait till you see it.
Thatís not the one
that kidnapped Patty Hearst?
Thatís the Symbionese Liberation Army.
This is the Ecumenical Liberation Army.
They kidnapped Mary Ann Gifford
three weeks ago.
Thereís a lot of liberation armies
in the underground
and a lot of kidnapped heiresses.
This is Mary Ann Gifford.
Thatís the Great Ahmed Khan.
Heís their leader.
They actually shot this film
while they were ripping off the bank?
Wait till you see it. I donít know
whether to edit or leave it raw like this.
This is terrific stuff. Where did you get it?
I got everything through Laureen Hobbs.
Sheís my contact for all this stuff.
- I've got Howard on the other line.
Put him on.
Howard, Iíve got Max on four.
Would you pick up?
Listen, Max, Iíd like another shot.
- Oh, come on, Howard.
- I don't mean the whole show.
Iíd just like to come on,
make some brief farewell statement
and then turn the show over
to Jack Snowden.
I have years at this network, Max.
I have some standing in the industry.
I just donít want to go out like a clown.
Itíll be simple, dignified.
You and Harry can check the copy.
I think itíll take the strain
off the show, Max.
- Well, what do you think?
- Well, OK, and no booze today, Howard.
George, can you come
into my office for a minute?
- Barbara, is Tommy around?
- I think so.
Iíd like to see the two
of you for a moment.
This is Bill Herron from our West Coast
Special Programmes Department.
George Bosch, Barbara Schlesinger,
I saw footage of a special Billís doing
on the revolutionary underground.
Most of itís tedious - Laureen Hobbs and
two fatigue jackets muttering Marxism.
But heís got about eight minutes of a bank
robbery that is absolutely sensational.
Authentic stuff - actually shot
while the robbery was going on!
the Mary Ann Gifford kidnapping?
Itís that bunch of nuts. Sheís in
the movie, shooting machine guns.
This is really terrific footage!
I think we can get a hell of a movie of
the week out of it. Maybe even a series.
A series? What are we talking about?
Weíve got a bunch of hobgoblin radicals
called the Ecumenical Liberation Army
who go around taking home movies
of themselves robbing banks.
Maybe theyíll take movies of
themselves kidnapping heiresses,
hijacking s, bombing bridges,
Weíd open each weekís segment
with that authentic footage,
hire a couple of writers to write a story
behind that footage, and we got a series.
A series about a bunch
of bank-robbing guerillas?
What are we gonna call it?
The Mao Tse-tung Hour?
Why not? Theyíve got Strike Force,Task Force, SWAT.
Why not Che Guevara
and his own little mod squad?
Look, I sent you all a concept-analysis
report yesterday. Did any of you read it?
Well, in a nutshell it said
the American people are turning sullen.
Theyíve been clobbered by Vietnam,
Watergate, inflation, the Depressiůn.
Theyíve turned off, shot up,
fucked themselves limp. Nothing helps.
So this concept-analysis report concludes
the American people want somebody
to articulate their rage for them.
Iíve been telling you since I took this job
six months ago that I want angry shows.
I donít want conventional programming.
I want counterculture.
I want anti-Establishment.
I donít wanna play butch boss
with you people,
but when I took over, this department had
the worst programming record in history.
This network hasnít one show in the
top . This network is an industry joke.
Weíd better start putting together
one winner for next September.
I want a show developed based
on the activities of a terrorist group.
Joseph Stalin and hisMerry Band of Bolsheviks.
I want ideas from you people.
That is what youíre paid for.
And by the way, the next time I send
an audience research report around,
you all better read it or Iíll sack
the fucking lot of you. Is that clear?
Iíll be on the coast in four weeks. Will you
set up a meeting with Laureen Hobbs?
But the business of management
And at the time CCA took control
the UBS TV network was foundering,
with less than seven per cent
of national televisiůn revenues -
most network programmes
being sold at station rates.
I am therefore pleased to announce
I am submitting to the board a plan
for the coordination
of the main profit centres,
with the specific intention of making each
divisiůn more responsive to management.
Point one - the divisiůn producing
the lowest rate of return
has been the news divisiůn,
with its $ -million budget and
its average annual deficit of million.
Historically news divisions
are expected to lose money,
but to our minds this philosophy is
a wanton fiscal affront to be resisted.
The new plan calls for local news to be
transferred to owned stations divisions.
News radio would be transferred
to the UBS radio divisiůn,
and in effect the news divisiůn would be
reduced from an independent divisiůn
to a department accountable to network.
- What was all that about, Ed?
- This is not the time, Max.
Why wasnít I told about this?
Why was I led up onto that podium and
humiliated in front of the stockholders?
Goddammit, I spoke to
John Wheeler this morning
and he assured me
the news divisiůn was safe.
If you want me to resign
itís a hell of a way to do it.
Weíll talk about this tomorrow
at our regular morning meeting.
- Eleven. Ten. Nine.
- Roll VTA.
Eight. Seven. Six.
In five. Four. Three. Two.
- One. Cue VTA.
The UBS "Evening News"...with Howard Beale.
Ready, two. Two, cue Howard.
Good evening.Today is Wednesday, September and this is my last broadcast.Yesterday I announced thatI was going to commit public suicide.Admittedly, an act of madness.I'll tell you what happened.I just ran out of bullshit.
- All right, cut him off.
- Leave him on.
- Am I still on the air?
- If this is how he wants to go out,
- this is how he goes out.
- I don't know any other way to say it.
Mr Schumacherís here.
You want to talk to him?
Bullshit is all the reasonswe give for living.If we can't think up reasons of our own,we have the God bullshit.
- Holy Mary, mother of God!
- Tom, what is it?
... through all this pointless pain,humiliation and decay,so there better be someone somewherewho does know - that's the God bullshit.
Heís saying life is bullshit, and it is!
Why are you screaming?
Man is a noble creature that canorder his own worid. Who needs God?If there's anybody that can look aroundthis demented slaughterhouse of a worid- and say man is a noble creature...- I'm not taking calls.
- ... believe me, that man is full of bullshit.
- Whatís so goddamn funny?
I canít help it, Harry. Itís funny.
- Max, this is going out live to affiliates.
- I don't have any kids.
Leave him on.
And I was married for years
of shrill, shrieking fraud.
- Mr Hackettís trying to get through.
- Tell Mr Hackett to go fuck himself.
So I don't have any bullshit left.I just ran out of it, you see.
Mr Ruddy, could we have
one statement from you?
Iím sorry, I donít have
all the information yet.
Mr Ruddy, please? If we could just
have one statement about Mr Beale.
Iíll wanna see Mr Beale after this.
The way I hear it, Max, you were primarily
responsible for this stupid prank.
- Is that the fact, Max?
- Thatís the fact.
It was unconscionable.
- Doesnít seem to be any more to say.
- I have something to say, Ed.
I want to know why
the debasement of the news divisiůn
announced at the stockholders" meeting
this afternoon was kept secret from me.
You and I go back years, Ed.
I took this job
with your personal assurance
that youíd back my autonomy
against any encroachment.
But ever since CCA acquired control
of UBS Systems ten months ago
Hackettís been taking over everything.
Who the hell is running this network?
You or some conglomerate called CCA?
Youíre president of the Systems group,
and Hackettís nothing but
a hatchet man for CCA.
Nelson here, president of the network,
and he hasnít a thing to say
about anything any more.
I told you at the
Stockholdersí meeting, Max,
that we would discuss all that at
our regular meeting tomorrow morning.
If youíd been patient, I wouldíve explained
that I too thought Hackett precipitate,
and that the news divisiůn
would not be reorganised
until everyone, specifically you, Max,
had been consulted and satisfied.
Instead you engaged this network
in a shocking and disgraceful episode.
Your position is no longer tenable,
regardless of restructuring.
I will expect your resignation tomorrow.
We will coordinate our statements
to the least detriment of everyone.
Bob McDonough will take over the news
divisiůn until we can sort all this out.
Iíd like to see Mr Beale now.
Theyíre looking for him, Ed.
They donít know where he is.
Well, every day, five days a week, for
years, Iíve been sitting behind that desk.
The dispassionate pundit
reporting with seemly detachment
the daily parade of lunacies
that constitute the news.
And just once I wantedto say what I really felt.
Knock it off, Arthur.
It was, after all, my last...
- Are the overnight ratings in?
- Theyíre on your desk.
- Have you still got yesterdayís?
- Shall I bring them in?
These are the four outlines submitted
by Universal for an hour series.
You neednít bother
to read them. Iíll tell you.
The first one is set in a large Eastern
law school, presumably Harvard.
The series is irresistibly entitled
The New Lawyers.
The 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 a local DA who is brilliant
and sometimes cuts corners.
- The second oneís called Amazon Squad.
- Lady cops.
Characters include a crusty
but benign police lieutenant
who always gets heat
from the commissioner,
a hard-drinking detective
who thinks women belong in the kitchen,
and a beautiful girl cop
whoís fighting the feminist battle.
Weíre up to our ears in lady cops.
The next is another
A crusty but benign managing editor...
You know, Barbara,
the Arabs have decided to jack up
the price of oil another per cent.
The CIA has been caught
opening Senator Humphreyís mail.
Thereís a civil war in Angola,
another one in Beirut,
New York Cityís still facing default. They
finally caught up with Patricia Hearst.
And the whole front page
of the Daily News is Howard Beale.
Thereís also a two-column story
on page one of the Times.
Helen, call Mr Hackettís office. See if he
can give me a few minutes this morning.
KTNS Kansas City refuses to carry
our network news show any more
- unless Beale is taken off the air.
- Did you see the overnights on the news?
It has an eight in New York, a nine
in LA and a share in both cities.
Last night Beale went on
and yelled "bullshit" for two minutes,
and I tell you tonightís show will get a
share at least. We lucked into something.
Are you suggesting we put that lunatic
back on the air, yelling "bullshit"?
Yes, I think we should put Beale
back on tonight and keep him on.
Did you see the News this morning?
Did you see the Times?
Weíve got press coverage on this
you couldnít buy for a million dollars.
That show jumped five rating points in
one night. Tonight will be at least .
We just increased our audience
by or million people in one night!
Youíre not gonna get something like this
again. You canít just piss it away.
Howard Beale said what every American
feels - that heís tired of all the bullshit.
Heís articulating the popular rage.
I want that show, Frank.
I can turn it into the biggest smash on TV.
What? Itís a news show.
Itís not your department.
I see Howard Beale
as a latter-day prophet,
a messianic figure, inveighing against
the hypocrisies of our times.
A strip Savonarola Monday through
Friday that could just go through the roof!
And Iím talking about
a six-dollar cost-per-thousand show.
Iím talking about $ - minutes.
You wanna figure out the revenues of
a strip show for bucks a minute?
One show like that could pull
this network right outta the hole.
Itís being handed on a plate.
Letís not blow it.
Tell him Iíll be a few minutes.
- Let me think it over.
- Letís not go to committee on this.
Itís . . We want Beale in that studio
by . . We donít wanna lose momentum.
For Godís sakes, weíre talking about
putting a manifestly irresponsible man
on national televisiůn.
Iíd like to talk to Legal Affairs,
and Herb Thackeray,
and certainly Joe Donnelly
in Standards and Practices.
And you know Iím gonna be eyeball
to eyeball with Mr Ruddy on this.
If Iím wrestling Ruddy,
I wanna make sure of some of my ground.
Iím the one whose ass
is going on the line.
Iíll get back to you, Diana.
I donít believe the top brass of a TV
network are sitting around their salads...
Top brass of a bankrupt TV network with
projected losses of $ million this year.
I donít care how bankrupt.
You canít be seriously proposing,
and the rest of us seriously considering,
putting on a pornographic
network news show. The FCCíd kill us.
Sit down, Nelson. The FCC canít do
anything except rap our knuckles.
I donít want to think about litigations.
We could be up to our ears in lawsuits.
- The affiliates wonít carry it.
- Theyíll kiss your ass for a hit show.
- The popular reaction...
- Thatís what we have to find out.
- The New York Times...
- It doesnít advertise on our network.
All I know is this violates every canon
of respectable broadcasting.
Weíre a whorehouse network
and we have to take whatever we can get.
I donít want any part of it. I donít fancy
myself the president of a whorehouse.
Thatís very commendable of you,
Nelson. Now sit down.
Your indignation has been duly recorded.
You can always resign tomorrow.
Now, look. What, in substance,
are we proposing?
Merely to add editorial comment
to our network news show.
Brinkley, Sevareid, Reasoner
all have their comments.
Now Howard Bealeíll have his.
I think we ought to give it a shot.
Letís see what happens tonight.
I donít wanna have to tell
Max Schumacher about this.
Max doesnít work here any more.
Mr Ruddy fired him last night.
Bob McDonoughís running
the news divisiůn now.
Bob McDonough in News, please.
Oh, I donít know.
I may teach. I may write a book.
Whatever the hell one does when one
approaches the autumn of oneís years.
My God, is that me?
Was I ever that young?
No. Howard just brought in
a picture of Ed Murrow
and the whole CBS gang
when we were there.
You wouldnít believe it. Walter Cronkite,
Harry Reasoner, Hollenbeck, Bob Trout.
- Is that you, Howard?
- OK, Dick, weíll be in touch.
- You remember this kid?
You once sent him out to interview
Cleveland Amory on vivisection.
- Thatís him.
Whatís so funny?
So I jump out of bed in my pyjamas,
I grab my raincoat, I run downstairs,
I run out in the street and I hail a cab.
And I jumped in and I yelled at the driver
"Take me to the middle of
the George Washington Bridge."
And the driver turns around and he says
"Donít do it, buddy! Donít do it!"
You got your whole life ahead of ya!"
Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
If you think thatís funny... if you think
thatís funny, wait till you hear this.
Iíve just come from Hackettís office.
He wants Howard on the air tonight.
- Youíre kidding!
- Ratings went up five points last night.
He wants Howard to go back on
and do his angry-man thing.
What are you talkin" about?
Iím telling you. They want Howard
to go back on and yell "bullshit".
They want Howard to go on
spontaneously letting out his anger.
A latter-day prophet,
Hey, that sounds pretty good.
Whoís this "they"?
Hackett. Chaney was there.
The Legal Affairs guy.
- Oh, and that girl from Programming.
- Diana? Whatís she got to do with this?
- Youíre kidding, arenít you?
- Iím not kidding. I told"em.
I said "Weíre running
a news department, not a circus."
"And Howard Bealeís not a bearded lady."
"If you think I accept
this bastardisation of the news,
you can have my resignation
along with Max Schumacherís."
"I speak for Howard and everybody..."
Hey, hold it, McDonough.
Thatís my job youíre turning down.
Iíd go nuts without some kind of work.
And whatís wrong with being an
angry prophet, denouncing hypocrisies?
What do you think, Max?
Do you wanna be an angry prophet,
Yeah, I think Iíd like to be an
angry prophet, denouncing hypocrisies.
Then grab it. Grab it!
- Afternoon, Mr Ruddy.
Good afternoon, Mr Ruddy.
- Heís waiting for you, Mr Ruddy.
- Thank you.
Nelson Chaney tells me Beale may
actually go on the air this evening.
As far as I know, Howardís going to do it.
- Are you gonna sit still for this, Ed?
I think Hackettís overstepped himself.
Thereís corporate manoeuvring going on.
Hackett is clearly forcing a confrontation.
That would account for his behaviour
at the meeting. However...
I think heís making a serious
mistake with this Beale business.
I suspect CCA will be upset
at Hackettís presumptuousness.
Certainly, Mr Jensen will.
So Iím going to let Hackett
have his head for a while.
He just might lose it
over this Beale business.
Iíd like you to reconsider
your resignation, Max.
I assume that Hackett wouldnít take such
steps without support on the CCA board.
Iíll have to go directly to Mr Jensen.
When that happens, Iím going
to need every friend Iíve got.
I donít want Hackettís people
in all the divisional positions,
so Iíd like you to stay on, Max.
Of course, Ed.
Thank you, Max.
This has been the UBS"Evening News" with Howard Beale. The initial response to the newHoward Beale show was not auspicatory.The press was, without exception, hostile,and industry reaction negative.The ratings for the Thursdayand Friday shows were both but Monday's rating dropped a point,suggesting the novelty was wearing off.
Did you know a number of psychics
work as licensed brokers on Wall Street?
Some counsel their clients
using tarot cards.
Theyíre pretty successful,
even in a bear market and selling short.
I met one of them last week and
thought of doing a show around her.
The Wayward Witch of Wall Street,
something like that.
But if her tips are good,
she could wreck the market.
So I called her this morning and asked
her how she was on predicting the future.
She said she was occasionally prescient.
"For example" she said "I just had a
fleeting visiůn of you sitting in an office
with a craggy middle-aged man
with whom you are
or will be emotionally involved."
And here I am.
- She does all this with tarot cards?
- No, she operates on parapsychology.
She has trancelike episodes
and feels things in her energy field.
I think this lady could be
very useful to you, Max.
- In what way?
- Well, you put on a news show.
Hereís somebody who could predict
tomorrowís news for you.
Her name, aptly enough, is Sybil.
Sybil the Soothsayer.
You could give her two minutes at the end
of a Howard Beale show, say on Fridays,
which is suggestively occult,
and she could oraculate.
Then next week everyone tunes in
to see how good her predictions were.
Maybe she could do the weather.
Your news show is gonna need help
if itís going to hold.
Beale doesnít do the angry-man thing
well at all. Heís too kvetchy.
We want a prophet, not a curmudgeon.
He should do more apocalyptic doom.
I think you should take on a couple of
writers to write some jeremiads for him.
I see you donít fancy my suggestions.
- Hell, youíre not serious, are you?
- Oh, Iím serious.
The fact is, I could make your Beale show
the highest-rated news show in televisiůn
- if youíd let me have a crack at it.
- What do you mean, have a crack at it?
Iíd like to programme it
for you, develop it.
I wouldnít interfere with the actual news
itself, but TV is show biz, Max.
And even the news has
to have a little showmanship.
My God, you are serious.
I watched your six o"clock news today.
Itís straight tabloid.
You had a minute and a half of
a lady riding naked in Central Park.
And you had less than a minute
of hard international news.
It was all sex, scandal,
brutal crime, sports,
children with incurable diseases,
and lost puppies.
So I wonít listen to any protestations
of high standards of journalism.
Youíre right down in the street,
soliciting audiences like the rest of us.
If youíre gonna hustle, at least do it right.
Iíll bring this up tomorrow,
but I donít like network hassles.
I was hoping you and I could work
this out between us. Thatís why Iím here.
I was hoping you were looking
for an emotional involvement
with a craggy middle-aged man.
Oh, I wouldnít rule that out entirely.
All right, Diana,
you bring up all your ideas at the meeting
tomorrow, because if you don"t, I will.
I think Howardís making
a goddamn fool of himself,
and so does everybody that
Howard and I know in this industry.
It was a fluke. It didnít work.
So tomorrow Howard
goes back to the old format,
and all of this gutter depravity
comes to an end.
I donít get it, Diana.
You hung around until .
and then came all the way down here just
to pitch a couple of loony show biz ideas
when you knew goddamn well
Iíd laugh you right out of the office.
I donít get it.
Whatís your scam in this?
Max, my little visit here tonight
was a gesture made out of
your stature in the industry,
and because Iíve admired you
since I was a kid majoring in speech
at the University of Missouri.
But sooner or later, with or without you,
I will take over your network news show,
and I figured I might as well start tonight.
I, uh, think I once gave a lecture
- at the University of Missouri.
- I was in the audience.
I had a terrible schoolgirl crush
on you for a couple of months.
If we could get back
for a moment to that gypsy
who predicted all that about emotional
involvements and middle-aged men...
What are you doing for dinner tonight?
I canít make it tonight, love.
Call me tomorrow.
- Do you have a favourite restaurant?
- I eat anything.
I get a feeling Iím being made.
Well, Iíve got to warn you,
I donít do anything on my first date.
Schmuck. What are you getting into?
I was married for four years
and pretended to be happy,
and had six years of analysis
and pretended to be sane.
My husband ran off with his boyfriend
and I had an affair with my analyst.
He told me I was
the worst lay he had ever had.
I canít tell you how many men
have told me what a lousy lay I am.
I apparently have
a masculine temperament.
I arouse quickly,
and I canít wait to get my clothes
back on and get out of that bedroom.
I seem to be inept at everything
except my work.
Iím good at my work,
so I confine myself to that.
All I want out of life
is a share and a rating.
Youíre married, surely.
years. I have a married daughter
in Seattle whoís six months" pregnant,
and a younger girl whoís starting
at Northwestern in January.
Well, Max, here we are.
Middle-aged man, reaffirming
his middle-aged manhood,
and a terrified young woman
with a father complex.
What sort of script do you think
we can make out of this?
Corridor gossip says that you"re
Frank Hackettís backstage girl.
Frankís a corporation man, body and soul.
He has no loves, lusts or allegiances
that are not directed toward
becoming a CCA board member.
So why should he bother with me?
Iím not even a stockholder.
What about your loves,
lusts and allegiances?
Is your wife in town?
Well, then, Weíd better go to my place.
I canít hear you.
Youíll have to talk a little louder.
I hear you.
I said why me?
Howard in his office?
Oh, Harry, Iím killing this whole
screwball angry-prophet thing.
- Tonight we go back to straight news.
Fifteen seconds. Fourteen. Thirteen.
Max, Iím tellin" you heís fine. Heís been
sharp all day. Heís been funny as hell.
Had everybody crackin" up at the
rundown meeting. I told him. I told him.
Up. Cue VTA.
- Cue announcer.
- The UBS "Evening News".- With Howard Beale.
- Take two. Cue Howard.
Last night I was awakenedfrom a fitful sleepshortly after two o'clock in the morningby a shrill, sibilant, faceless voice.
I couldnít make it out at first,
in the dark bedroom.
I said "Iím sorry, you will
have to talk a little louder."
- What do you want me to do?
And the voice said
"I want you to tell the people the truth."
"Not easy, because they
donít wanna know the truth."
And I said "Youíre kidding? What the hell
should I know about the truth?"
But the voice said to me"Don't worry about the truth.""I will put the words in your mouth." AndI said "What is this? The burning bush?"
"Iím not Moses." And the voice said "Iím
not God. What has that got to do with it?"
The voice said "Weíre not talking about
eternal or absolute or ultimate truth."
"We're talking about impermanent,transient, human truth. ""I don't expect you to be capable of truth,but at least you're capableof self-preservation. "
And I said "Why me?" And the voice said
"Because youíre on televisiůn, dummy!"
"You have million Americans listening.After this you could have million. "
"Iím not asking you to wear sackcloth
and ashes, preaching the Armageddon."
"Youíre on TV, man!"
So I thought about it for a moment.
And then I said "OK."
Close the door, Harry.
Howard, Iím taking you off the air.
I think youíre having a breakdown,
This is not a psychotic episode.
This is a cleansing moment of clarity.
Iím imbued, Max.
Iím imbued with some special spirit.
Itís not a religious feeling. Itís a shocking
eruption of great electrical energy.
I feel vivid and flashing,
as if suddenly Iíd been plugged into
some great electromagnetic field.
I feel connected to all living things.
all the animals of the worid.
And even to some great,
unseen, living force.
What I think the Hindus call prana.
But itís not a breakdown.
Iíve never felt more orderly in my life.
It is a shattering and beautiful sensation.
It is the exalted flow
of the space-time continuum,
save that it is spaceless
and timeless and...
of such loveliness.
I feel on the verge of
some great, ultimate truth.
And you will not take me off the air
for now or for any other spaceless time!
- Is he OK?
- Heís just fainted.
Iíd better get him back
to my house again tonight.
Help me get him up.
The whole place has gone crazy.
They just seem to hassle me.
Wake up, Max, because Howardís gone.
Iíll make you some coffee.
What do you mean, you donít know
where he is? Heís a hit!
Over phone calls. Go down to
the mailroom - over telegrams.
- The response is sensational. Herb?
Herbís phone hasnít stopped. Every damn
affiliate from Albuquerque to Sandusky.
- The response is sensational. Yes?
All right! For you, Herb.
Get back to your office.
Moldanian called me. Joe Donnelly
called me. We got a goddamn hit!
Show him the Times! We even got an
editorial in the goddamn New York Times!
- I donít know where he is.
- That son of a bitch has caught on.
- Donít say you donít know where he is.
- He could be jumping off a roof!
The man is insane.
Heís not responsible for himself.
He needs care and treatment. And all you
graverobbers think about is that heís a hit.
You know, Max, itís just
possible that he isnít insane.
That he is, in fact, imbued
with some special spirit.
My God, Iím supposed to be the romantic!
Youíre the hard-bitten realist.
All right. Howard Beale
obviously fills a void.
The audience obviously wants a prophet,
even a manufactured one, even mad.
By tomorrow heíll have
a share, maybe even a .
Beale is processed instant God. He may
go over bigger than Mary Tyler Moore.
I am not putting Howard back on the air!
Itís not your show any more,
Max, itís mine.
I gave her the show, Schumacher.
Iím putting the network news show
Mr Ruddy has had a heart attack
and is not taking calls.
In his absence, Iím making
all network decisions,
including one Iíve been wanting
to make a long time: Youíre fired.
I want you out of here by noon. Iíll have
you thrown out if youíre still here.
Well, letís say "Fuck you, Hackett."
You want me out of here,
youíll have to drag me out.
- The whole news divisiůn too.
- You think theyíll quit for you?
- Not in this recessiůn.
- When Ruddyís back heíll have your ass.
I got a hit, Schumacher, and
Ruddy doesnít count any more.
He hoped Iíd fail with
this Beale show, but I didn"t.
Itís a big fat big-titted hit and I donít have
to waffle around with Ruddy any more.
If he wants to take me up
before the CCA, let him.
Think Ruddy is stupid enough
to go to the board and say
"Iím taking our one hit show off the air"?
Come November Iíll be there at the
annual CCA management review meeting
and Iíll announce projected earnings for
this network for the first time in five years.
Believe me, Mr Jensenís gonna be
rocking back and forth in his little chair,
and heís gonna say "Thatís
very good, Frank. Keep it up."
So donít have any illusions about
whoís running this network now.
I want you outta your office before noon
or Iíll have you thrown out.
You go along with this?
I told you I didnít want
a network hassle on this.
I told you Iíd much rather work the Beale
show out just between the two of us.
Well, letís just say "Fuck you too, honey."
Howard Beale may be my best friend.
Iíll go to court. Iíll put him in a hospital
before Iíll let you exploit him.
Get your psychiatrist. Iíll get mine.
Iím gonna spread this reeking
business in every newspaper,
on every network, group
and affiliate in the country.
- Iím gonna make a lot of noise about this.
- Great. We need all the press we can get.
Something going on
between you and Schumacher?
Not any more.
- How do you do?
- I must make my witness.
Sure thing, Mr Beale.
Oil ministers of the OPEC nationsmeeting in Vienna still haven't decided...
- Ready VTA.
Yeah? He came in about five minutes ago.
Make sure he gets here.
Tell Snowden to let him go on.
Did you get that, Paul?
- Three. Two. One.
This has been the most divisive meetingthe oil states have ever had.The nations of OPEChave still not been able to decideby how much to increasethe price of oil. Saudi Arabian...
How much time we got?
... for consultations with his government.He returned to the Vienna...
- This is Ed Fletcher, in Vienna.
- Take two. Cue Howard.
I don't have to tell you things are bad.Everybody knows things are bad.
Itís a depressiůn. Everybodyís out
of work, or scared of losing their job.
The dollar buys a nickelís worth.
Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers
keep a gun under the counter.
Punks are running wild, and nobody
knows what to do. Thereís no end to it.
We know the air is unfit to breathe
and our food is unfit to eat.
We sit watching our TVs while some
local newscaster tells us that today
we had homicides and violent
crimes, as if thatís the way it should be.
We know things are bad.
Worse than bad. Theyíre crazy.
Everything is going crazy,
so we donít go out any more.
We sit in the house,
and the worid we live in gets smaller.
All we say is "Please, at least
leave us alone in our living rooms."
"Let me have my toaster and my TV and
I wonít say anything. Just leave us alone."
Well, Iím not going to leave you alone.
I want you to get mad!
I donít want you to protest or riot. I don"t
want you to write to your congressman.
I donít know what to do about the
depressiůn, the inflation and the crime.
All I know is that first
youíve got to get mad!
Youíve gotta say "Iím a human being,
goddammit! My life has value!"
So... I want you to get up now.
I want all of you
to get up out of your chairs.
I want you to get up right now
and go to the window,
open it and stick your head out and yell
"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not
going to take this any more!"
- I want you to get up right now...
- Stay with him.
- Stay with him.
- Stay with him.
...and stick your head out and yell
"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not
going to take this any more!"
- How many stations does this go live to?
- . It goes to Louisville and Atlanta...
Then weíll figure out what to do about
the depressiůn, inflation
and the oil crisis.
But first get up out of your chairs, openthe window, stick your head out and yell"I'm as mad as hell and I'm notgoing to take this any more!"
- Who are you talking to?
- CGG, Atlanta.
- Are they yelling in Atlanta?
- Are they yelling in Atlanta?
But first youíve gotta get mad!
Youíve gotta say
"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not
going to take this any more!"
Theyíre yellin" in Baton Rouge.
Get up. Get up...
Son of a bitch! We struck the mother Iode!
Stick your head out of the window. Openit, stick your head out and keep yelling"I'm as mad as hell.I'm not gonna take this any more!"Just get up from your chairs right now...
- Where are you going?
- I wanna see if anybodyís yelling.
... and stick your head outand yell and keep yelling...
Iím mad as hell and Iím not
gonna take this any more!
Iím mad as hell!
Iím not gonna take it any more!
Iím as mad as hell and Iím not
gonna take it any more!
Iím as mad as hell!
Iím not gonna take it any more!
Iím as mad as hell and Iím not gonna
take it any more! Iím not gonna take it!
Iím mad as hell!
By October the Howard Bealeshow had settled in on a share,more than equalling all the othernetwork news shows combined.In the Nielsen ratings it was listed as thefourth-highest-rated show of the month,surpassed only by "The Six Million DollarMan", "All in the Family" and "Phyllis" -a phenomenal state of affairsfor a news show.And on October Diana Christensen flew to Los Ńngelesfor what the trade calls powwows andconfabs with her programming execsand to get production rollingfor the coming season.
Christ. You brought half the William
Morris West Coast office along with you.
Hi, Iím Diana Christensen. A racist lackey
of the imperialist ruling circles.
Iím Laureen Hobbs,
a bad-ass Commie nigger.
Sounds like the basis of a firm friendship.
We need more chairs.
- Anybody want coffee?
- Iíd love some.
Coffee? Coffee? Wanna come
take some coffee orders?
This is my lawyer Sam Haywood
and his associate Merrill Grant.
Well, Ms Christensen, just
what the hellís this all about?
Because, when a national televisiůn
network comes to me and says
they wanna put the ongoing struggle of
the oppressed masses on primetime TV,
- I have to regard this askance.
- What Mr Haywood was saying
was that our client Ms Hobbs
wants it upfront
that the political content of the show
has to be entirely in her control.
She can have it. I donít give a damn
about the political content.
- What kind of show do you have in mind?
- A weekly dramatic series
based on the Ecumenical
The first show has to be
a two-hour special on Mary Ann Gifford.
Let me tell you what I want. More film like
the bank rip-off the Ecumenical sent in.
The way I see the series is...
each week we open with an authentic act
of political terrorism,
taken on the spot, in the moment.
Then we go to the drama
behind the opening footage.
Thatís your job, Miss Hobbs.
You gotta get the Ecumenicals
to bring in that film footage for us.
The network canít deal with them directly.
They are, after all, wanted criminals.
The Ecumenical Liberation Army is an
ultra-left sect creating political confusiůn
with wildcat violence and
which the Communist Party
does not endorse.
The American masses are not
yet ready for open revolt.
We would not want to produce a show
celebrating historically deviational
Iím offering an hour a week into which
you can stick any propaganda you want.
The Ecumenicals are
an undisciplined ultra-left gang
whose leader is an eccentric
to say the least.
He calls himself the Great Ahmed Khan
and wears a hussarís shako.
Ms Hobbs, weíre talking about
to million people a shot.
Better than handing out Mimeographed
pamphlets on ghetto street corners.
Well, Iíll have to take this matter
to the central committee.
And Iíd better check it out
with the Great Ahmed Khan.
Iíll be in LA until Saturday
and Iíd like to get it rolling.
you ainít gonna believe this,
but Iím gonna make a TV star out of you.
Just like Archie Bunker.
You gonna be a household word.
What the fuck are you talkin" about?
- All right, ready VTA.
One, you have the audience to pan.
- Two, you have the window to pull.
Three, youíre on the announcer.
- Stand by VTA.
- Fifteen. Fourteen.
- Thirteen. Twelve.
- Ready, eight.
- Eleven. Ten.
- Roll VTA.
Nine. Eight. Seven.
- Ready, three.
- Four. Three.
- Two. One.
- Three, cue announcer.
Ladies and gentlemen,
letís hear it! How do you feel?
Weíre mad as hell and weíre not
gonna take it any more!
The network news hour,
with Sybil the Soothsayer!
Jim Webbing and his
Miss Mata Hari and
her skeletons in the closet.
Plus, tonight, another
segment of Vox Populi.
And starring the mad prophet
of the airwaves, Howard Beale!
Edward George Ruddy died today!
Edward George Ruddy
was chairman of the board
of the Uniůn Broadcasting Systems
and he died at o"clock
this morning of a heart condition.
And woe is us, weíre in a lot of trouble.
a rich little man with white hair died.
What has that got to do with the price
of rice, right? And why is that woe to us?
Because you people and million other
Americans are listening to me right now.
Because less than three per cent
of you people read books.
Because less than per cent
of you read newspapers.
Because the only truth you know
is what you get over this tube.
Right now, there is a whole
and entire generation
that never knew anything
that didnít come out of this tube.
This tube is the gospel!
The ultimate revelation!
This tube can make or break
presidents, popes, prime ministers.
It is the most awesome goddamn force
in the whole godless worid.
Woe is us if it falls into
the hands of the wrong people.
Thatís why woe is us
that Edward George Ruddy died.
Because this company is now
in the hands of CCA,
the Communication Corporation
Thereís a new chairman
of the board, Frank Hackett,
sitting in Mr Ruddyís office.
And when the th largest company
in the worid controls
the most awesome goddamn propaganda
force in the whole godless worid,
who knows what shit will be peddled
for truth on this network.
So you listen to me. Listen to me.
Televisiůn is not the truth. Televisiůnís
a goddamned amusement park.
Televisiůn is a circus, a carnival,
a travelling troupe of acrobats,
storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers,
sideshow freaks, lion tamers
and football players.
Weíre in the boredom-killing business.
So if you want the truth, go to God.
Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves.
Because thatís the only place
youíre ever going to find any real truth.
But, man, youíre never gonna
get any truth from us.
Weíll tell you anything you wanna hear.
We lie like hell.
Weíll tell you that Kojak
always gets the killer,
and that nobody ever gets cancer
in Archie Bunkerís house.
However much trouble the hero is in,
donít worry. Look at your watch.
At the end of the hour heís going to win.
Weíll tell you any shit you want to hear.
We deal in illusions, man.
None of it is true.
But you people sit there,
day after day, night after night,
all ages, colours, creeds.
Weíre all you know. Youíre beginning
to believe the illusions weíre spinning.
Youíre beginning to think the tube
is reality and your lives are unreal.
You do whatever the tube tells you.
You dress like the tube,
eat like the tube,
raise your children like the tube,
think like the tube.
This is mass madness, you maniacs.
In Godís name, you people are
the real thing! We are the illusiůn!
So turn off your televisiůn sets.
Turn them off now.
Turn them off right now!
Turn them off and leave them off.
Turn them off right in the middle
of the sentence Iím speaking now.
Turn them off.
UBS was running at a cash flow
after taking into account $ million
of negative cash flow from the network.
It was clear the fat on the network
had to be flitched off.
Note an increase in projected initial
programming revenues of $ million
due to the phenomenal success
of the Howard Beale show.
I expect a positive cash flow
for the entire complex of $ million,
achievable in this fiscal year -
a year, in short, ahead of schedule.
To go beyond that,
this network may well be
the most significant profit centre
of the communications complex.
And, based upon the projected rate
of return on invested capital,
and if merger is accomplished, the
communications complex may become
the towering and most-profitable
centre in the entire CCA empire.
I await your questions and comments.
Very good, Frank. Exemplary. Keep it up.
Buy you a cup of coffee?
Do you have to get back to the office?
Nothing that canít wait.
I, uh... I drop down to the news studios
every now and then
and ask Howard Beale about you
and he says youíre doing fine. Are you?
Are you keeping busy?
Oh, in a fashion. This is the third funeral
Iíve been to in two weeks.
I have two other friends in the hospital
whom I visit regularly
and Iíve been to a couple of christenings.
All my friends seem to be dying
or having grandchildren.
You should be a grandfather about now.
You have a pregnant daughter
in Seattle, donít you?
Any day now.
My wifeís out there for the occasiůn.
Iíve thought many times of calling you.
I wish you had.
You know, I bumped into Sybil the
Soothsayer in the elevator last week.
I said "You know, Sybil,
about four months ago
you predicted I would get involved
with a craggy middle-aged man."
Ďso far all thatís happened
has been one many-splendoured night."
"I donít call that "getting involved"."
And she said "Donít worry, you will."
It was a many-splendoured night,
wasnít it, Max?
Yes, it was.
Are we gonna get involved, Max?
Yes. I need to become
involved very much.
How about you?
Iíve reached for the phone
to call a hundred times, but...
I was sure you hated me for my part
in taking your news show away.
I probably did. I donít know any more.
All I know is...
I canít get you out of my mind.
Look, Marty, I know what NBC
offered him, so Iím saying go to . .
And I want an option
for a third run on all of them.
Iím in a hurry, and you and Charlie
should be negotiating this.
So goodbye, good luck.
Iíll see you Monday.
Jimmy Caanís agent says nix.
- Canít win them all.
- Where can I reach you?
You can"t. Iíll be gone all weekend.
NBCís offering . mil per package
of five James Bond movies
and I think Iím gonna steal them
for . for the third run.
Iíll stick The Mao Tse-tung Hour
in at eight,
because weíre having a lot of trouble
selling them Mao Tse-tung.
That Mao Tse-tung Hour's turning
into one big pain in the ass.
Weíre having heavy legal problems
with the federal government right now.
Two FBI guys turned up in Hackettís office
last week and served us with a subpoena.
They heard about our Flagstaff bank
rip-off film and they want it.
Hackett told the FBI to fuck off.
No, but weíre getting around the FBI
by doing the show in collaboration
with the news divisiůn.
Weíre standing on the First Amendment
and the right to protect our sources.
Walter thinks we can knock out
the misprisiůn of felony charge.
But he says absolutely nix
on going to series.
Theyíll hit us with conspiracy
and inducement to commit a crime.
Christ, itís cold in here.
See, weíre payin" the Ecumenical
Liberation Army bucks a week
to turn in authentic footage
of their revolutionary activities
and that constitutes
inducement to commit a crime.
And Walter says weíll all wind up
in federal prison.
I said "Walter, let the government sue us."
"Let the federal government sue us.
Weíll take them to the Supreme Court."
Weíll be front page. Mm.
And once... The New York Times
and The Washington Post
and Time gets a whiff of us...
weíll be front page for months -
more press than Watergate.
All I need is six weeks" federal litigation
and The Mao Tse-tung Hour can
start carrying its own time slot.
Whatís really bugging me now
is my daytime programming.
NBCís got a lock on daytime
with their lousy game shows...
and Iíd like to bust them.
Iím thinking of doing
a homosexual soap opera.
The heart-rending saga about a woman
hopelessly in love
with her husbandís mistress.
What do you think?
How long has it been going on?
I thought it was a transient thing
and would blow over in a week.
I still pray to God
itís just a menopausal infatuation.
But it is an infatuation, Louise.
Thereís no sense in my saying
I wonít see her again, because I will.
Do you want me to leave?
Check into a hotel?
Do you love her?
I donít know how I feel.
Iím grateful I can feel anything.
I know Iím obsessed with her.
Then say it.
Donít keep telling me that you"re
obsessed, that youíre infatuated.
Say that youíre in love with her.
Iím in love with her.
Then get out! Go anywhere you want!
Go to a hotel, go live with her,
but donít come back.
Because, after years of building
a home and raising a family
and all the senseless pain
that we have inflicted on each other,
Iím damned if Iíll stand here and have you
tell me youíre in love with somebody else.
Because this isnít a convention weekend
with your secretary, is it, or...
or some broad that you picked up
after three belts of booze?
This is your great winter romance, isnít it?
Your last roar of passiůn before
you settle into your emeritus years.
Is that whatís left for me?
Is that my share?
She gets the winter passiůn and I get
the dotage? What am I supposed to do?
Sit home, knitting and purling, while you
slink back like some penitent drunk?
Iím your wife, dammit! If you can"t
work up a winter passiůn for me,
the least I require
is respect and allegiance.
I hurt. Donít you understand that?
I hurt badly.
Oh, say something, for Godís sake!
Iíve got nothing to say.
I wonít give you up easily, Max.
I think perhaps it is better if you move out.
Does she love you, Max?
Iím not sure sheís capable
of any real feelings.
Sheís televisiůn generation.
She learned life from Bugs Bunny.
The only reality she knows
comes to her from over the TV set.
Sheís carefully devised a number
of scenarios for all of us to play,
like the movie of the week.
My God, look at us, Louise.
Here we are, going through
the obligatory middle of act two,
the Ďscorned wife throws
peccant husband out" scene.
But donít worry,
Iíll come back to you in the end.
All her plot outlines have me
leaving her and coming back to you,
because the audience wonít buy
a rejection of the happy American family.
She does have one script
in which I kill myself.
An adapted-for-televisiůn versiůn
of Anna Karenina,
where sheís Count Vronsky and Iím Anna.
Youíre in for some dreadful grief, Max.
"The Mao Tse-tung Hour" wenton air March . It received a share.The network promptly committed to shows, with an option for ten more.There were the usualcontractual difficulties.
"...equal to per cent, except that
such percentages shall be per cent
for -minute or longer
- Have we settled that sublicensing thing?
We want a clear definition here.
"Gross proceeds should consist of
all funds the sublicensee receives,
not merely the net amount remitted after
payment to sublicensee or distributor."
Weíre not standing for overhead charges
as a cost prior to distribution.
Donít fuck with my distribution costs!
Iím making a lousy per segment.
I already deficit grand
a week with Metro.
I pay William Morris ten per cent.
I give this turkey ten thou
per segment, five to her.
Helen, donít start no shit
about a piece again.
I pay Metro per cent for all foreign and
Canadian distribution, after recoupment.
The Communist Partyís not gonna see
a nickel until syndication.
The partyís in for a week
Iím not givin" this pseudo-insurrectionary
sectarian a piece of my show,
and I ainít cuttin" him in
on my distribution charges.
You fuckin" fascist! Did you see the film
we made of the San Marino jail break-out,
showing the rising up of
a prisoner-class infrastructure?
You can blow the prisoner-class
infrastructure out your ass.
Iím not knocking down
my goddamn distribution charges!
Man, give her the fuckin" overhead clause.
How did I get here?
Whoís gonna believe this?
Letís get back to page
- Where are we now?
- Page middle, subsidiary rights.
"As used herein, Ďsubsidiary rights"
means any and all rights..."
In the past two days, youíve had
the chance to meet Diana Christensen,
our vice president
in charge of programming.
This afternoon you all saw some of
the stuff sheís set up for the new season.
you all know that she is the woman
behind the Howard Beale show.
we all know sheís beautiful.
We all know sheís brainy.
I was thinking, before we start
digging in to our Chateaubriands...
letís show her how we feel about her.
Weíve got the number-one show
At next yearís affiliates" meeting, Iíll be
here telling you Weíve got the top five.
Last year we were
the number-four network.
Next year weíre number one.
Weíre number one!
Weíre number one!
Weíre number one!
Weíre number one!
Weíre number one! Weíre number one!
It is exactly seven o"clock
here in Los Ńngeles,
and right now, over a million homes
using televisiůn in this city
are turning their dials to channel three,
and thatís our channel.
Howard Beale!Stop it! Stop it!You listen to me, and listen carefully,because this is your goddamn lifeI'm talking about today.When one company wantsto take over another companythey buy a controlling share of the stock,but first they have to tell the government.That's how CCA took over the companythat owns this network.But now somebody is buying up CCA.Somebody called theWestern Worid Funding Corporation.They filed the notice this morning. Who isthe Western Worid Funding Corporation?It is a consortium of banksand insurance companieswho are not buying CCA for themselvesbut as agents for somebody else.Who is the somebody else?They won't tell!They won't tell you, or the Senate,they won't tell the SEC, the FCC,they won't tell the Justice Department...
This is Mr Hackett. Do you
have a New York call for me?
You wanna turn that down, please?
I will tell you whothey're buying CCA for.They're buying it for the Saudi-ArabianInvestment Corporation.They are buying it for the Arabs.
Clarence? Frank Hackett.
Howís New York? Howís the good lady?
All right. Take it easy. I don"t
know what youíre talking about.
When? Tonightís show?
Clarence, take it easy. The Howard BealeShow's just going on out here.
You guys get it three hours
earlier in New York.
Clarence, take it easy. How the hell
could I see it? Itís just going on now.
When did Mr Jensen call?
We all know that the Arabs control$ billion in this country.They own a chunk of Fifth Avenue, downtown pieces of Boston.A part of the port of New Orleans.An industrial park in Salt Lake City.They own big hunks of the Atlanta Hilton.The Arizona Land and Cattle Company.The Security National Bank in California.Bank of the Commonwealth in Detroit.They control Aramco, so that puts theminto Exxon, Texaco and Mobil oil.They're all over! New Jersey,Louisville, St Louis, Missouri.And that's only what we know about.There's a lot more we don't know about,because all those Arab petrol dollarsare washed through Switzerland, Canadaand the biggest banks in this country.For example, what we don'tknow about is this CCA deal.And all the other CCA deals.Right now the Arabs have screwed usout of enough American dollarsto come right back and, with our ownmoney, buy General Motors, IBM, ITT,AT& T, DuPont, US Steeland other American companies.Hell, they already own half of England!So, listen to me. Listen to me, goddammit.The Arabs are simply buying us.There's only one thingthat can stop them - you.You!So I want you to get up now.I want you to get up out of your chairs.I want you to get up right nowand go to the phone.I want you to get up from your chairs,go to the phone, get in your cars,drive into the Western Uniůnoffices in town.I want you to send a telegramto the White House.
Oh, my God.
By midnight tonight, I want a milliontelegrams in the White House.I want them wading knee-deepin telegrams at the White House.I want you to get up right now and writea telegram to President Ford saying"I'm as mad as hell and I'm notgonna take this any more. ""I don't want the banksselling my country to the Arabs. ""I want the CCA deal stopped now.""I want the CCA dealstopped now. " Come on! I wantthe CCA deal stopped now.I want the CCA deal stopped now.I want the CCA deal stopped now.I want the CCA deal stopped now.
- Look, could we have the room?
Well, Iíd like to see a typescript
and run through a couple more times.
But as for this whole CCA deal
with the Saudis,
youíd know a lot more about that,
Frank, than I would. Is it true?
The CCA has two billions
in loans with the Saudis,
and they hold every pledge Weíve got.
We need that Saudi money bad.
Disaster. The show is a disaster.
Unmitigated disaster. The death knell.
Iím ruined. Iím dead. Iím finished.
Maybe weíre overstating
Bealeís clout with the public.
An hour ago McElheny called me from
New York. It was ten o"clock in the East.
Our people in the White House report they
were already knee-deep in telegrams.
By tomorrow morning,
theyíll be suffocating in telegrams.
Can the government stop the deal?
They can hold it up. The SEC could hold
this deal up for years if they wanted to.
Iím finished. Any second
that phoneís gonna ring
and Clarence McElheny is gonna tell me
Jensen wants me in his office tomorrow
so he can personally chop my head off.
Four hours ago, I was the sun-god at CCA.
Mr Jensenís hand-picked golden boy.
The heir apparent.
Now... Iím a man without a corporation.
Letís get back to Howard Beale.
Youíre not seriously gonna
pull Beale off the air?
Mr Jensenís unhappy with Howard Beale
and wants him discontinued.
But he isnít stupid enough to withdraw
the number-one show out of pique.
Two billion dollars isnít pique!
Itís the wrath of God.
The wrath of God wants Beale fired!
Why? Every other network will grab him.
Heíll be back on air for ABC tomorrow.
- Weíll lose points...
- Iíll impale him.
- Roughly a -million loss...
- Iíll take out a contract on him.
- Donít discount federal action...
- Iíll hire pros.
No, Iíll do it.
- Iíll strangle him.
- Itís a violation of network autonomy...
- I donít think Jensen will fire anybody.
Iíve already booked my flight.
Can you give me a little more time?
Iíve got the redeye flight. I wonít be back
in New York until six tomorrow morning.
Thatíll be just fine. Iíll see you then.
Mr Jensen wants to meet
Howard Beale personally.
He wants Mr Beale in his office
at ten o"clock tomorrow morning.
The final revelation is at hand.
I have seen the shattering fulgurations
of ultimate clarity.
The light is impending.
I bear witness to the light.
Good morning, Mr Beale.
They tell me youíre a madman.
- Only desultorily.
- How are you now?
Iím as mad as a hatter.
Who isn"t? Iím going to take you
into our conference room.
It seems more seemly a setting
for what I have to say to you.
I started as a salesman, Mr Beale.
I sold sewing machines
and automobile parts,
hair brushes and electronic equipment.
They say I can sell anything.
Iíd like to try to sell something to you.
Valhalla, Mr Beale. Please, sit down.
You have meddled with the primal forces
of nature, Mr Beale,
and I wonít have it. Is that clear?
You think youíve merely stopped
a business deal. That is not the case.
The Arabs have taken billions out of this
country and now they must put it back.
It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity.
It is ecological balance.
You are an old man who thinks
in terms of nations and peoples.
There are no nations.
There are no peoples.
There are no Russians.
There are no Arabs.
There are no Third Worids.
There is no West.
There is only one holistic system
One vast and immane,
dominion of dollars.
Petrol dollars, electro dollars,
Reichsmarks, rins, roubles,
pounds and shekels.
It is the international system of currency
which determines the totality
of life on this planet.
That is the natural order of things today.
That is the atomic...
and galactic structure of things today.
And you have meddled with
the primal forces of nature.
And you will atone.
Am I getting through to you, Mr Beale?
You get up on your little -inch screen...
and howl about America and democracy.
There is no America.
There is no democracy.
There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T...
and DuPont, Dow,
Uniůn Carbide and Exxon.
Those are the nations of the worid today.
What do you think the Russians talk about
in their councils of state? Karl Marx?
They get out linear programming charts,
statistical decisiůn theories,
and compute price-cost probabilities of
their transactions and investments like us.
We no longer live in a worid
of nations and ideologies, Mr Beale.
The worid is a college of corporations...
inexorably determined by
the immutable bylaws of business.
The worid is a business, Mr Beale.
It has been since man
crawled out of the slime.
And our children will live, Mr Beale,
to see that... perfect worid...
in which thereís no war or famine,
oppressiůn or brutality.
One vast and ecumenical
for whom all men will work
to serve a common profit.
In which all men will hold
a share of stock,
all necessities provided,
all anxieties tranquillised,
all boredom amused.
And I have chosen you, Mr Beale,
to preach this evangel.
Because youíre on televisiůn, dummy.
million people watch you every night
of the week, Monday through Friday.
I have seen the face of God.
You just might be right, Mr Beale.
That evening Beale went on airto preach Jensen's corporate cosmology.
Last night I got up here and asked you
to stand up and fight for your heritage,
and you did, and it was beautiful.
Six million telegrams
were sent to the White House.
The Arab takeover of CCA
has been stopped.
The people spoke, the people won.
It was a radiant eruption of democracy.
But I think that was it, fellas.
That sort of thing is not
likely to happen again,
because at the bottom
of all our terrified souls
we know that democracy is a dying giant,
a sick, sick, dying, decayed political
concept writhing in its final pain.
I donít mean that the United States
is finished as a worid power.
It is the richest, most powerful,
most advanced country in the worid.
I donít mean the communists are gonna
take over. Theyíre deader than we are.
What is finished is the idea
that this great country is dedicated
to the freedom and flourishing
of every individual in it.
Itís the individual thatís finished.
Itís the single, solitary
human being thatís finished.
Itís every single one of you
out there thatís finished.
Because this is no longer a nation
of independent individuals.
Itís a nation of some -odd million
whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies,
totally unnecessary as human beings
and as replaceable as piston rods.
Well, the time has come to say
is dehumanisation such a bad word?
Whether itís good or bad,
thatís what is so.
The whole worid is becoming humanoid -
creatures that look human but aren"t.
The whole worid. Weíre the most
advanced country so weíll get there first.
The whole woridís people
are becoming mass-produced,
programmed, numbered and...
It was a perfectly admissibleargument that Beale advanced.It was, however,also a very depressing one.Nobody particularly cared to hearhis life was utterly valueless.By the end of the first week in June theshow had dropped a point in the ratingsand its trend of shares dipped under for the first time since last November.
Youíre his agent! Iím counting on you
to talk some sense into the lunatic.
Nobody wants to hear about
dying democracy and dehumanisation.
- Sorry Iím late.
- Weíve got rumbles from the agencies.
Another couple of weeks of this,
the sponsors will bail out.
This is a breach of contract.
This isnít the Beale we signed.
Get him off this corporate-universe kick
or so help me, Iíll pull him off the air.
I told him, Lew. Iíve been
telling him every day for a week.
I am sick of telling him.
Now you tell him!
You could help me out with Howard
if you wanted to. He listens to you.
Iím tired of all this hysteria
about Howard Beale.
Every time you see your family you come
back in a morbid middle-aged mood.
Iím tired of finding you on the phone
every time I turn around.
Iím tired of being
an accessory in your life.
Iím tired of pretending to write this book
about my maverick days in
the great early years of televisiůn.
Every goddamned executive fired
from a network in the last years
has written this dumb book about
the great early years of televisiůn.
And nobody wants a dumb, damn book
about the early days of televisiůn.
Terrific, Max. Maybe you can start
a whole new career as an actor.
Itís the truth.
After living with you for six months
Iím turning into one of your scripts.
Well, this is not a script, Diana.
Thereís some real,
actual life going on here.
I went to visit my wife today
because sheís in a state of depressiůn.
So depressed that my daughter flew
from Seattle to be with her.
And I feel lousy about that.
I feel lousy about the pain
that Iíve caused my wife and my kids.
I feel guilty and conscious-stricken and all
of those things that you think sentimental
but which my generation
calls simple human decency.
And I miss my home,
because Iím beginning
to get scared shitless.
All of a sudden itís closer to the end
than to the beginning,
and death is suddenly a perceptible
thing to me, with definable features.
Youíre dealing with a man
that has primal doubts, Diana,
and youíve got to cope with it.
Iím not some guy discussing male
menopause on the Barbara Walters show.
Iím the man that you presumably love.
Iím part of your life.
I live here. Iím real.
You canít switch to another station.
what exactly is it you want me to do?
I just want you to love me.
I just want you to love me,
primal doubts and all.
You understand that, donít you?
I donít know how to do that.
Iíll be with you in a minute, Max.
By July "The Howard BealeShow" was down points.Hysteria swept through the network.
Heís a plague. Heís smallpox. Heís
typhoid. I donít wanna follow his show.
Iíve enough troubles
without Beale as a lead-in.
You put me against
Tony Orlando and Dawn.
NBCís got Little House on the Prairie.
ABCís got that Bionic Woman.
You gotta do something
about Howard Beale.
Get him off the air. Get him off.
Do something! Do anything!
Weíre trying to find a replacement.
Iím going to look at audition footage now.
And I opened the Sixth Sealand, man, I tell you, I saw it.It was heavy, baby.I saw the earth quake,and I saw the moon became like blood,and every mountain and islandwas moved from its place.
No, no, dammit. If we wanted
hellfire, Weíd get Billy Graham.
We donít want faith healers,
evangelists or Passiůn players.
What about that terrific new messiah
ABC was supposed to have signed up?
Jesus. Turn him off!
Iíve got three more, but you"ve
already seen the best ones.
Iíve got a guru from Spokane
and two more hellfires who see
visions of the Virgin Mary.
We wonít find a replacement.
Letís stop kidding ourselves.
donít come in bunches.
We either go with Howard Beale
or we go without him.
My reports say weíll do
better without him.
It would be a disaster
to let this go on another week.
By then heíll be down points and
the trend irreversible, if it isnít already.
I think we should fire Howard.
Arthur Jensen has taken
a strong personal interest
in the Howard Beale show.
Weíre having dinner tonight. Iíll have
another crack at him. Letís meet at pm.
Diana, give me copies
of all your audience research.
I may need them for Jensen.
Is ten o"clock convenient for everyone?
I think the timeís come
to re-evaluate our relationship, Max.
So I see.
I donít like the way
this script of ours is turning out.
Itís turning into a seedy little drama.
Middle-aged man leaves wife and family
for young heartless woman, goes to pot.
The Blue Ńngel with Marlene Dietrich
and Emil Jannings.
- I donít like it.
- So youíre gonna cancel the show.
- Here, let me do that.
The simple fact is, Max,
that youíre a family man.
You like a home and kids. But I am
incapable of any such commitment.
All youíll get from me is intermittent sex
and recriminate and ugly little scenes
like the one we had last night.
Iím sorry for all those things
I said to you last night.
Youíre not the worst fuck Iíve ever had.
Believe me, Iíve had worse.
you donít puff and snorkel
and make deathlike rattles.
As a matter of fact,
youíre rather serene in the sack.
Why is it that a woman always thinks the
most savage thing she can say to a man
is to impugn his cocksmanship?
Well, Iím sorry I impugned
I gave up comparing genitals
back in the school yard.
Youíre being docile as hell about this.
Aw, hell, Diana, I knew
it was over with us weeks ago.
Will you go back to your wife?
Iíll give it a try but I donít think sheíll
jump at it. But donít worry about me.
Iíll manage. I always have. I always will.
Iím more concerned about you.
Youíre not the boozer type.
So I figure a year, maybe two,
before you crack up
or jump out of
your th-floor office window.
Stop selling, Max. I donít need you.
I donít want your pain. I donít want
your menopausal decay and death.
- I donít need you. Now get out of here.
- You need me.
You need me badly, because Iím
your last contact with human reality.
I love you!
And that painful, decaying love
is the only thing
between you and the shrieking
nothingness you live the rest of the day.
Then donít leave me.
Itís too late, Diana.
Thereís nothing left in you
that I can live with.
Youíre one of Howardís humanoids.
If I stay with you, Iíll be destroyed.
Like Howard Beale was destroyed.
Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed.
Like everything you and the institution
of televisiůn touch is destroyed.
Youíre televisiůn incarnate, Diana.
Indifferent to suffering,
insensitive to joy.
All of life is reduced
to the common rubble of banality.
War, murder, death -
all the same to you as bottles of beer.
And the daily business of life
is a corrupt comedy.
You even shatter the sensations
of time and space
into split seconds and instant replays.
Youíre madness, Diana.
And everything you touch dies with you.
But not me.
Not as long as I can feel pleasure...
And itís a happy ending.
Wayward husband comes to his senses,
returns to his wife, with whom heís
established a long and sustaining love.
Heartless young woman left alone
in her arctic desolation.
Music up with a swell.
And here are a few scenes
from next weekís show.
How did it go?
Mr Jensen was unhappy at the idea
of taking Howard Beale off the air.
Mr Jensen thinks Howard Beale
is bringing a very important message
to the American people.
So he wants Howard Beale on the air
and he wants him kept on.
Mr Jensen feels weíre too
catastrophic in our thinking.
I argued that televisiůn
was a volatile industry
in which success and failure
were determined week by week.
Mr Jensen said he did not
like volatile industries,
and suggested with
a certain sinister silkiness...
that volatility in business
usually reflected bad management.
He didnít care if it was
the number-one show or the th.
He didnít really care
if the Beale show lost money.
He wants Howard Beale on the air,
and he wants him kept on.
I would describe his position
on this as inflexible.
Where does that put us, Diana?
That puts us in the shithouse,
thatís where that puts us.
- Do you want me to go through this?
The Beale show Q score is down to .
Most of this loss occurred in the child
and teen and - categories,
which were our key core markets.
Itís the AR departmentís judgement,
and mine, that if we get rid of Beale
we should maintain a respectable share
in the high s, possibly
with a comparable Q level.
The other segments of the show -
Sybil, Jim Webbing, the Vox Populi -
have all developed their own audiences.
Our AR report showed that it is Howard
Beale that is the destructive force here.
Minimally, weíre talking about
a ten-point differential in shares.
I think Joe ought to spell
it out for us. Joe?
A share is $ minutes.
I think we can sell
complete positions on the whole.
Weíre getting into the
pre-Christmas gift sellers.
The agencies are coming back
to me with $ CPMs.
If thatís any indication, weíre talking
$ - million loss in annual revenues.
- Wanna hear the flak from the affiliates?
- We know all about it.
And you would describe Mr Jensenís
position on Beale as inflexible?
Intractable and adamantine.
So what do we do about
this Beale son of a bitch?
I suppose weíll have to kill him.
I donít suppose you have
any ideas on that, Diana?
what would you fellas say
to an assassination?
I think I can get the Mao Tse-tung people
to kill Beale for us as one of their shows.
In fact, it'll make a hellof a kick-off show for the season.We're facing heavy oppositionon the other networksand "The Mao Tse-tung Hour"could use a sensational opener.It could be done right on camera,in the studio.We ought to geta fantastic look-in audiencewith the assassination of Howard Bealeas our opening show. Well, if Beale dies,what would our continuing obligationto the Beale Corporation be?
I know our contract with Beale
contains a buyout clause
triggered by his death or incapacity.
There must be a formula for computation
of the purchase price.
Offhand, I think it was based
on a multiple of earnings
with the base period in .
I think it was % of salary
plus % of the first yearís profit
multiplied by the unexpired portion
of the contract.
I donít think the show has any substantial
syndication value, would you say?
Syndication profits are minimal.
Weíre talking about a capital crime here.
The network can't be implicated.
I hope you donít have any hidden
tape machines in this office, Frank.
The issue is shall
we kill Howard Beale or not?
Iíd like to hear some
more opinions on that.
I donít see we have any option.
Letís kill the son of a bitch.
Ladies and gentlemen, letís hear it.
How do you feel?
Weíre mad as hell and weíre not
gonna take this any more!
The network news hour,
with Sybil the Soothsayer.
Jim Webbing and his
Miss Mata Hari and
her skeletons in the closet.
Tonight, another segment of Vox Populi.
And starring the mad prophet
of the airwaves, Howard Beale!
The network news anchormanon the UBS network news show,known to millions as the mad prophetof the airwaves, was shot to death tonightin a fusillade of automatic rifle fire justas he began this evening's broadcast.We never compromise, so whyshould you? Canada Dry mixers.... identified themselvesas the group responsible.The Great Ahmed Khan, a massive man,carrying an automatic weapon...Some cereal. It's supposedto be good for you.- Did you try it?- I'm not gonna try it. You try it.Other countries gottheir arms open wide...- Yeah.- He won't eat it. He hates everything.The extraordinary incident occurredin full view of his millions of viewers.The assassins were in a terrorist groupcalled the Ecumenical Liberation Army,two of whom were apprehended.The leader of the group, knownas the Great Ahmed Khan, escaped. This was the storyof Howard Beale,the first known instance of a man whowas killed because he had lousy ratings.