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The West Wing

The West Wing was an NBC network serial drama series created by Aaron Sorkin that first premiered on September 22, 1999 and received acclaim from critics, as well as praise from political science professors and former White House staffers.

The show ended on May 14, 2006 after 7 seasons and 156 episodes.


The series is set in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office and offices of presidential senior staff are located, during the fictional Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen).


Main Cast

  • Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn (seasons 1-4)
  • Moira Kelly as Mandy Hampton (season 1)
  • Dule Hill as Charlie Young (seasons 1-7)
  • Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg (seasons 1-7)
  • Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler (seasons 1-7)
  • John Spencer as Leo McGarry (seasons 1-7)
  • Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman (seasons 1-7)
  • Martin Sheen as Josiah "Jed" Bartlet (season 1-7)
  • Janel Moloney as Donna Moss (recurring season 1; main cast seasons 2-7)
  • Stockard Channing as Abbey Bartlet (recurring seasons 1-2; main cast seasons 3-7)
  • Joshua Malina as Will Bailey (seasons 4-7)
  • Mary McCormick as Kate Harper (recurring season 5; main cast seasons 6-7)
  • Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos (seasons 6-7)
  • Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick (seasons 6-7)
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott (recurring season 6; main cast season 7)


Season Timeslot Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1 Wednesday 9:00 pm September 22, 1999 May 17, 2000 1999–2000 #27 9.1
2 October 4, 2000 May 16, 2001 2000–01 #13 17.0
3 October 3, 2001 May 22, 2002 2001–02 #10 17.2
4 September 25, 2002 May 14, 2003 2002–03 #22 13.5
5 September 24, 2003 May 19, 2004 2003–04 #29 11.8
6 October 20, 2004 April 6, 2005 2004–05 #35 11.1
7 Sunday 8:00 pm September 25, 2005 May 14, 2006 2005–06 #65 8.1


"The West Wing" has won three Golden Globe Awards and 26 Emmy Awards, including the award for "Outstanding Drama Series" (which it won four consecutive times from 2000 through 2003).

During the show's first season, it garnered nine Emmys (a record for most won by a series in its first season). In addition, the series received the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Drama Series" in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, tying "Hill Street Blues", "L.A. Law" and "Mad Men" for most won in this category.

Each of its seven seasons earned a nomination for the award. With its 26 total awards, "The West Wing" ties with "Hill Street Blues" as the drama series with the most Emmy wins. Until "Game of Thrones" broke the record for most wins in 2016, with 35 total awards.

The series shares the Emmy Award record for most acting nominations by regular cast members (excluding the guest performer category) for a single series in one year. (Both "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law" also hold that record).

For the 2001–2002 season, nine cast members were nominated for Emmys. Allison Janney, John Spencer and Stockard Channing each won an Emmy (for "Lead Actress", "Supporting Actor" and "Supporting Actress" respectively).

The others nominated were Martin Sheen (for "Lead Actor"), Richard Schiff, Dule Hill and Bradley Whitford (for "Supporting Actor") & Janel Moloney and Mary-Louise Parker (for "Supporting Actress").

In addition (during that same year), Mark Harmon, Tim Matheson and Ron Silver were each nominated in the Guest Actor category (although none won the award) which gave the series an Emmy Award record for most acting nominations overall (including guest performer category) in a single year, with 12 acting nominations.

Twenty individual Emmys were awarded to writers, actors, and crew members.

Allison Janney is the record holder for most wins by a cast member with a total of four Emmys. The West Wing won at least one Emmy in each of its seasons except the sixth.

In addition to its Emmys, "The West Wing" won two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards in 2000 and 2001 for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series."

Martin Sheen was the only cast member to win a Golden Globe Award and he & Allison Janney were the only cast members to win SAG Awards.

In both 1999 and 2000, the show was awarded the Peabody Award for "Excellence in Broadcasting."