In real life, White House staffers serve at the pleasure of the president. But on The West Wing, cabinet members and coffee makers alike serve at the pleasure of a far more fickle world power: the NBC drama's opinionated audience. So, while the soaring post-mortem popularity of President Bartlett's no-nonsense receptionist, Mrs. Landingham, may enable actress Kathryn Joosten to continue to haunt the Oval Office, the prez still is going to need a warm body to field his calls. The question is: Who?
"I don't know yet, but somebody will," series creator Aaron Sorkin promises TV Guide Online. "I just haven't thought of who the character is, so obviously I haven't thought of who the actor or actress is."
For her part, the politically correct Joosten has some very specific ideas about what type of person should sit behind the desk of the dearly departed. "I told the powers that be that I thought that it should be a middle-aged, ethnic woman," she relates. "There are too few roles for middle-aged and ethnic women to begin with.
"It couldn't be a 22-year-old in an executive-secretary position, anyway," she adds. "That just wouldn't happen."
Since whoever is ultimately drafted for the job will have their work cut out for them, prior experience as a television secretary is virtually a must. And, as TV Guide Online knows that ol' Jed is darn busy this summer — what with debating whether to run for reelection and all — we've compiled for him a list of likely candidates. What, did you think we'd let him resort to soliciting referrals from Murphy Brown?