Harriet works on her movie while Matt suffers from writer's block, but it's the sexual-harassment lawyer (Kari Matchett) who is the real distraction. Meanwhile, Jordan and Danny compete to see who would be a better parent.
Part 1 of 3. As the staffers return from their vacation to begin work on the new year's first show, Danny goes full throttle in his pursuit of Jordan. Meanwhile, Matt competes online for a date with Harriet.
Jordan meets with Danny and Matt to discuss possible layoffs, which, she explains, could be avoided if Danny agrees to the use of product placement on the show; Simon and Tom weigh in with their opinions as Harriet considers posing in lingerie for a magazine spread; and it's discovered that Ricky and Ron (Evan Handler, Carlos Jacott) are secretly writing a pilot script. Lucy: Lucy Davis. Jeannie: Ayda Field. Darius: Columbus Short.
Conclusion. The show must go on, even with members of the “Studio 60” team in Nevada awaiting Tom's arraignment hearing just a few hours before taping; Matt orders a nervous Dylan (Nate Torrence) to fill Simon's chair for the News 60 sketch; Harriet and Jordan each suffer repercussions from bad press. Robert Bebe: John Goodman. Wilson White: Ed Asner. Lucy: Lucy Davis. Darius: Columbus Short.
Part 1 of 2. Members of the show's staff travel to Nevada to get Tom freed from jail in time for the Friday-night taping, but a judge (John Goodman) who doesn't particularly care for “Studio 60” complicates their mission.
During a wrap party: A tipsy Jordan makes friends with the cast; Danny enlists the help of three sexy women to take Matt's mind off Harriet; Tom spends time with his parents, who are visiting from Ohio; Cal befriends an elderly stranger (Eli Wallach) wandering around backstage; and Simon tries to get a black writer hired.
The “Studio 60” cast and crew rehearse with host Lauren Graham and musical guest Sting; Matt and Harriet get questioned about their personal history by a reporter (Christine Lahti); and Jordan receives a pitch for a potential hit reality TV series but deems it too tasteless.
After a live taping, the “Studio 60” team become aware that they unwittingly plagiarized another comedian's material---an act they scramble to acknowledge during their West Coast broadcast. Leading up to this, Jordan attempts to shift the spotlight off herself by having writer Martha O'Dell (Christine Lahti) on the set for a Vanity Fair cover story about the show's regime change. Meanwhile, Harriet's attempt at closure with Matt stirs up more unresolved feelings between the two.
“Studio 60” is reviewed by a focus group, and the results are less than reassuring for some of the cast and crew, most notably Matt, who finds his patriotism (or lack thereof) questioned. Meanwhile, the past comes back to haunt Jordan in the form of an 8-year-old DUI charge. Jeannie: Ayda Field. Alex: Simon Helberg. Shelly: Wendy Phillips. Rob Reiner appears as himself.
Matt and Danny are under a tremendous amount of pressure, with only five days to put together their first show. Making matters even more stressful are increased tensions between Matt and his ex-girlfriend Harriet, whom he still feels strongly about. Also, Jordan finds herself battling a religious group (and her bosses) over a controversial sketch...before it has even aired.
“Studio 60” showrunner Wes Mendell (Judd Hirsch) has a very public meltdown, and newly appointed network president Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) scrambles for damage control by offering Wes's old job to the brilliant creative team of Matt Albie and Danny Tripp (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford). Harriet Hayes: Sarah Paulson. Simon Stiles: D.L. Hughley. Tom Jeter: Nathan Corddry. Jack Rudolph: Steven Weber. Cal Shanley: Timothy Busfield. Felicity Huffman appears as herself.