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Thursday’s Presidential Debate Is Off, And A One-Time-Only “West Wing” Reunion Is On

Fictional political drama > Real political drama

Photo courtesy of iStock.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has canceled the town-hall debate scheduled for October 15 because President Trump refuses to participate in a virtual format—but you can still get your dose of political theatrics on TV this Thursday during a reunion performance of, yes, The West Wing. The best part? This presidential drama is completely fictional.

Streaming on HBO Max, the staging of season 3’s episode “Hartsfield’s Landing” will feature original cast members Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, and Martin Sheen. This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown is stepping into the role of chief of staff Leo McGarry, originally played by the late John Spencer.

The special episode is airing to raise awareness for When We All Vote, a GOTV effort co-chaired by Michelle Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (The former First Lady and Hamilton playwright will actually make appearances during show breaks, along with President Bill Clinton.)

West Wing last aired in 2006….a simpler time in America, when Joe Biden was merely gearing up for his second attempt at the Democratic nomination for president, and Donald Trump was shouting “You’re fired!” on the sixth season of The Apprentice.

Trigger warning for the episode’s trailer: You may tear up at the music alone.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.