The cast of "The West Wing" reunited recently to film a very funny promo in support of Bridget Mary McCormack, the sister of actress Mary McCormack, who is running for the state Supreme Court of Michigan.
The message of the video, which can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v52FLMOPSig, is to remind Michigan voters that Supreme Court judgeships are non-partisan and that if one votes straight party in that state, they must still vote in the non-partisan races.
Since the ad already has more than 1 million page views, I'm guessing that NBC and the show's producers didn't have a problem having the actors from the show reprise their characters in support of a candidate.
That hasn't always been the case. Several years ago, "Star Trek: Voyager" star Kate Mulgrew shot a commercial on set in her costume, asking voters to support her husband, who was running for a county commission seat in Cleveland, I believe. The show's producers got upset, not because Mulgrew was supporting her husband, but because her commercial implied that the entire "Star Trek" franchise was behind him as well. The producers wanted the show to remain neutral on issues of 21st century politics.
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Generally, I've never cared which celebrity supports what candidate. The only time endorsements matter to me is if a political figure I respect endorses someone, or if someone who is an expert in a particular field (economics, medicine, the military) weighs in.
That's not to say actors and athletes aren't educated on the issues, and if they want to spend their money in support of someone, that's fine. In all likelihood, they're not going to change my mind about it.
In recent months, some behind-the-scenes producers have come out in favor or against specific candidates. Again, I don't really pay attention -- if I cared about who supports whom and based my TV viewing on that, I'd probably never watch any TV.
Personally, I'll be grateful come Wednesday when I won't have to watch any more political ads this year.
USA CANCELLATIONS: USA announced last week that it was pulling the plug on "Fairly Legal," "Common Law" and "Political Animals."
"Legal" wasn't a great show, but I will miss the presence of Sarah Shahi on my TV screen every week. (She's doing a stint on "Chicago Fire," but that's enough to make me tune in.) "Common Law" was fun, but the concept was starting to wear thin. And "Animals" was all over the place and often bordered on the ridiculous.
MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Many of the shows that were yanked last week because of the storms in the northeast are airing those episodes tonight, including CBS' sitcom lineup, followed by "Hawaii Five-0."
"Castle" (ABC, 10 p.m.), following "Dancing With The Stars," sends Castle and Beckett to Comic-Con, in an episode directed by "Star Trek: The Next Generation's" Jonathan Frakes.
NBC has a new "Revolution" at 10 p.m. following "The Voice," while Fox airs "Bones" and "The Mob Doctor" from 8-10 p.m. The CW has "90210" and "Gossip Girl" from 8-10 p.m.