Dee Dee Myers talks about helping Aaron Sorkin with the 'West Wing'
February 8th, 2011
08:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Dee Dee Myers talks about helping Aaron Sorkin with the 'West Wing'

Washington (CNN) - As the first female White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers will go into the history books, but she'll also be remembered for inspiring the creation of a female character on the popular TV series, "The West Wing." That character's name was C.J. Cregg, a press secretary for the fictional Bartlett administration during the series' run from 1999 to 2006.

Myers, Bill Clinton's press secretary for his first two years in office, talked about the show and the character of C.J. – portrayed by Allison Janney - on Monday during a roundtable discussion with previous White House press secretaries at George Washington University.

It was the legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin who approached Myers about a new show he was planning.

"I was in L.A., and he asked if I would read his pilot and consult on his show. I said sure," Myers said, "It was reported somewhere, and all my friends started calling me saying 'Come on, Hollywood never gets Washington right.'"

After the first episode, Myers' friends maintained their skepticism by critiquing everything from the dialogue to the fast walking pace of the characters in the fictional White House. "Why are people walking so fast in the hallways?" Myers recalled them asking. "I think we did have people (in the show) walking fast in the halls," she added. "Not because it actually happens in the West Wing. It was a way to depict the constant motion of events."

Once the show became a critical success and ratings winner, those very skeptics were soon calling Myers and suggesting plot lines. Myers said that while the realistic and relatable main characters were a big reason for the show's success, the real White House is far more complicated.

"One thing I think is least realistic is that there were five people that made decisions in the fictional 'West Wing,'" said Myers. "In real life, there are about five million people that weigh in."

Myers was also joined by former White House press secretaries Mike McCurry, her successor in the Clinton White House, and Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino from George W. Bush's administration at Monday's event.

Filed under: White House
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    That was a great show!

    It's what got me through the Cheney/Bush years!

    February 8, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. sara

    I am glad to see a female in this position

    February 8, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |