‘West Wing’ reunion episode to boost Michelle Obama’s voter drive

The cast of acclaimed political TV drama ‘The West Wing’ will reunite for a special episode in aid of Michelle Obama’s voter turnout drive. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: The cast of acclaimed political TV drama “The West Wing” will reunite for a special episode in aid of Michelle Obama’s voter turnout drive, HBO Max announced Tuesday.

Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe and Allison Janney will reprise their roles as members of a fictional Democratic administration, in support of the When We All Vote campaign ahead of November’s election.

The special – to air this fall – will be filmed on a Los Angeles theatre stage, and will re-enact the Hartsfield’s Landing episode from season three of the multiple Emmy-winning NBC drama.

It will be the first time the original, surviving cast and creator Aaron Sorkin have reunited in 17 years, a statement from streaming platform HBO Max said.

“We had such a unique and wonderful experience that we don’t want to go back and have a lesser version of it,” Bradley Whitford, who played razor-sharp White House deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman, told NBC’s Today Show.

“This was a way to use us getting back together… to make a statement about getting people out to vote.”

The show ran from 1999-2006, collecting 26 Emmys including four consecutive best drama prizes.

It depicted the inner workings of the White House, focusing on the relationships between staffers against a backdrop of Washington intrigue, domestic elections and geopolitics.

The West Wing developed an almost cult following and gripped audiences around the world, but ended after its seventh season amid declining audiences and the death of co-star John Spencer.

The show’s portrayal of a fiercely intellectual and morally virtuous Democratic president (Sheen) was criticised by some on the political right who dubbed it “The Left Wing.”

The Hartsfield’s Landing episode saw Whitford’s character scheme to win over voters in a remote, fictional New Hampshire town of the same name where ballots are counted immediately and always predict the winner of that state’s primary.

When We All Vote is an outreach group co-chaired by Obama, who was first lady from 2009-2017, actor Tom Hanks and others to increase participation at the polls.