Sometime in either late 2005 or early 2006, I really don’t remember, I got a call from Joel Surnow who was the co-creator and executive producer of 24. Warren Littlefield introduced me to Joel after we (at FBC) had picked up 24 to series. Joel and I developed a warm and trusting relationship. As I mentioned in my post on 24, when I came up with the idea of moving the show to January and running it non-stop I called Joel and pitched him the idea. I told him I would not discuss it with my bosses unless he was on board. He gave me his blessing and the rest is history.
The reason for Joel’s call that day was to express his frustration with my fellow FOX executives. John McCain was coming to the set which was in the Woodland Hills/Northridge area of the San Fernando Valley. Joel had invited executives from both the studio and the network to come and meet the Senator on the CTU set. They had all turned Joel down so he asked if I would come out to the set as a representative of the network.
Although Joel was, and probably still is, on the extreme end of the right-wing political spectrum he and I could put those things aside. McCain was about to run for the Republican nomination for President. I would never support him nor did I agree with his positions on most things but I did feel that, out of respect for Joel, Howard Gordon et al it would be good to have a network presence so I went.
Senator McCain did a cameo on the episode that was shooting and then he came into the offices and met with several of us. We had a pretty wide ranging discussion and he never made us feel that we were in the presence of the potential future President of the United States. He was just a dude, talking like a dude.
The discussion did come around to Hillary Clinton who at the time was seen as the probable Democratic candidate and I will keep that conversation to myself.
I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet John McCain who, other than unleashing Sarah Palin on the world, ran a Presidential campaign against the first bi-racial candidate for President that was civil and respectful to the moment in history. I don’t think the current occupant of the White House would have been that respectful of the rules of civility in a Presidential campaign.
I hope Senator McCain is at peace and I thank him for standing up for Americans in the ongoing health care battle.
Positive thoughts to his family.