DIANA: Last night Howard Beale went on the air and yelled bulls— for two minutes and we’ve got press coverage you couldn’t buy for a million dollars. Did you see the overnights on the Network News? It has an eight in New York and a nine in LA and 27 share on both cities. I can tell you right now if we put Beale back on tonight the show will get a 30 share at least. I think we’ve totally lucked into something.
Yes, I think we should put Beale back on the air tonight and keep him on. Frank, that dumb show jumped five rating points in one night! We just increased our audience by twenty or thirty million people in one night. You’re not going to get something like this dumped in your lap for the rest of your days and you just can’t p— it away. Howard Beale got up there last night and said what every American feels — that he’s tired of all the bulls—. He’s articulating the popular rage. I want that show, Frank. I can turn that show into the biggest smash on television.
I see Howard Beale as a latter-day prophet, a magnificent messianic figure, inveighing against the hypocrites of our times, a nightly Savonarola, Monday through Friday. I tell you, Frank, that could just go through the roof. And I’m talking about a six-dollar cost per thousand show! Do you want to figure out the revenues of a strip show that sells for a hundred thousand bucks a minute? One show like that could pull this whole network right out of the hole. Now, Frank, it’s being handed to us on a plate. Let’s not blow it.
*For Paddy Chayefsky’s original film version of this monologue, click here.