NEW YORK – A freelance TV producer who plagiarized passages from "The West Wing" has been let go by NBC Universal Sports, the network said Thursday.
A short feature broadcast on NBC before the Kentucky Derby on Saturday praised a horse trainer who led three children to safety after a plane crash. The script said that trainer Michael Matz "ran into the fire to save the lives of three children." The narrator paused dramatically and said, "ran into the fire."
The pause and last line echoed one delivered by Martin Sheen, who plays the president on "The West Wing," in a scene about fire survivors in the opening episode of the NBC series' fourth season. The script was written by series creator Aaron Sorkin.
That similarity, and one other quotation that was directly lifted, were discovered by a reader who sent an e-mail to The New York Times, the newspaper reported Thursday.
"A young freelance producer wrote the copy, which regrettably made it on our air. The producer will not be working with us again," NBC Sports spokeswoman Alana Russo told The AP.
The network would not provide the name of the producer.