HBO Max Streaming ‘West Wing’ Presidential Election Special Free to Non-Subs Through End of the Year

With only one week left until Election Day, HBO Max’s get-out-the-vote presidential election special featuring the original cast from “The West Wing” will stream for free to non-subscribers through the end of the year.

The special, “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote,” is available at

For the first time in 17 years, the original cast of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Warner Bros. Television drama series come together with creator Aaron Sorkin and executive producer/director Thomas Schlamme. The special features a theatrical stage presentation of the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode from the show’s third season in 2001. The creative team and cast organized the production in order to raise awareness for and support the mission of When We All Votea nonprofit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama founded to increase participation in every election in America. In honor of the special, WarnerMedia is making make a financial donation to the organization.

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“The West Wing,” which aired from 1999 to 2006 on NBC, offered a glimpse into the inner workings of a fictional White House under President Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen). The show earned more 65 industry awards, including a record-tying 26 Emmy Awards for a drama series.

First Presidential Debate Broadcast, Cable TV Viewership Down From 2016 in Early Ratings

TV viewers apparently tuned out quickly during the first presidential debate Sept. 29, with the four major broadcasters reporting a 35% decline in viewers who watched incumbent President Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden hurl nasty barbs and allegations against the other, according to new data from Nielsen.

First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, 29 million people collectively watched the debate from Cleveland, Ohio, across NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox. Separate reports claimed 27.3 million and 22.8 million, respectively, watched the debate with ABC the winner grabbing 10.3 million viewers. Viewership from pay-TV channels such as MSNBC (6.9 million), CNN (7.9 million) and Fox News — the latter with 17 million — pushed total viewership upwards of 65 million.

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That still trailed the first debate in 2016 between Democrat Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump, where a record 45 million watched on broadcast networks. The tally skyrocketed to 84 million after including cable, satellite and telecom viewers.

WarnerMedia Launches Voter Engagement Platform

Seeking to make voting in the upcoming presidential election as easy as possible for employees and viewers, WarnerMedia Sept. 22 announced the launch of a nonpartisan voter engagement resource center, aimed at providing the tools necessary to take part in the Nov. 3 election. The center provides access to the company’s civic engagement efforts, including voter registration support, programming and key partnerships.

The AT&T unit, which includes Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, is encouraging registered voters to pledge to vote as well as enlist their friends, families and colleagues to do the same. To help make that a reality, WarnerMedia is collaborating with Rock the VoteVoto LatinoWhen We All VoteNAACP Legal Defense FundShe Se Puede and Color of Change.

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The move comes as the politically divided country prepares for the Nov. 3 election day, with allegations of voter suppression efforts in some parts of the country.

“In today’s climate, it is more important than ever to be prepared with a voting plan, make sure you are registered to vote, and know your state’s absentee ballot rules and regulations,” Dennis Williams, SVP of corporate social responsibility at WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

Williams said the media giant is coordinating its online voter engagement hub, programming and collaborations with third party organizations, to encourage all “our fans and employees around the country to engage in the democratic process and ensure their vote is counted.”

WarnerMedia’s brands featuring civic-minded programming and information include “Citizen by CNN,” the network’s civic engagement platform introducing tools that aim to connect users to personalized, local information about candidates, voting and issues. The tool will help users discover local information on where/how to vote, allow them to stay up to date on important changes to voting information, and empower them to get information to feel confident casting their ballot.

WarnerMedia is also helping make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 United States Census. Young children are missed in the census for a multitude of reasons, but confusion about who goes on the form is a major one. Nearly 40% of children under five live in complex households, where they may split time between homes, be cared for by foster parents, grandparents, or other relatives, or their caregivers may be housing-insecure. Uncertainty about who counts on the census questionnaire is only magnified if the child lives in a linguistically isolated household.

“Through a bilingual kit developed on ‘Sesame Street,’ we’re striving to close this gap,” Williams said.

WarnerMedia also has a series of related programming lined up with the goal being to increase participation in the election. A few of the productions include:A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote”; “On The Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries”; “Siempre, Luis”; “Stockton on My Mind”; “John Lewis: Good Trouble”; and “American Utopia.”

“‘When We All Vote’ is on a mission to change the culture around voting, which means we have to reach people where they are,” Crystal Carson, VP of culture, communications and media partnerships for When We All Vote, said in a statement. “That’s why we are proud to collaborate with WarnerMedia to encourage eligible voters to register and make a plan to cast their ballot this election.”

Carolyn Dewitt, executive director of Rock the Vote, said working with WarnerMedia has help empower the media company’s employees and audiences with information and resources needed to make their voices heard in the 2020 election.

“WarnerMedia understands the power of its platform to reach millions of eligible voters and takes that responsibility seriously by creating a culture of civic engagement for all WarnerMedia family,” DeWitt said.