We didn't have to wait long.
Late Friday, NBC announced that Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the high-rated, Emmy-winning White House drama, has hammered out a script for an episode "dealing with some of the questions and issues currently facing the world in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States."
The episode, titled "Isaac and Ishmael," will preempt the season premiere and will be broadcast on October 3.
"Aaron is a brilliant writer who has something he wants to say. We have great faith in his abilities to interpret last week's events in a manner that will make this an important hour of television," said Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment.
NBC wouldn't give up any details on the top-secret plot. (We can almost guarantee it will involve President Josiah Bartlet and his staffers doing some serious soul-searching.)
The network would only say that Sorkin wrote the script in a span of a few days and delivered it on Thursday. Production has begun and will be fast-tracked in time to meet the October 3 air date--a virtually unheard-of turnaround time for a TV drama. (Most hourlong shows are shot months ahead of broadcast.)
For those of you holding your breath waiting to see if President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) will run for reelection, keep holding. Last season's cliffhanger--with Bartlet on the verge of announcing whether he will or will not seek a second term--won't be resolved until October 10 because of the new episode.
To keep viewers from being confused about the break in continuity, "Isaac and Ishmael" will begin with cast members giving a "special introduction" explaining that the show is a stand-alone episode, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The new season of The West Wing was supposed to begin next in its regular Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT slot, but Sorkin asked NBC to postpone the season premiere in the wake of the tragedies. A rerun of the "In Excelsis Deo" episode will be broadcast next week.