New York journalist, Alice Allenby, is offered a job in Los Angeles, by Jackson Burns, owner and head of WNS, a twenty four hour news network affectionately called ""The Beast"" because of it's insatiable appetite for the news. Jackson believes that the viewing public both hate and distrust the media, and by placing cameras throughout the station, (except for the bathrooms), the public can see exactly what is going on behind the scenes. Alice meets it's denizens; Reese McFadden, reporter with an attitude, Ted Fisher, newsman behind the scenes, Tamir Naipal, producer, Maggie Steech, floor manager, Sonya Topple, reporter, Ryan Brown, cameraman, Mrs. Sweeny, Jackson's assistant, and Harry, a mysterious and unseen figure who monitors the cameras within the Beast with an objective eye and sends the feeds out over the Internet. One of the stories followed closely at WNS is the hunt for terrorist bomber, Bobby James. Although she's unsure if she wants to work there, Alice agrees to an assignme
Alice discovers election fraud on both sides of a close Senatorial race. Tamir goes looking for Bobby James' past. Jackson weathers his birthday wth the help of Mrs. Sweeny and Sonya.
Reese receives a packet of cash in the mail that was meant for the former resident of his apartment. In tracking down the source of the money, as well as the man for whom it was intended, he discovers the answer to a question that has been haunting his best friend's widow since the night his friend was killed. When Robert, Mrs. Sweeny's new intern, turns out to be more complicated than meets the eye, Jackson defuses the resulting situation, saving the day for everyone involved. In the process, he reminds himself that life can still provide stimulating experiences, even though he's now closer to the end of it than he is to the beginning.
Alice learns from a covert source that a small European country (Travinia) is secretly stockpiling chemical weapons. Knowing that Travinia has a defense pact with Russia and is due for an international weapons inspection in two weeks, Alice convinces Jackson to allow her to go to Travinia to investigate the story for herself (using the guise of doing a story on an orphanage). As Tamir has had prior experience in Europe, Jackson sends him with her. Since no unsupervised filming will be allowed, Ryan gives Tamir several ""routine"" items - each containing a component that will make a small, battery operated camera, when assembled - so that Alice and Tamir can document any evidence they find on film. When he learns that he has incurable bone cancer, Reese's journalist father, Walter, comes to WNS to see his estranged son. In Travinia, Alice and Tamir meet their contact, a hotel worker, and in spite of having been told by a government official upon their arrival to stay within the confines
Alice and Tamir are being held captive by the Travinian Resistance Movement, who are looking for the tape Tamir made of the dying man and the mass grave he dug for the poisoned workers. Their contact, Anders, is also a prisoner, and the captors torture him in front of Alice and Tamir in order to find out where the film is hidden, but Tamir, the only one who knows where it is, will not divulge the information. Anders is later killed in front of Alice and Tamir. The Travinian Resistance Movement goes on television and demands a ransom of 6 million dollars for the release of Alice and Tamir, due in three days. Unable to get help from the State Department, Jackson meets with the WNS insurance company representative, who advises Jackson that since the Movement does not exist, the Travinian government is most likely behind the kidnaping, and that challenging the President of Travinia to an on-air encounter would put him in a spotlight he wishes to avoid. On air, Jackson asks the Travin
As Alice struggles to keep her attention on being an anchor, rather than a reporter, the new intern, Robert, struggles with demons of his own. Meanwhile, in jail, Reese McFadden and Tamir Naipal meet Brandon Romer, a former child star who fell into a world of addiction when his career ended. With the help of a microphone, smuggled in with Reese's medication, and a cameraman stationed outside of the window of Reese's and Tamir's jail cell, the story of their incarceration ends up being broadcast, live, by WNS. Jackson discusses the situation with the station's attorney, who is not very happy with the bootleg broadcast. Mrs. Sweeny interviews the new intern, Robert Tibideau, and takes a shine to him. Jackson pressures Sonya about the impending promotion of a piece on which she is working, ""The Ray Family ... A Startling Look At America's Forgotten Underclass."" He fears that the most startling thing about the Ray family will be if the viewers are able to stay awake when the production