Sloan Sabbith is the Senior Financial Reporter for News Night, as well as the host of ACN's financial shows at 2:00 and 4:00. She also fills in for prime-time anchors on occasion.
Sloan holds two PhDs (at least of one of which is presumably in economics and from Duke University, We don't care about the other one), and attended the University of California, Berkeley and received her doctorate from Duke University. Her father is an economist as well, and she says she has been studying economics for at least 15 years. She is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University and has been shown to attend economics conferences and seminars, presumably as a way to stay in touch with current developments in economics research.
At some point prior to MacKenzie McHale's arrival at ACN, Sloan was engaged to an unnamed man who cheated on her on their wedding day; the relationship was obviously ended as she's single at the time of the first season.
Sloan is the host of ACN's afternoon market-watch shows when she is recruited for News Night by Executive Producer MacKenzie "Mac" McHale. She offers Sloan a five minute segment each night to talk about economic issues. Sloan suggests that there are more qualified people that she could recommend but Mac insists that she is the perfect combination of intelligence and good looks, the latter of which will hold viewer attention. Mac also tells Sloan that she would like to be friends because she does not have any in the city. Sloan sympathizes about Mac's break up with anchor Will McAvoy, mistakenly believing that Will cheated on Mac. Sloan herself had an ex-fiance, who cheated on her, and office gossip has led her to believe Mac had a similar situation. Mac tries to correct her but is tongue-tied because Will asked her not to discuss the circumstances with their colleagues. Mac later accidentally sends a private e-mail intended for Sloan clarifying her break-up with Will and the fact that she cheated on him, to the whole staff. ("News Night 2.0")
Sloan is an analyst for a live broadcast in November 2010 on the day of the 112th Congressional elections where the Tea Party win many seats. She has acclimated well to her position as the Senior Financial Reporter for News Night. On election night she realizes that the surge of Tea Party candidates might affect voting on raising the national debt ceiling, a significant economic issue that is often misunderstood. She wins the support of anchor Will McAvoy to press the issue. However they are unable to engage winning candidates in meaningful discussion because of the noisy celebrations of their supporters. Despite this setback she joins the team for a drink. The party includes Will, senior producer Jim Harper, staffers Neal Sampat and Gary Cooper, guest anchor Elliot Hirsch from the 22:00 program and News Division Director Charlie Skinner. Sloan is annoyed when Will refers to the group as "the guys". ("The 112th Congress")
Sloan sets Will McAvoy up on a date with a friend of hers, Carrie. Carrie is a gun carrying, marijuana smoking liberal from the south, and the date ends in an argument where Will points a gun at Carrie to make a point. Back on set, Will informs Sloan that he doesn't plan on seeing Carrie again and she starts to panic. Sloan complains that Carrie is going to call her repeatedly asking why Will isn't calling her back. When Will refuses to go out with Carrie again Sloan warns him to keep a low profile because Carrie is extremely jealous and has a crazy side. Later, when Will shows up in Page 6 with another woman Sloan tells him that Carrie is pissed and wants to shoot him. Will tells Sloan he will use her as a human shield if that happens, as she was the one who introduced them. ("I'll Try to Fix You")
Mac approaches Sloan about getting some tutoring as she has been booked to speak about the economy on a panel and actually knows nothing about the subject. That night Sloan tries to teach Mac some fiscal lessons but Mac is preoccupied with her personal life.
News Night covers civil unrest in Cairo after the Egyptian president refuses to leave his post despite losing the election. Elliot Hirsch travels to Cairo to report from the scene but is forced to remain inside when riots break out. Elliot eventually tries to get footage outside but is attacked and injured. He returns to the US and News Night recruits "Amen" as a stringer to get footage of the riots. Amen performs well but then disappears. The staff discover that he has been taken into custody by the military, who are demanding an extortionate ransom. Will pays for Amen's release. Mac arranges for the staff to each give Will a cheque to contribute, mimicking a scene from one of Will's favorite films, Rudy. ("Amen")
Sloan is given the opportunity to stand in for Elliot Hirsch on the 22:00 show and cover the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. In Sloan's pre-interview with the TEPCO spokesman, Daisuke Tanaka, he is frank about the likelihood of the disaster rating increasing, warranting evacuation. However, he spoke to her off the record because they are old friends. Sloan asks Will for advice before going on air and he harshly criticizes her for letting interviewees get away with lying on air. He tells her to ask follow-up questions and not let them off the hook. She was disappointed with Daisuke for sticking to the company line, and more so with his translator, who Sloan felt was misrepresenting her words. Despite warnings from Don Keefer, Sloan announces the information she had obtained off the record live on air. Charlie Skinner is furious with Sloan for crossing reporting boundaries and suspends her with pay. Will feels responsible for provoking her reckless act.
Mac assigns Jim and Maggie a project together. Don notices them working together again and asks Sloan if she thinks he is losing Maggie. Sloan tells him no, but then also admits that she is not good at reading romantic situations.
As Sloan is packing up her office Kendra James finds a report that Tanaka is resigning in shame over the incident. Sloan is concerned for his honor, impressing Will and making him determined to help.
Charlie comes up for a way to Sloan to save the reputation of Tanaka; she has to lie on air and say that she made an error in translating what he said. She is dubious but Will tells her it is the best thing to do and she acquiesces. ("Bullies")
On the night of bin Laden's death, Sloan is coming back from the Correspondents' Dinner with Elliot and Don. At the dinner, she accidentally set Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on fire; when another passenger asks why, she says, "Just to show the other Cabinet secretaries that I could."
She, Elliot, and Don are stuck on the plane for almost the entire episode and work from their Blackberrys. Sloan receives the first confirmation that bin Laden has been killed from a contact at CENTCOM. Sloan tries to assist Don in his desire to get off the plane, and flirts with a younger passenger to use his phone and to switch seats. The attempt to move is thwarted by a flight attendant, with whom Don clashes throughout the course of the night.
Sloan clashes with MacKenzie McHale during the Casey Anthony and Anthony Weiner coverage, because she believes that coverage of the debt-ceiling debate, which is threatening to cripple the economy, should take precedence. She allows Neal Sampat to use her as a hook in his attempt to smoke out Will's internet stalker, though Neal admits that riling up economists is much harder than he anticipated. Although he is eventually able to disrupt the conversation, his attempt to find the stalker is only partially successful.
At the end of the summer, Sloan considers leaving ACN to go work in the private sector. She tells Don Keefer that she's giving up on journalism since she hasn't moved the needle at all on public awareness of issues like the debt ceiling and she can at least make money in the private sector. She also implicitly attributes her crisis of confidence to Will McAvoy's, since Will has said that he is not returning after the "Greater Fool" article was published.
Don thinks that she is just tired, and says he will spend her remaining three days at ACN convincing her not to leave. He also mentions that he's going to ask Maggie Jordan to move in with him, and asks Sloan's advice for how to do it. Since she's only got three days left, Sloan tells Don that he's a good guy, despite someone along the line convincing him he's a bad guy. She says that he's only asking Maggie -- who he likes, but doesn't love -- to move in with him because it's the right thing to do. When he asks her why she is still single, she at first evades his question, but eventually answers, "Because you never asked me out."
Later, after she has decided to stay, she tells him that she's mortified, and they're never going to speak to each other again — "starting now."
Sloan enjoys strong friendships with many other major characters.
Sloan has a strong friendship with Will, who calls her "like a little sister." She appears regularly on his show, and he trusts her to fill in for him when he is called off the Sept. 11 broadcast. She attempts to set Will up on dates, with little success, and he has taken her under his wing as a mentor.
After Will makes a disastrous appearance on ACN in the Morning, Sloan privately calls him out for not trusting the audience or MacKenzie. While not happy to hear what she has to say, Will listens and appears to acknowledge her analysis of him as truth. She then tells him that she loves him, to which he replies, "Thanks, sis."
When hiring her for News Night, MacKenzie asks if they can be friends. Sloan appears slightly uncomfortable with the suggestion but agrees. It is Mac's attempts to set the record straight with Sloan that lead to her sending an email to the whole newsroom explaining that she cheated on Will.
The two soon become close confidantes and often meet after work for drinks at Hang Chew's. Sloan gossips with Mac, whom she nicknames 'Kenzie' (though that nickname disappears in season 2), and Mac asks Sloan for help understanding economics in episode 1x05.
Charlie and Sloan initially have a somewhat contentious relationship, but underlined with respect. After the Fukushima broadcast, Charlie publicly dresses her down, but then works to find a solution that will allow Sloan to continue without suspension. In 2x01, he calls her "Money-skirt," but it appears to be a joking reference. He then tells her that she is doing a "pretty good job;" later, he asks her in confidence how Will is doing.
When an ex-boyfriend leaks photos of Sloan on the Internet, Charlie defends her to Reese, who has said he won't fire her but still needs to know what happened. Later, he squeezes her arm in support, suggesting their relationship has progressed to more of a father-daughter dynamic.
Don and Sloan rarely interact in the first half of the first season. In the latter half of the first season, Don and Sloan are seen to have a supportive friendship. In 1x06, he turns to her for advice on his relationship with Maggie; while she leans on him during the fallout from the Fukushima broadcast. They are trapped together on the plane during 5/01, when they work together to try and get off the plane and also help the New York team report what is going happening. A fellow passenger, Lester, asks if they are dating; Don quickly responds with a "Yes" while Sloan with a "No." Presumably, Don does this because he has a crush on Sloan.
In episode 1x10, Don seeks Sloan out when he hears she's been made an offer at a venture-capital firm. She says she will be leaving soon, to which he responds that he has three days to change her mind. He then asks for advice on moving in with Maggie, and she bluntly cautions against it, before telling him that he's a "good guy who thinks he's a bad guy;" as such, he tries to do the right thing, like move in with a girl that he likes, but doesn't love. When he asks why she is still single, she at first deflects but then says, "Because you never asked me out." He is stunned, but ultimately says he wants to commit to Maggie.
Later in the episode, she decides to stay, which she tells him, but also says they will never speak again.
When season 2 picks up a few weeks later, things are still slightly awkward between them, despite the fact that she is filling in for Elliot and they are working together nightly. They eventually speak in 2x01, and Sloan tries to explain herself, while Don says that he took it as a joke. The next day, though, after seeing the YouTube video of Maggie, he breaks up with Maggie for good.
In the following episodes, the two are seen together occasionally. Sloan, who is taking care of Maggie post-breakup, tells Don she is sorry about the breakup. Sloan goes to Don for advice on how to deal with Zane, her EP. He tells her that while she is right, she should listen to her EP. She then confesses that she might be the one who leaked to Nina Howard that Will was not sick on 9/11. When she explains that she had agreed to go on a date to a wedding with Nina Howard's book agent and then had to back out, Don gets irrationally jealous and informs her that "book agents beat their wives." Later, he defends Sloan to her EP, Zane, saying that "she's got 50 IQ points on either of us." He also backs her up when she goes to tell Will she's the leak (she's not), though he again expresses disgust and jealousy at the book agent.
After an ex-boyfriend leaks private photos of Sloan on the internet, she hides in Don's office as she works through her feelings of humiliation and rage. Don listens and supports her, and she helps him deal with a crazy right-wing British journalists using Don's joke to smear a solicitor general nominee. Don asks her why she dates 'these guys,' and she says you can't identify a bad guy before he does something bad. He thinks she deserves more, and tells her "You're impressive." When she decides to punch her ex-boyfriend as revenge, he accompanies her.
Sloan rebounds from her ex fairly quickly, going on a first date with a Giants player, leading Don to confess to Mac that he wants to ask her out, but is at a loss as to how to do it in a 'spectacular' fashion. During Genoa, both Don and Sloan are members of the Red Team, and both have their reservations regarding the broadcast. Ultimately it goes forth, and Sloan conducts at least one of the on-air interviews of Sgt. Sweeney, the main witness. When the Pentagon immediately responds with a letter saying the allegations are 'absolutely' false, Sloan worries to Don that the language seems unusually strong. He asks her whether this is like the time in eighth grade that she and her friends tried to figure out whether or not a fellow student had a crush on Sloan. Sloan retorts, "Sometimes boys are vague with their messages," which seems to be directed at Don. They are together when Elliot, on air, inadvertently discovers that Sgt. Sweeney has a brain injury. Later that night, the two of them argue publicly about Don's decision to have Elliot cut the interview short.
During the election-night broadcast, Neal inadvertently tells Sloan that a copy of her book (seemingly her grad-school dissertation) has been sold with her signature, which Sloan realizes was a forgery. They discover Gary forged the signature, since Sloan had forgotten to sign a copy for Reese. Since the book sold for $1,000, Sloan tasks Neal with tracking down the purchaser so she can give them a real copy. He discovers that the book was bought by 'Sidney Falco,' an alias based on a character from the movie 'Sweet Smell of Success.' All of the bids, in fact, were forged, meaning that the trail has gone cold.
Later that night, Don and Sloan are breaking down voters by earnings when Jenna interrupts them to go to the studio, since they're about to call the election. As she's putting back her chair, she notices a 'Sweet Smell of Success' poster in Don's office. She puts two and two together, finds another copy of her book, and goes into the control room. She signs a copy in front of Don, kisses him, and then shoves the book on his chest. Mac is less than pleased that this is happening during the election call. Later, they are seen smiling at each other after the broadcast.
Behind the scenes
Sloan is a major character in the first season. She is played by starring cast member Olivia Munn and debuts in the second episode "News Night 2.0", though she was seen on a computer monitor in We Just Decided To. According to Aaron Sorkin, the character was initially conceived as a much smaller role, but he gave Munn increasing screen time because he was impressed with the quality of her work (Paleyfest).
|"We Just Decided To" *||"News Night 2.0"||"The 112th Congress"||"I'll Try to Fix You"||"Amen"|
|"Bullies"||"5/1"||"The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn"||"The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate"||"The Greater Fool"|
|"First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers"||"The Genoa Tip"||"Willie Pete"||"Unintended Consequences"||"News Night with Will McAvoy"|
|"One Step Too Many"||"Red Team III"||"Election Night, Part I"||"Election Night, Part II"|
|"Boston"||"Run"||"Main Justice"||"Contempt"||"Oh Shenandoah"|
|"What Kind of Day Has It Been"|
* - Video Footage only