The White House press briefing took a Hollywood turn on Friday.
Allison Janney, the actress who played White House press secretary C.J. Cregg on TV series “The West Wing,” surprised reporters by taking the podium instead of real-life press secretary Josh Earnest.
Janney was at the White House to call attention to the opioid epidemic. She attended an event honoring educators and addiction recovery specialists.
The actress made some crowd-pleasing references to “The West Wing.” She joked that, because it is Friday, “I will be performing 'The Jackal' in my office” at 5:30 p.m.
Janney's appearance at the briefing was fitting ahead of Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, which attracts a long list of celebrity guests.
Earnest had teased some sort of surprise at the briefing. He cryptically tweeted Friday morning that today's session "is going to be fun."
The spokesman entered the briefing room and feigned shock that Janney had taken his place.
“Allison, what are you doing here?” Earnest said. “This isn’t your show anymore!”
Veteran CBS Radio White House reporter Mark Knoller didn’t let Janney go before asking a question.
“Who is President Bartlett supporting in the Democratic presidential primary?” he asked, referring to the fictional president portrayed by Martin Sheen.
“I think you know the answer to that question,” Janney replied.