|Created by||Aaron Sorkin|
|Theme music composer||Thomas Newman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||25 (list of episodes)|
|Production company||HBO Entertainment|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original release||June 24, 2012 –|
December 14, 2014
The Newsroom is an American political drama television series created and principally written by Aaron Sorkin that premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012, and concluded on December 14, 2014, consisting of 25 episodes over three seasons,with 52 to 73 minute long episodes.
The series chronicles behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel. It features an ensemble cast including Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy who, together with his staff, sets out to put on a news show "in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements".Other cast members include Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, and Sam Waterston.
Sorkin, who created the Emmy Award-winning political drama The West Wing , had reportedly been developing a cable-news-centered TV drama since 2009. After months of negotiations, premium cable network HBO ordered a pilot in January 2011 and then a full series in September that year. Sorkin did his research for the series by observing several real-world cable news programs first-hand. He served as executive producer, along with Scott Rudin and Alan Poul.
The 25-episode series is set behind the scenes at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) and revolves around anchor Will McAvoy, his new executive producer MacKenzie McHale, newsroom staff Jim Harper, Maggie Jordan, Sloan Sabbith, Neal Sampat, Don Keefer, and the head of ACN, Charlie Skinner.
Entertainment Weekly reported in April 2009 that Sorkin, while still working on the screenplay for The Social Network , was contemplating a new TV drama about the behind-the-scenes events at a cable news program.Sorkin was the series creator of Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip , both shows depicting the off-camera happenings of fictional television programs. Talks were reportedly ongoing between Sorkin and HBO since 2010. In January 2011, Sorkin revealed the project on BBC News.
To research the cable news world, Sorkin had been an off-camera guest at MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann in 2010 to observe the show's production and quizzed Parker Spitzer 's staff when he was a guest on that show. He also spent time shadowing Hardball with Chris Matthews as well as other programs on Fox News and CNN. Sorkin told TV Guide that he intended to take a less cynical view of the media: "They're going to be trying to do well in a context where it's very difficult to do well when there are commercial concerns and political concerns and corporate concerns." Sorkin decided that rather than have his characters react to fictional news events as on his earlier series, The Newsroom would be set in the recent past and track real-world stories largely as they unfolded, to give a greater sense of realism.
HBO ordered a pilot in January 2011 with the working title More as This Story Develops. The Social Network's Scott Rudin signed on as executive producer. Rudin's only previous television work was the 1996 spin-off series Clueless . By June, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, Olivia Munn, and Dev Patel were cast, while Greg Mottola had signed on to direct the pilot. The pilot script was later reportedly obtained by several news outlets.
On September 8, 2011, HBO ordered a full series starting with an initial 10-episode run with a premiere date set for summer 2012.A day after the second episode aired, HBO renewed the series for a second season.
Sorkin said in June 2012 that The Newsroom "is meant to be an idealistic, romantic, swashbuckling, sometimes comedic but very optimistic, upward-looking look at a group of people who are often looked at cynically. The same as with The West Wing, where ordinarily in popular culture our leaders are portrayed either as Machiavellian or dumb; I wanted to do something different and show a highly competent group of people."
While the pilot was in development, the project was tentatively titled More as This Story Develops.On November 29, 2011, HBO filed for a trademark on "The Newsroom" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The new name immediately drew comparisons with the Ken Finkleman-created Canadian comedy series of the same name that aired on CBC and public television stations in the U.S. The series' name was confirmed as The Newsroom in an HBO promo released on December 21, 2011, previewing its programs for 2012.
Writing in Maclean's , Jaime Weinman said the choice of name was "a bit of a grimly amusing reminder that the U.S. TV industry doesn't take Canada very seriously ... The Newsroom is often considered the greatest show Canada has ever produced, but a U.S. network feels no need to fear unflattering comparisons: assuming they've heard of the show, they probably think most people in the States have not heard of it." In an interview with The Daily Beast following the Sorkin show's premiere, Finkleman revealed that HBO did contact him for permission to reuse the title, which he granted.
Jeff Daniels was cast in the lead role in March 2011.Alison Pill and Olivia Munn reportedly entered negotiations to star in April 2011. The fictional executive producer role was initially offered to Marisa Tomei, but negotiations fell through. Tomei was replaced by Emily Mortimer in May 2011. Sam Waterston also joined the project in May. John Gallagher Jr., Thomas Sadoski, and Dev Patel were added to the cast in June 2011.
New York magazine reported that Sorkin had planned for MSNBC host Chris Matthews and Andrew Breitbart to appear in a roundtable debate scene in the pilot; however, the idea was shot down by MSNBC purportedly because the network was displeased with the corporate culture portrayal of cable news and skewering of left-leaning media in the show's script.Chris Matthews' son, Thomas, joined the cast in the role of Martin Stallworth, an associate producer for the fictional show.
Three months after the series was picked up, Jane Fonda signed on to play Leona Lansing, the CEO of the fictional network's parent company.Fonda was married to Turner Broadcasting System and CNN founder Ted Turner for 10 years. Lansing was touted by some observers as a female version of Fonda's ex-husband. The name "Leona Lansing" is taken from the names of two highly successful businesswomen, real estate developer Leona Helmsley and former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing.
Jon Tenney guest-starred as Wade, MacKenzie's boyfriend.Natalie Morales has a guest role as Kaylee, Neal's girlfriend. Terry Crews plays Lonny, Will's bodyguard.
Rosemarie DeWitt was originally cast as Rebecca Halliday, a litigator who is tasked with defending ACN in a wrongful termination suit in the second season,but DeWitt had to vacate the role due to scheduling conflicts. The role was recast with Marcia Gay Harden. Patton Oswalt was announced to play Jonas Pfeiffer, the new V.P. of human resources at ACN, in November 2012, but he ultimately did not appear in the season.
The Newsroom's set is located in Sunset Gower Studios, Hollywood, on Stage 7. The fictional Atlantis World Media building, however, is actually the Bank of America Tower on Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan (directly across the street from HBO's New York City offices), with CGI being used to change the name of the building above the entrance. Production began in the fall of 2011. The schedule called for each episode—comprising a dialogue-dense script of 80 to 90 pages – to be filmed in nine days, as opposed to six to seven pages per day for broadcast network TV series. The pilot episode was shot using 16 mm film while the rest of the series was shot digitally on Arri Alexa cameras.
With fewer than 10 credited writers, The Newsroom has fewer writers than most other television series. It was reported that Sorkin planned to replace most of the first season's writers in the second season.He later said this was untrue. Sorkin explained his approach to writing:
I create these shows so that I can write them. I'm not an empire builder. I'm not interested in just producing. All I want to do is write. I came up as a playwright—writing is something you do by yourself in a room. That said, I couldn't possibly write the show without that room full of people. I go in there, and we kick around ideas. I'm writing about all kinds of things I don't know anything about. So they do research for me.
Sorkin hired conservative media consultants for the second season to help him represent "every part of the ideological spectrum," thus giving the show "a political perspective that I don't have." Sorkin also revealed that the second season would include the 2012 United States presidential election.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||June 24, 2012||August 26, 2012|
|2||9||July 14, 2013||September 15, 2013|
|3||6||November 9, 2014||December 14, 2014|
In season 1, each episode is built around a major news event from the recent past, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. This acts as a background for the interpersonal drama, as well as providing a sense of familiarity, as the audience is likely to know the context and so not require too much explanation of events. Sorkin has said the news events on the show "will always be real", which, for him, "became a kind of creative gift. For one thing, the audience knows more than the characters do, which is kind of fun. And it gives me the chance to have the characters be smarter than we were."However, he has also said "[i]t is a romanticised, idealised newsroom, a sort of a heightened newsroom – it is not meant to be a documentary."
The second season features a story arc in which the News Night team has reported, and been forced to retract, a false news story about the United States Marine Corps using Sarin gas during the war in Afghanistan in 2009.This story is based on a real-life news scandal from 1998, in which CNN and TIME were both criticized for reporting a dubious and unreliably sourced story that the United States had used Sarin during the Operation Tailwind excursion in the Vietnam War.
The third season tackles two controversial topics in news reporting. The first is the subject of citizen journalism, and the season begins with the Boston Marathon bombing and its subsequent investigation, which was quite significantly affected by the reports of social media users.The show takes on a particularly critical tone regarding the role that citizen journalists play in the coverage of major news stories, portraying the spread of misinformation and hindrance to law enforcement that ensues. This is expanded in subsequent episodes, where the idealistic, libertarian views of ACN's new buyer clash with the journalistic integrity of the team. The other major topic is whistleblowing, explored when major character Neal Sampat is contacted by an anonymous source, who leaks details of the US government's complicity in an atrocity in an African state. This leads to a clash between Will and the FBI, resulting in Will's spending time in jail for refusing to name Neal's source and being held in contempt. The whistleblowing storyline takes place in parallel to the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013.
The Newsroom premiered in the United States on HBO on June 24, 2012. It was watched by 2.1 million viewers, making it one of HBO's most-watched series premieres since 2008. The first episode was made available free to all viewers on multiple platforms, including HBO.com, iTunes, YouTube, and other free on-demand services.
The show aired simultaneously on HBO Canada.It premiered on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 10, 2012, two weeks after its U.S. debut. In Germany and Austria The Newsroom premiered on Sky's video-on-demand service Sky Go one day after the U.S. premiere on June 25, 2012, and Sky Anytime one day later. HBO Europe also began airing the show in all twelve countries with appropriate subtitles one day after the U.S. premiere. The show premiered in New Zealand on August 13, 2012, on SKY NZ's SoHo channel. The show debuted in Australia on the SoHo channel on August 20, 2012. In India, the show premiered on HBO Defined on May 21, 2013, season 2 premiered on July 30, 2013, with episodes airing two weeks after the U.S. premiere, and season 3 premiered on November 10, 2014, one day after the U.S. premiere. Currently, all episodes are available for streaming on Hotstar.
Critical reaction to the series in its first season was mixed.The show's second and third seasons saw more positive responses from reviewers.
On Metacritic, the first season scored 56 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 46%, based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though it sports good intentions and benefits from moments of stellar dialogue and a talented cast, The Newsroom may feel too preachy, self satisfied, and cynical to appeal to a wide range of viewers."
Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter writes that how viewers respond to the show "has everything to do with whether you like his style. Because ... Sorkin is always true to himself and doesn't try to cover his tendencies or be embarrassed by them". 's James Poniewozik criticized the show for being "smug" and "intellectually self-serving", with "Aaron Sorkin writing one argument after another for himself to win." Los Angeles Times critic Mary McNamara said the show's drama is "weighted too heavily toward sermonizing diatribes".Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times commented that "at its best ... The Newsroom has a wit, sophistication and manic energy.... But at its worst, the show chokes on its own sanctimony". Time
Reviews by newscasters have been mixed as well. Jake Tapper, then of ABC News, criticized Sorkin's partisanship: "they extol the Fourth Estate's democratic duty, but they believe that responsibility consists mostly of criticizing Republicans."Dave Marash was not convinced that the show portrays the news industry accurately. On August 1, 2012, Sorkin responded to critics by including news consultants with newsroom experience. Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave the pilot a favorable review, saying the show "has the potential to become a classic".
The second season received generally favorable reviews. It has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 20 critics, from review aggregation website Metacritic.On Rotten Tomatoes, the season holds a rating of 69%, based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Thanks to focused storytelling and a more restrained tone, The Newsroom finds surer footing in its second season, even if it still occasionally succumbs to Aaron Sorkin's most indulgent whims."
In an early review of season 2, Verne Gay of Newsday called it: "Edgier, more sharply drawn, while that Sorkian chatter remains at a very high boil." Oscar Moralde of Slant Magazine noted what he referred to as the show's "grandiloquent speechifying", but praised Olivia Munn, calling her "a joy to watch" and concluded that "season two of The Newsroom salvages the promise of becoming something urgent and vital". Brian Lowry of Variety , in a negative review, said: "Ultimately, one needn't be a purveyor of snark to view The Newsroom as a disappointment—too smart to be dismissed, but so abrasive as to feel like Media Lectures for Dummies." Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave season 2 an overall "B−" grade.
The third and final season received positive reviews. On Metacritic, it has a score of 63 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 61%, based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "With an energetic new arc and deeper character development, The Newsroom finds itself rejuvenated in its third season—even if it still occasionally serves as a soapbox for creator Aaron Sorkin."
In 2012, The Newsroom was honored, along with four others, with the Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series.The series also received two nominations at the 70th Golden Globe Awards, for Best Television Series – Drama and Best Actor – Television Series Drama for Jeff Daniels. Daniels was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and won as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, in which the series received two other nominations, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Jane Fonda and Outstanding Main Title Design. For the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Jeff Daniels was nominated for Best Drama Actor. For the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, Jeff Daniels was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Jane Fonda was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. For the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, Jeff Daniels was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Samuel Atkinson Waterston is an American actor, producer, and director. Waterston is known for his work in theater, television and film. Waterston, having studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and the American Actors Workshop, started his career in theater on the New York stage, appearing in multiple revivals of Shakespeare. In 1977, he starred in an off-Broadway production of Measure for Measure as Duke Vincentio alongside Meryl Streep and John Cazale at the Delacorte Theatre. Throughout Waterston's theater career, he continued to appear alongside actors such as Raul Julia in Indians (1969), James Woods in The Trial of Catonsville Nine (1970), Liv Ullmann in A Doll's House (1975), Jane Alexander in Hamlet (1975), and Glenn Close in Benefactors (1980). In 1993, he portrayed Abraham Lincoln onstage in Abe Lincoln in Illinois where he received Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for his performance.
Aaron Benjamin Sorkin is an American playwright, screenwriter, actor, television writer, television producer, and film director. Born in New York City, Sorkin developed a passion for writing at an early age. His works include the Broadway plays A Few Good Men, The Farnsworth Invention, and To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as the television series Sports Night (1998–2000), The West Wing (1999–2006), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006–07), and The Newsroom (2012–14). He wrote the film screenplay for the legal drama A Few Good Men (1992), the comedy The American President (1995), and several biopics including Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Moneyball (2011), and Steve Jobs (2015). For writing 2010's The Social Network, he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.
Jeffrey Warren Daniels is an American actor, musician, and playwright whose career includes roles in films, stage productions, and television, for which he has won two Primetime Emmy Awards and received several Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Tony Award nominations.
Thomas David Schlamme is an American television director, known particularly for his collaborations with Aaron Sorkin. He is known for his work as executive producer on The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, as well as his work as director on Sports Night and The Americans.
Alan Mark Poul is an American film and television producer and director.
Gregory Martin Daniels is an American screenwriter, television producer, and director. He has worked on several television series, including Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons, adapted The Office for the United States, and co-created Parks and Recreation and King of the Hill. Daniels attended Harvard University where he became friends and started writing with Conan O'Brien. His first writing credit was for Not Necessarily the News, before he was laid off due to budget cuts. He eventually became a writer for two long-running series: Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is an American comedy-drama television series created and primarily written by Aaron Sorkin. The series was about the production of a live comedy series, similar to Saturday Night Live. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ran on NBC for 22 episodes, from September 18, 2006 to June 28, 2007. On May 14, 2007, NBC cancelled the series after one season. It is the only one of the four television shows created by Sorkin not to air for more than one season.
Lisa Olivia Munn is an American actress and former television host. After interning at a news station in Tulsa, Munn relocated to Los Angeles, where she began her professional career as a television host for the gaming network G4, primarily on the series Attack of the Show! from 2006 until 2010. She was also a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 2010 to 2011. Munn is also known for her portrayal of Sloan Sabbith in Aaron Sorkin's HBO political drama series The Newsroom (2012–2014), and appeared on the series for all three seasons.
"What Kind of Day Has It Been" is the 22nd episode of The West Wing, the season finale of the show's first season. It originally aired on NBC May 17, 2000. Events circle around the attempted rescue of a US fighter pilot in Iraq, and the president taking part in a town hall meeting in Rosslyn, Virginia. The episode was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Thomas Schlamme. "What Kind of Day Has It Been" is also the name of the first-season finales of both the series Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, as well as the series finale of The Newsroom, all of which were created by Aaron Sorkin. It was also a quote by Leo in the fourth-season episode "Commencement" in the situation room. Sorkin claimed that he took the phrase from Robert Whitehead, lead producer of Sorkin's A Few Good Men, who used to start meetings at the end of rehearsal days by asking this question.
John Howard Gallagher Jr. is an American actor and musician known for originating the role of Moritz Stiefel in Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's rock musical Spring Awakening, which earned him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also played Johnny in Green Day's Broadway musical, American Idiot, Lee in the 2011 Broadway production of Jerusalem, and Edmund in the 2016 Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night. He portrayed Jim Harper in Aaron Sorkin's drama series The Newsroom, starred in the HBO mini-series Olive Kitteridge, and played Emmett DeWitt in 10 Cloverfield Lane.
The fifth and final season of the television series The Wire commenced airing in the United States on January 6, 2008, and concluded on March 9, 2008; it contained 10 episodes. The series continued to examine the Baltimore police department, the Stanfield organization and city hall while introducing a fictionalized version of the Baltimore Sun newsroom.
Boardwalk Empire is an American period crime drama television series created by Terence Winter and broadcast on the premium cable channel HBO. The series is set chiefly in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era of the 1920s and stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson. Winter, a Primetime Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer, created the show, inspired by Nelson Johnson's 2002 non-fiction book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, about the historical criminal kingpin Enoch L. Johnson.
Enlightened is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on HBO on October 10, 2011. The series was created by Mike White, who wrote every episode, and Laura Dern, who plays the lead role of Amy Jellicoe.
The fifth season of the HBO supernatural drama series True Blood premiered on June 10, 2012 and features 12 episodes, bringing the series total to 60. It picks up right after the events of season four. It is loosely based on the fifth book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, Dead as a Doornail, but incorporates much more of the following books than the previous seasons have.
The fifth and final season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on July 15, 2012, and concluded on September 29, 2013 on AMC in the United States and Canada. The 16-episode season is split into two parts, each containing eight episodes. The first part of the season was broadcast from July 15 to September 2, 2012, and aired on Sundays at 10:00 pm ET. The second part was broadcast from August 11 to September 29, 2013, aired on Sundays at 9:00 pm. It debuted in the UK and Ireland on Netflix, showing one day after the episodes aired in the U.S. and Canada. Part 1 was released on region 1 DVD and region A Blu-ray on June 4, 2013, and part 2 was released on November 26, 2013.
"We Just Decided To" is the first episode of the first season of the American television series The Newsroom. It first aired on June 24, 2012 in the United States on HBO. "We Just Decided To" was written by creator Aaron Sorkin and directed by Greg Mottola. In the aftermath of his public tirade, acclaimed Atlantis Cable News anchor Will McAvoy returns to his job to find that most of his staff are leaving and his new executive producer is his ex-girlfriend, MacKenzie McHale and when some breaking news about a potentially disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hits the network, the staff faces a new challenge.
"News Night 2.0" is the second episode of the first season of the HBO television series The Newsroom, which originally aired July 1, 2012. The episode was written by series creator and executive producer Aaron Sorkin and directed by Alex Graves.
The sixth season of the HBO supernatural drama series True Blood premiered on June 16, 2013. The season had an abbreviated run of ten episodes, as opposed to the usual twelve, partially to accommodate the pregnancy of lead actress Anna Paquin. It is also the first season not to be primarily based on the corresponding novel in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, instead taking elements from multiple books in the series.
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