A Minute With: Aaron Sorkin on "The Newsroom"

Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:28pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Aaron Sorkin has been down a similar road before.

The Oscar-winning writer of "The Social Network" and creator of the behind-the-scenes account of Washington politics, "The West Wing," has a much-anticipated new series premiering on cable channel HBO on Sunday - "The Newsroom."

Rapid-fire banter, clever posturing about modern-day America and a romantic view of the workplace are all Sorkin trademarks found in his new show, which examines the world of cable TV news centered around unyielding anchor Will McAvoy, who is played by Jeff Daniels.

Sorkin, 51, spoke to Reuters about the show.

Q: Going back to "Network" and "Broadcast News," there have been quite a few accomplished looks at broadcast journalism. Seems like a daunting task?

A: ""The Newsroom" has more in common with "Broadcast News" - the romantic comedy - for sure. And both Holly Hunter's character and Albert Brooks' character on "Broadcast News" and most of our characters are for and against the same things. But if you go back and look at "Broadcast News" now, James L. Brooks, who wrote that, had a fantastic crystal ball. As did Paddy Chayefsky when he wrote "Network," to see what the future is like. But boy, "Broadcast News" was written at a time when there was no cable news, there was (sic) just three networks. Now there is this 24-hour beast to feed."

Q: Your characters want to change journalism's crumbling role in a functioning democracy and responsibility to inform the public. What ever happened to The Fourth Estate?

A: "The Fourth Estate, well the characters on this show are trying to bring it back. But I can't emphasize enough how, it sounds like you are going to be asked eat your vegetables every Sunday night and you are just not. The show is swashbuckling, it's funny, the show doesn't take itself seriously. The characters take their jobs seriously, they don't take themselves seriously. It's really not as dry and unbearable as it sounds."   Continued...

Producer Aaron Sorkin sits for a photo with cast members Emily Mortimer (C) and Jeff Daniels (R) at the offices of HBO in New York, in this May 17, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Keith Bedford/Files