Sorkin delves into frenzied 'Newsroom' for second season

Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:05am EDT
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By Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In the first 10 minutes of the second season of HBO drama "The Newsroom," creator Aaron Sorkin hits viewers with half a dozen news themes, an intense legal discussion, a flashback and SOPA.

Yes, SOPA, the acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act being debated in Congress. It's the kind of complex topics that will keep news junkies and fans of Sorkin's chaotic television newsroom on their toes for season two, which premieres Sunday.

Although the first season of "The Newsroom" has a good chance of picking up Emmy nominations next week, including for best drama, Sorkin's creation was picked apart by the critics.

Now the writer who made his name with the Emmy-winning drama "The West Wing" and won a writing Oscar for "The Social Network" begins this season with something to prove.

In a sign of what's at stake, Sorkin told The Hollywood Reporter that for season two he re-wrote the first three episodes and had to re-shoot chunks of the first and second at a cost of several million dollars to HBO, owned by Time Warner.

"The Newsroom" stars Jeff Daniels as gruff news anchor Will McAvoy, bent on delivering a nightly newscast that tackles the tough news issues, regardless of ratings pressures. He is supported in his quest by his former love and producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), his boss (Sam Waterston) and smart staffers whose fragile personal lives enrich each episode.

In the first season, Sorkin was criticized for presenting a sanctimonious view of the news, with "New York Times" critic Alessandra Stanley saying: "'The Newsroom' would be a lot better if the main characters preached less and went back to reporting."

For this season, Sorkin hired a dozen consultants, mostly journalists, to help him navigate the news. But he insists he is not out to tell the world how to produce news.   Continued...

Aaron Sorkin (L), creator and executive producer, and actors Jeff Daniels (2nd L), Sam Waterston (C), Olivia Munn and Dev Patel (R) arrive for the season 2 premiere of their HBO drama series "The Newsroom" in Hollywood July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Prouser