Aaron Sorkin on The Newsroom Criticism: That Much Talk About a Show Is 'Good for Television'

Prior to The Newsroom‘s showing at Wednesday’s Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills, HBO exec Michael Lombardo countered recent criticism surrounding the freshman drama by starting that they are “very proud” of the series.

“There are 7 million people a week who are coming back to that show in a very competitive landscape — and they love it,” he shared.

And those sentiments only continued when The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin, alongside executive producer Alan Poul and star Jeff Daniels, took the stage to face the music questions.

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ON EARLY UNFAVORABLE REVIEWS | Sorkin is well aware that there are “critics who did not enjoy watching the first four episodes” of Newsroom, but believes that “Anytime people are talking that much about a television show, it’s good for television.” What’s more, the EP shared, “One of the nice consequences of working for HBO is that the entire season is written, shot and locked in the can before the first episode airs. So, even if you’re tempted to try to write a little bit differently to please the people or change someone’s mind, you can’t do it. The season is done.”

ON THE NEGATIVE PERCEPTION OF NEWS NIGHT‘S WOMEN | While Sorkin “completely respects” some opinions that women are portrayed as dumb on the series, he “100 percent disagrees with it. I think the female characters on the show are every bit the equals to the men. They’re not just talked about being good at their job; we plainly see them being good at their job — beginning with the first episode.” The showrunner went on to note that once these characters were established as “thoughtful, curious [and] plainly smart” — which he believes happened early in the season — “You can have them slip on as many banana peels as you want.” Sorkin also disagrees with the idea that Newsroom‘s women are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. “Hubris is something on this show that is always punished,” he argued. “We present Will’s mission to civilize as something people first of all roll their eyes at and secondly always blows up in his face.”

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ON WRITERS’ ROOM SHAKE-UP RUMORS | It seems those rumors of a complete staff overhaul on The Newsroom were exaggerated… a lot. “A couple of weeks ago, an unsourced and untrue story appeared on the Internet,” Sorkin explained. “The writing staff was not fired. I love the writing staff. I thought we did great this year, and it’s a fantastic group of men and women to come to work with. But at the end of each season, you get together with the producers and the department heads and you talk about ways that you can get better. So, a couple of staffing changes were made — including promoting two of our writers’ assistants.”

ON A SEASON 2 TWEAK | Newsroom‘s second season will include a vast range of behind-the-scenes “paid consultants” who will contribute to the series, as opposed to the handful of sources Sorkin utilized during the series’ freshman run. Said the showrunner: “I think it can only add to the show. Their job is going to be anything they want it to be.”

ON REAL-LIFE NEWS ON NEWSROOM | Sorkin revealed that the series will “always be about 9-12 months behind” real-life current events addressed on the show-within-a-show.

How are you feeling about The Newsroom? Hit the comments!