Newsroom Creator Aaron Sorkin on Final Season: 'I Apologize and I'd Like to Start Over'

The Newsroom Finale RatingsAaron Sorkin has a breaking alert for viewers of his journalism-themed HBO drama: He’s sorry for the first two seasons.

“I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom and I apologize and I’d like to start over,” Sorkin told an audience at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival Monday.

Addressing those in the room as stand-ins for the world at large, Buzzfeed reports that Sorkin said he did not set the drama in the recent past to skewer those who report the news.

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“That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind,” he said during the discussion, adding, “I wasn’t trying to, and I’m not capable of, teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn’t my intent, and it’s never my intent to teach you a lesson or try to persuade you or anything.”

His mea-culpa stance stands in stark contrast to what he told reporters a few months into the show’s first season. At the time, the show boss’ brushed off criticism of the series, saying, “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.”

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The man also behind dramas like The West Wing and Sports Night later said that Newsroom‘s upcoming third and final season would handle events including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and that he was just now beginning to feel an ease in writing the show’s scripts.

“I have the time of my life working with the people that I work with, but there is a learning curve and unfortunately, those lessons are learned in front of several million people,” he said. “Again, that’s what you sign up for.”

The Newsroom‘s final season, now in production, likely will premiere in the fall.


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  1. Deion says:

    There are conservatives who might have benefited from hearing this after season 1. I love the show and am sad that it will end.

    • firstroyal says:

      Being a concervative libertarian, married to a socialist democrat and watching the first season I have to say it started off right. I have no problem watching left leaning shows or hearing extreme left leaning actors talk. The problem is not other peoples opinions its the ignorant portrayal of conservatives that bother me. Its sad the show ended, but I saw it coming- they got the left right but its like neither the writer, director nor the actors had ever even met a conservative let alone reasearched one… why bother if you don’t even “want” to get it before writing it?

  2. Kathy says:

    Why apologize and ask for a fresh start now with the show ending? It comes across as him just wanting the press not to hate him for his next show. He’s never seemed to care much about The Newsroom at all.

  3. nikki says:

    Why is the show ending after three seasons?

    • trainwreck says:

      I know, right? i thought the same when i heard the news that third season would be the last… but i was happy that atleast they have a third one as second season’s ending was a halfway ok series finale too and the rumors were that Sorkin is done with Newsroom. So i’m grateful for the third season to exist.. wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if it would be an extended season!

    • dreamlife613 says:

      Because it is generally hated, especially by critics.

      • Jacob says:

        The critics don’t like it for a couple different reasons, Rolling Stone pretty much the only liberal source said it was too preachy. The conservative side you take a guess why they don’t like it, it also exposed the Koch brothers to greater numbers of actually controlling the Tea Party. The problem conservatives have is the fact checking on here that makes them look like idiots, however some were exaggerated such as the Republican who said he lost primaries due the Tea Party highjacking the Republican party with crazy ideas. That did not happen, but a liberal
        would love to hear that because one a sane person knows they are crazy and would like someone from the conservative side to admit these people are ignorant and incapable of handling government decisions.

      • Jacob says:

        Another issue is how they categorize the show in their minds, I view as closer to
        news with light drama while
        many of the critics judge only tv shows so they only judge it from the drama side which doesn’t have that much so they don’t like it. It is meant for people who follow politics and like satire.

  4. David4 says:

    “I’m like to start over with a show that is canceled”… what?!

    • S. says:

      The show isn’t “cancelled.” It’s ending and he’s the one that had to be talked into doing more of it. His schedule is pretty tight and why would he want to commit all this time and energy towards something that’s not feeling in his zone? Sounds like HBO would be fine with having him do more. I’m not a fan of The Newsroom, and I think he’s not even fully aware of all the problems with it despite what he said with the apology, but give him credit for HBO not being the ones to tell us the show’s cancelled. Felt like they were the ones trying to go ‘aw come on, do another season…’ Not because it’s a great show but because they want to have him around still. Must be bringing in subscribers even if it’s to hate watch or they wouldn’t be doing that. I hope for his sake (and ours so he won’t sour on tv for awhile) that he gets things on the right track, but I’d have been more optimistic for that possibility if he’d been doing Studio 60 on HBO. Less confident about The Newsroom.

  5. TV Gord says:

    No need to apologize. I bailed on it early on. No harm, no foul. (No loss, in my opinion.)

    • Colin says:

      If you bailed early how do you know if it’s no big loss? You haven’t seen it to make that opinion.

  6. Jon says:

    What’s he apologizing for? The shows two first seasons were great (though 2 wasn’t as good as 1). I’m sad the third season will be the last, but if it’s going to be a bland “I don’t want to offend anyone” season I’m not sure I want to bother. Too bad when they have such prime news material too with the 2012 Presidential election, The Edward Snowden leaks etc.

  7. Taryn says:

    He’s apologizing for the very thing I always liked about this show.

  8. Scooter Smith (@scoboot) says:

    I am a conservative who loved this show. He has NOTHING to apologize for. It is a wonderful show, and I will miss it. It takes an honest look at the ridiculousness of NEWS people caring more about ratings then journalism. I wish more people would act like the characters on this show.

    I feel like Charlie Skinner is what Tim Russert would have been like if he were the head of one of those 24 hour news nets. It sucks that he is no longer with us, and NBC is left with Chuck Todd.

  9. Et al. says:

    I find this very bizarre. The first two seasons were exceptional. And they never really skewered news professionals directly, they did stories about the problems of the 24-hour infotainment news cycle – which is fair and valid.

  10. CountryQueen says:

    Well now I have a little less respect for Aaron – Newsroom is great as is – and our so called “news” media needs someone to call them out on their BS. Way to cave to the haters Aaron – I thought you had more of a backbone.

  11. Tony Lang says:

    ‘Lou Grant’ regularly pushed the envelopped in its depiction of journalism, and no one on that show ever felt the need to apologize; it was even widely used and studied in college classrooms. Aaron, stop trying to please everyone; detractors will always have something to whine about and your fans something to enjoy.

  12. Jane says:

    If he is going to apologize for anything it should be for the way the female characters were written as idiots. The rest I liked.

    • trainwreck says:

      i beg to differ.. all of the characters (male and female) had their flaws and strengths.. some of the most powerful female characterization have also been shown through Jane Fonda’s character of a cutthroat media mogul and Emily Mortimer running the entire newsroom.

      • Jane says:

        I’ll give you Jane Fonda and even Marcia Gay Harden, but I don’t consider them main characters. Mac and Maggie were written as idiotic love sick women who could do nothing right and whined constantly, in my opinion. You are entitled to yours.

        • Nicotine says:

          The most lovesick person on the entire show is Jim. That’s the only thing that’s been motivating his character. Mac & Maggie, I agree with, but it’s not like he only wrote the women that way.

        • MA says:

          Maggie is young and stupid. That’s annoying to watch sometimes, but it’s not unrealistic. How old is she? 25? She knows nothing and acts like it. In ten years, she’ll be different. Mac, however, is absolutely fantastic. She’s great at her job, totally in control and competent in the studio, incredibly bright, compassionate, funny, and deeply flawed. It’s ridiculous that loving someone has become a negative female stereotype. What I’ve liked most about the relationship between Mac and Will is that it has been painfully obvious since episode one they love and respect one another tremendously and come at each other as equals, but are both so hurt and guilty they kept running into walls. If Mac did nothing but pine for a guy who wasn’t into her, maybe the character would deserve the criticism, but what she actually did was commit herself to a guy she loved and believed in and who felt exactly the same way about her, even if, for most of the show, the commitment was mostly professional. That’s totally empowering. More women (and men) should do it.
          I think it’s a shame that Sorkin apologized. Critics love to critique, not to mention that this show skewered a lot of their own profession so it’s not like they’re objective. Both seasons of The Newsroom are great, and I just hope Sorkin doesn’t do away with what’s great about this show in an effort to appease a bunch of bitter critics.

  13. Marc says:

    I generally agree with the comments here, but I think we would probably benefit from the entire discussion, not just one comment. Based on the lengthier comments in the original Deadline article, I think Sorkin was saying that it was not his intent to criticize actual media coverage of real events using 20/20 hindsight to make them look bad. He probably should have said all of this at the get go. He has repeatedly said all along that he did not want to make up fake news. The downside of using real past event as plot devices on a newsroom-based show and want to show the flaws in that newsroom is that you know how things turned out and will make the real media look bad as well. As long as you are using real news, this seems unavoidable. The whole fake story from season 2 did not resonate with some because it was entirely fictional. I don’t think Sorkin regrets what he has done, just what he has said publicly about the show and its plot devices.

  14. Paloma says:

    If he’s just getting the hang of wiring it, the. We definitely need a fourth season. Or this could just be Sorkin doing what he always seems to do … Shooting himself in the foot.

    I am a big fan because when his stuff works, it is incredible.

  15. Nicotine says:

    I don’t understand what he’s apologizing for. He wrote a good, thought-provoking show. I never saw it as a commentary or a criticism on how journalists should act or perform their jobs. I thought he was peeling the curtain back and showing how journalism is currently done – at least for the most part.

    I reject his apology because I don’t think one is warranted.

  16. Dude says:

    This seems to be more him apologizing for offending journalists but really, they took it way too hard. He has nothing to apologize for, The Newsroom is a fantastic show.

  17. Well, there’s your nutty Uncle Aaron at it again. Nothing to apologize for. Just keep writing like a gift from heaven and all will be forgiven (although there is nothing to apologize for).

  18. bobbie says:

    First season was wonderful, and second season really good. I loved the Jane Fonda role.
    It’s better than almost anything the networks produce. It brought great joy to those of us who would like an informed and literate country. Fight the good fight, and all that.
    It was beautiful. If in the third season all has devolved into the (typical Sorkin) love story, it won’t be worth watching. Been there, done that. Too much of that trite garbage on tv already.

  19. Lisa Kaye says:

    Oh, Aaron! (sighs). You are the typical “perfectionist” writer. Dude, you are amazing (but please don’t start believing me, because when you start to believe the hype, that’s when you lose the gift). I try to watch everything you do, as you inspire me with your gift not only of words, but the rhythm of your words. People get on you about female characters, but please, the men are neurotic too. That’s why I love your characters. Because aren’t we all a bit like that? Without the exceptional dialogue. And I DO feel you try to hit both sides, its clear you have a liberal bent, but you make a real honest effort to show the other side, that there IS an other side, and the other side is not always wrong, they have their perspective too (Ainsley Hayes of THE WEST WING epitomized this the best I thought). and you use consultants because you don’t know everything (no one does) but still you try to get it right. PLEASE keep doing what you are doing, know that it will never be perfect (nothing is). I want to see you still at it at 80! And the first two seasons of NEWSROOM do not require any kind of apology, they were must see TV at my house. And I am excited about season 3 and wish there would be more. I have come to love these characters (with all their exceptional flaws) the same way I loved THE WEST WING characters with all their flaws. But nothing trumps the writing.

  20. Mary Bucklew says:

    My fav female character on the show is Sloan. She always has the best lines, the most raw emotion and she’s the most intelligent, complex character. SHe is also drop dead gorgeous.

  21. steven Selva says:

    I loved both seasons of the Newsroom and I don’t believe Aaron powers anyone an apology. Sorry to hear it’s ending! Thanks fora great show.

  22. Meg says:

    LOVE the show, can’t wait for its return, and will be sad to see it go. Mr. Sorkin needs to stop apologizing. “If you’re not offending someone….”

  23. karen hellickson says:

    Dear Mr. Sorkin, I wish you well and hope you are doing the things that make you happy.
    and when you have sometime to write, maybe you can write another series which lasts for more then a year or two. (she hopes that this will come true.)

    I miss not having certain television shows, “Life on Mars” (2008-2009), “Life” (2007-2009) and every one of your television series, “Sport’s Night” (1998-2000), “The West Wing” (1999-2003), “Studio 60” (2006-2007) and “The Newsroom” (2012-2015 [?] ) These have been printed to show the length of these shows are a couple of years. “The West Wing” went on for many more years, but at some point, in the year 2000, you stopped writing and being involved with the making of this television series.

    My point, is that, I truly like these shows and characters. I look forward to watching Season 3 of “The Newsroom” and am disappointed that there will not be a Season 4. I will be able to lead a productive life, however I will be missing what may have happened to Casey and Dana or there is Sam and his hooker girlfriend could have gotten back together, I wonder how Jordan and Danny are doing as parents? People come and go so quickly, I just miss not seeing them.

    Thanks for writing so beautifully.

  24. Colleen Ryan says:

    I love this show….please, please come back on the air soon? There is a definite absence of quality tv on nowadays…we need this show!!!

    • Gifted Actors, current topics, ethics and morals, great dialogue, conflicts and resolution. We need these kinds of thought provoking, intelligent scripted programs. Please don’t stop.

  25. Chris Carlton says:

    It’s really sad that this will be the final season. The only thing Aaron Sorkin has toaapologize about is quitting on The West Wing after 4 seasons and now quitting on The Newsroom. Both are two of the most terrific shows I’ve ever seen(even if they’re obviously liberal, but just enough toughness to make everyone watch), and I sorely wish this show would continue. The acting is first class!

  26. Kathy Christensen says:

    I wish there was some way to talk Sorkin into keeping Newsroom going. It’s the best series on tv since West Wing. Is there any way to talk him into changing his mind?

  27. Janet Allen says:

    You can’t be serious….What Happened?? This is good stuff, well worth watching.

    This show gives a peek inside the politics, inner workings, financials, and power that dictate what we hear as news. It is rich material for examination.

    America know more details about vampires than they do about their news production,

    I know this show is fiction, written for TV, But Newsroom might tweak viewers into thinking more about how it is processed.

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  29. AquarianM says:

    Apologize my ass! Newsroom is awesome, hard-hitying TV and I love what was done with the first two seasons. When are we going to have season 3 start???? !!! ?????

  30. Mary Ellen Flanagan says:

    I love this show! I thought it was fantastic and so looked forward to it starting up again. I am sorry to find out that this is the last season. why is it that the show we love leave far too soon.

  31. Kathy says:

    No apologies needed for the BEST show on TV today. I was late to find it but have to pace myself until Season 3. PLEASE don’t take this show away, it just needs to find more of us that are bored and insulted by the mind numbing programs offered by most networks. How can I help keep it going, seriously?

    • Janet Allen says:

      Who has led the attack on Newsroom? They are obviously powerful to make HBO back down and force someone like Sorkin to bend to their forces? Just who are these guys?? a Network? Individuals? Mix of both?
      It;’s questionably as to how many news organizations take offense to a TV show…seems they would have bigger fish to fry….

  32. sharon rowe says:

    when does season 3 start?

  33. Shannon Felton says:

    I love The newsroom! Don’t be sorry! I grew up outside of DC, love The West Wing!!

  34. Donna green says:

    I can’t stand it that we have only 4 more newsroom episodes. It is the only show we watch with unfailing regularity. I watch Season I reruns often. The writing is brilliant; the cast superb.

  35. Bev says:

    I love the show and have become aware what has slowly taken over our country. We choose the new we want to hear. This show has been entertaining, funny, and educational. My greatest wish is that it would continue. It’s been so long since I watched a show with integrity and delivered something more than a cheap thrill. It’s smart, witty, playful and informative. Now I watch the news again but I am from the old school when it wasn’t paid entertainment, thanks for giving me so much more than just entertainment. Thanks to cast and crew for making a show that was worth an hour! I will miss The Newsroom.

  36. Mark says:

    The third season is exceptional. If the first two seasons had been like this, the show would still be on the air.

  37. David says:

    I am stunned the Sorkin could not get Watertown pronounced correctly by 2 people on 3 diiferent occasions. Was it on purpose? Annoying.