Aaron Sorkin defends ‘The Newsroom’

Jeff Daniels stars in "The Newsroom," airing Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

Aaron Sorkin hears your criticism.

The creator of “The Newsroom” acknowledges the commentary that the female characters on his behind-the-scenes drama about a 24/7 cable news channel are written as smart, yet functionally incompetent. He just doesn’t have the same opinion.

“I 100 percent disagree with it,” Sorkin told reporters gathered at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday. “I think that the female characters on the show are, first of all, every bit the equals of the men. We plainly see [women] being good at their job beginning with the first episode.  … The men and the women screw up in roughly the exact same way.”

Once their intelligence has been established, Sorkin says, he likens his character’s screw-ups to slipping on banana peels. “That’s just comedy,” he said. “These are people reaching unrealistically high, and they’re going to fall down a lot. Those are the things that I love writing, writing romantically and idealistic, and it’s by no means a review of how the news was done.”

Star Jeff Daniels, who plays news anchor Will McAvoy, stood by the creative decisions made by his boss. “We come on with these big warts and flaws,” Daniels says of Sorkin’s characters, “and I love that about his writing. Emily [Mortimer's] character is established as smart, and then she keeps screwing up. That’s one of the things that Will loves about her.”

One thing some critics don’t particularly care for about Will is his habit of pontificating. Though grand monologues have always been a hallmark of Sorkin’s work (from “The West Wing” to “The Social Network”), the writer has been accused of using Will as a mouthpiece for his own strong opinions.

“I want to make a clear distinction between me and the characters that are in the show,” Sorkin told reporters, adding that he tends to write about subjects “I actually don’t know very much about” and citing “Moneyball,” his film about the inner workings of the Oakland A’s baseball team, in particular. “I get pumped full of information by people who do know what they are talking about so that I can find the point of friction and write an episode,” he said, admitting, “political opinions that I have are at the level of sophistication of someone who has a BFA in musical theater.”

Still, Sorkin, and perhaps more importantly HBO, is happy with the series that is currently finishing up its first season. Sorkin announced “The Newsroom” Season 2 will begin airing in June 2013, and that he is hiring “paid consultants from television, print and online media representing every part of the ideological and political spectrum that you can imagine” to boost the series’ authenticity moving forward. But, Sorkin added, he already is writing as truthfully as he knows how.

“I’ve only ever tried to write the way I write,” he said. “I haven’t tried to figure out what it is that most people will like and then give it to them. I try to write what I like and what I think my friends would like, and then I keep my fingers crossed that enough other people will like it that I can keep doing it.”

An average of 7 million viewers per episode seem to enjoy what he’s doing on “The Newsroom” — and that’s something even critics might have a hard time arguing about.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…