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

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…

Style

Fall 2014 trend: lilac

Push those gray and black sweaters aside and make room for blush and lilac.

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.