HBO Original Series “THE NEWSROOM” Debuts August 1
Created by Aaron Sorkin (Oscar® winner and executive producer/writer of the multiple Emmy® winner The West Wing), THE NEWSROOM, set at the fictional cable network ACN, follows the news team on their quixotic mission to reclaim the legacy of Murrow and Cronkite in the face of a fickle audience, corporate mandates and tangled personal relationships. This brand new ten-episode HBO drama series premieres Wednesday, August 1 at 9pm, exclusively on HBO.
News stories covered in the series are actual past news events. Viewers are offered the opportunity to relive the news that made headlines as they watch it unfold for the show’s characters who race to put together the broadcast.
Jeff Daniels (Golden Globe nominee for The Squid and the Whale, Something Wild and The Purple Rose of Cairo) stars as news anchor Will McAvoy, and Emily Mortimer (Hugo, Shutter Island) stars as MacKenzie McHale, his new executive producer – and ex-girlfriend. Also starring are: Sam Waterston (Oscar® nominee for The Killing Fields) as Charlie Skinner; John Gallagher, Jr. (Tony winner for Spring Awakening) as Jim Harper; Alison Pill (HBO’s In Treatment) as Margaret Jordan; Thomas Sadoski (Tony nominee for Reasons to Be Pretty) as Don Keefer; Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as Neal Sampat; and Olivia Munn (I Don’t Know How She Does It) as Sloan Sabbith.
A favorite with viewers, news anchor Will McAvoy has found a safe niche with bankable ratings on his 8pm flagship cable show, “News Night.” Numbed by success, McAvoy has become stoic, complacent, cynical – content not to rock the boat as he delivers the nightly news straight down the middle of the road – dialing it in as he avoids ruffling feathers with anything resembling politics. What fire he still has, he reserves for the cutting sarcasm and general unpleasantness that earn him no fans with his news team.
In a literal blink of an eye – or perhaps an optical illusion – McAvoy is catapulted from apathy to engagement when a spontaneous outburst leads him to tackle the principles of American patriotism in a public forum. Surviving the professional fallout from his unexpected tirade following an enforced vacation, McAvoy returns to work to discover that most of his staff has jumped ship for another show and is forced to work with several new team members brought on board during his absence.
McAvoy’s boss, Charlie Skinner, the unapologetically old-school president of ACN’s news division, laments the changing face of the news. Setting the stage for Will’s return to the standard set by news legends such as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, Charlie covertly orchestrates the hiring of Will’s new executive producer, the one person who can restore Will’s passion and bring the best out of him – whether Will wants it or not.
Will’s new executive producer is MacKenzie McHale, back from 26 months embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan. MacKenzie was once romantically involved with Will and knows the idealism he has buried beneath a veneer of apathy and cynicism. With their shared past, she knows exactly how good he can be. Even more unsettling for him, she challenges Will to abandon the successful, middle-of-the-road approach that has made him so popular with both sides of the aisle, and realize his full potential by delivering the news with integrity.
Also imposed upon Will are Jim Harper, Margaret Jordan, Don Keefer, Neal Sampat and Sloan Sabbith, the newsroom staff. Although this group finds itself off to a tumultuous start when breaking news comes over the wire, they immediately come together for one elusive goal: to do TV news well. Jim Harper is MacKenzie’s loyal senior show producer. Though only 27 years old, Jim is more like the old-school reporter Charlie than he is like his contemporaries. He finds himself instantly smitten with Margaret Jordan, a young intern-turned-associated producer, who is already in a relationship with Don Keefer, Will’s former executive producer. Neal Sampat, a young, resourceful self-made newsman writes Will’s blog and scours the Internet for stories, often finding leads his colleagues have missed. Sloan Sabbith is ACN’s financial news analyst.
Recently renewed for a second season, THE NEWSROOM was created by Aaron Sorkin; executive producers, Aaron Sorkin, Scott Rudin and Alan Poul; co-executive producers, Denis Biggs, Greg Mottola and Paul Redford.
Aaron Sorkin has made a career of pulling back the curtain and showing the inner workings of his various subjects. From The West Wing of the White House to the courtrooms of A Few Good Men, from the control rooms of Sports Night to the locker rooms of Moneyball, from the inner circle of The Social Network to the cable network of THE NEWSROOM, he invites audiences to take a sneak peek at the assorted machinations of American life shifting into gear. Finding the pulse of the operation, Sorkin depicts the human drama of the individuals behind the scenes and brings the often messy inner workings to the screen with humor and insight.
THE NEWSROOM premieres on Wednesday, August 1 at 9pm on HBO. Viewers can also catch the series an hour earlier at 8pm on HBO HD.