Aaron Sorkin is back on television, and from the looks of the trailer of his latest show, “The Newsroom,” this is a very good thing. Coming off of back-to-back Oscar nominations for his screenwriting work on “The Social Network” and “Moneyball” (winning the first one, but losing to “The Descendants” in February), Sorkin’s return seems like the culmination of all the shows that have come before, including “The West Wing,” “Sports Night” and, yes, even “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
The key to Sorkin’s continued success is simple: he takes audiences “behind the scenes” of something they don’t usually see, whether it’s a live sports show, the White House, or the creation of a social media empire. When it comes to his television endeavors, Sorkin either uses two close-knit friends as his protagonists or creates an idealized — yet human enough to relate to — version of a hero that he can use as a sounding board for a variety of social and political issues. After ‘Studio 60’ used the buddy system to the end result of a one-and-done season, “The Newsroom” stars Jeff Daniels as news anchor Will McAvoy, who is one of the nation’s most popular anchors but sets off a media firestorm when he says a few things about America that would make Josiah Bartlett blush. It’s not unlike Judd Hirsch‘s tirade that started off the pilot episode of ‘Studio 60,’ with McCallister saying everything he is not supposed to say off the air. Daniels looks like he more than up for the challenge of playing McAvoy, who will have an uphill battle with his new executive producer and former lover Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer), network president Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) and the CEO of the network’s parent company, Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda).
Debuting June 24th on HBO, “The Newsroom” could be the Sorkin’s greatest creation, combining the backstage antics that made “Sports Night” such a charmer, while adding a lead character that’s more angry and anti-hero than President Bartlett but will still have the audience rooting for the truths and virtues he stands for. Or it could be a complete abject failure. The trailer, however, points more to the former than the latter. [AwardsDaily]