Is HBO cleaning house, and perhaps sweeping away dead or underperforming weight? Just one week after the cable network announced the upcoming fifth season of “Boardwalk Empire” would be its last—news which surprised many of its fans—HBO announced that Aaron Sorkin’s troubled drama “The Newsroom” would also end (read: be canceled, gently) after its upcoming final season.
The bulletin about “The Newsroom” is perhaps not a total surprise given that the show was never fully embraced by either audiences or critics. In fact, the latter were harsh toward the show and its vacillating tone of comedy and drama, though the series picked up Emmys nonethless. “The Newsroom” seemed to pick up critical notices in season two, but ratings never improved significantly and it appears that HBO is cutting out the fat and focusing on proven winners; “Boardwalk Empire” finished one of its finest seasons, but ratings have been flat at best. The news also comes on the heels of “The Newsroom” Emmy upset — lead actor Jeff Daniels winning Best Actor in a TV Drama at the 2013 Emmys over “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston and a crop of tough competition.
The full press release from HBO:
The Emmy®-winning HBO drama series THE NEWSROOM will begin production on its third and final season this spring, with debut slated for fall, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “THE NEWSROOM is classic Aaron Sorkin – smart, riveting and thought-provoking,” said Lombardo. “I’m sure this farewell season will be one to remember.”
Created by showrunner Aaron Sorkin (Oscar® winner for writing “The Social Network,” executive producer and creator of the multiple Emmy® winner “The West Wing”), THE NEWSROOM follows the members of a cable news team on their quixotic mission to do the news well in the face of a fickle audience, corporate mandates and tangled personal relationships. Sorkin, Scott Rudin and Alan Poul return as executive producers, with Paul Lieberstein (“The Office”) joining the show as an executive producer.
Returning cast regulars include Jeff Daniels (who received an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the show last September), Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel and Olivia Munn.