Aaron Sorkin defends HBO drama ‘The Newsroom’

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (AP) - Aaron Sorkin is confronting critics of his HBO drama head on.

The Oscar-winning writer-producer defended “The Newsroom” during a Wednesday gathering of the Television Critics Association and denied reports that he fired his entire writing staff. Sorkin said there were staff changes, but all the writers were not dismissed.

“They’re coming to work early. They’re being polite to me,” he joked. “I want the old gang back.”

Sorkin spent most of his 30 minutes in front of TV critics responding to those who lambasted the series starring Jeff Daniels as a cable news anchor for being inauthentic in its portrayal of women and the cable news industry. He said because the first season was written and filmed before it debuted in June, it was impossible to address any concerns.

“I completely get why you do what you do,” Jeff Daniels told critics inside the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton. “God bless you. You don’t do it for me, and you never have. It took me a long time as an actor to stop reading you.”

Sorkin announced he was hiring consultants with real-world newsroom experience for the second season.

“I think it can only add to the show,” he said.

The series, which also stars Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Sam Waterston, is currently airing its first season. The premiere attracted a healthy 2.1 million viewers.

HBO gave the green light to a second season of “The Newsroom” after just two episodes aired. Sorkin said the new season will debut next June, and the show’s ripped-from-the-headlines plots will be about “nine to 18 months behind” real-world happenings.

“The Social Network” and “The West Wing” mastermind also teased that Sunday’s episode will be set during “the night we got (Osama) bin Laden.”

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Online:

http://www.hbo.com/thenewsroom

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AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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