Now that we know the name, basic plot line and character sketches for his cable news drama, Aaron Sorkin's new HBO series sounds a lot like all of his old network shows. Based on a pilot script he obtained, TVNewser's Alex Weprin reports, "The name 'Newsroom' (or possibly “The Newsroom,' HBO hasn’t decided whether to add a 'the') is likely to remind Sorkin fans of one of his earliest TV series, the critically acclaimed but short lived ABC program Sports Night." We would add the fated Hollywood-centric series Studio 60 on Sunset Strip and the no-explanation-needed hit The West Wing to the list of similar-sounding Sorkin series name. The strategy basically amounts to naming the media-centric show after the place where most of the action happens. Heck, even The Social Network sort of fits the mold.
Predictable name aside, Newsroom also sounds it makes the most of Sorkin's unique ability to blend the real world with TV fantasy. Weprin details how the show "exists in a universe in which [the show's fictional cable news network] UBS competes with CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, and in a world complete with ABC and NBC." He also reveals references not only to Dan Rather and CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton but also to the internal drama at MSNBC, which supposedly served as the inspiration for UBS:
One of the key plot points of the pilot (spoiler alert!) is when McCallister is forced to get a new executive producer, after his old EP “Don” defects to the new 10 PM program hosted by his former protege, “Elliot." … That situation bears a striking similarity to one at MSNBC last year. Countdown host Keith Olbermann lost his EP Izzy Povich and a number of staffers to a new 10 PM program hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell. O’Donnell was Countdown‘s regular substitute host.
We're looking forward to Sorkin's next project in which he'll hopefully take on the exciting world of blogging. Suggested name: The Bedroom.