'Newsroom' cast on critics, season 2
Aaron Sorkin, right, creator/executive producer of "The Newsroom," greets cast member Jeff Daniels at the season 2 premiere of the HBO series at the Paramount Theater on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even the star of HBO's drama "The Newsroom" admits that season one had its growing pains.
Creator Aaron Sorkin's show-about-a-news-show was, along with the now-defunct "Smash," last year's TV series most likely to be hated, or loved __ or one that viewers actually loved to hate. On the hate side were some of those of the conservative-political variety and many, if not more, television critics of every variety; on the other side were the series' devoted fans -- albeit a group that shrank considerably between the time the show debuted and the series' season-one finale.
"Season one, we're guessing," noted actor Jeff Daniels, who portrays the show's central character, cable-news anchorman Will McAvoy. "It's like a first draft. So, for Aaron, he's trying to figure out how to write for me. We're trying to figure out who Will is, who (Will's executive producer) MacKenzie is. Where does the show work, where would it go, what's the direction? So, you almost need a season to figure that out. I think we guessed right quite a lot. But coming into season two, it's like we own it."
Daniels, Sorkin and nearly all of "The Newsroom" staff gathered Wednesday night on the Paramount lot for a premiere party celebrating the series' first second-season episode, which debuts Sunday.
Oddly enough, at once, the opener reveals plenty, and plenty of nothing, about what to expect from the second season.
This undated publicity image released by HBO shows Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in the news drama series, "The Newsroom." The second season premieres Sunday, July 14, at 10 p.m. on HBO. (AP Photo/HBO, Melissa Moseley)
"We kind of play a lot of the cards right at the beginning," explained executive producer Alan Poul. "But we're actually holding back a lot. The idea was not to make the season about what will happen with the big story ... but, rather, how did this happen? How did this become such a mess?"
Actress Allison Pill, who is Will's now not-so-green associate producer, did her best to serve up plot teasers without spoiling surprises for viewers. "What I can say is that there is one overarching storyline that involves a fake story and the sort of legal ramifications of such a thing going on the air," she said. "And I think it's a fascinating kind of season-long story that you have to really pay attention to. It's quick and it's twisted."
And it's likely to continue to polarize both viewers and critics __ something Daniels said he and Sorkin knew the show would do from the start.