Aaron Sorkin: I didn't know how 'The Newsroom' was going to end
The lights are about to dim on the HBO’s The Newsroom. The drama, created by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and focusing on fictional cable news channel ACN, begins its final season on Nov. 9, and will wrap up its story in a tight six episodes. “It was because of my schedule,” Sorkin says of the shortened season. “But, as it turned out, six was the right number. I don’t know what we would have done with a seventh episode.”
So what’s in these final hours? EW talked to Sorkin about weddings, power plays, and Twitter scandals.
EW: Will there be a time jump when the show premieres?
AARON SORKIN: We’re ahead about five months. However, once the season starts each episode begins right after the last one ended so there are no time jumps during the season. It’s a very compressed season. Once again, we’re telling one story throughout the whole season, there are stories that come off like branches, but there’s one story that we begin in the first episode and goes to the end.
Can you tease the main story?
Well, without giving too much away, it’s something that we’ve been talking about for the last 2 years: government and journalism. A lot of people feel like the current administration has been really tough on reporters and whistleblowers. I realize I’m not making it sound exciting but it involves one of our characters in a lot of jeopardy. Our people have a story that was given to them by a government whistleblower and the Justice Department wants the name of their source and they won’t give it up. So we see how far they’re willing to go for that.
Will the fallout from Jerry (Hamish Linklater) and Genoa play in?
It does a little bit. But the bigger thing that comes along is that we meet Reese’s father’s children by his next wife so we meet his half-brother and his half-sister is Kat Dennings. And they own a 45-percent share of the controlling stock in the company and that begins a story rolling of a hostile takeover of AWN.
Will (Jeff Daniels) proposed to Mac (Emily Mortimer) in the finale. Are they still engaged?
Again without giving too much away, I knew going into this season that they’re gonna have to get married. There’s gonna have to be a wedding. How do you do a wedding that we haven’t seen before on TV? And I think we came up with a way.
Is Maggie back on stable ground?
When we meet Maggie at the beginning of the season, she sort of has the eye of the tiger. She is trying to shed every rotten thing that’s happened to her in the last few years and toughen up and breathe new life into herself. She really completes that part of her character arc this season.
Is Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) still dating Hallie (Grace Gummer)?
Yeah Jim is still dating Hallie, but there’s tension in that relationship. Hallie is actually now working for ACN Digital at the beginning of the season. And mirroring something that happened at MSNBC a while back when someone tweeted a quip that was offensive to Republicans. It was a big deal—MSNBC had to apologize. They had to fire the producer who sent the tweet and everything. So something very similar happens to Hallie. She in the middle of the night, really tired, tweets something from ACN’s account, sort of immediately realizes what she’s done, deletes it but it’s too late. That begins a story that lasts the whole season, too.
How do you feel about this last season? Excited? Sad?
I’m really excited. I do feel it’s a really solid season. I think we’re wrapping up a lot of stories in a nice way. I miss everybody already but I’m in the editing room every day with the show so for me I don’t have postpartum depression yet. But that will come, I promise. On the other side of the wall from the editing room is our stage, so I can hear them pulling apart our set and throwing it in dumpsters, so that’s hard.
Did the show end how you thought it would? Did things evolve?
For most of the time, I didn’t know how the show was going to end. I would have small images of what I wanted to see. But the closer I got to the end of the season in terms of writing, the more I was able to see the end of the season finale. Once we got there, it happened more easily than I thought it was going to.