Screenwriter, producer and playwright Aaron Sorkin has seduced the Oscars and
the Emmys alike with his passion for going behind the scenes. He's taken
audiences to the other side of the cameras, the dugout, the Oval Office and the
naval court, but it's never been about the nuts and bolts. It's about how
individuals coexist, resolve tension, hit insane deadlines or goals, and
function as a team. Put more simply, it's about the quirk, brilliance and idiocy
of humanity. This time, Sorkin is taking America into "The
Newsroom," so we review his past hits across TV and movies to reveal what we
can expect when the highly anticipated series premieres Sunday, June 24, at 10
p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
"The Newsroom" investigates the damaged, partisan cable news scene and what
happens when America's most trusted anchor (Jeff Daniels) gets real. Teasers like the one
above reflect a classic Sorkin tone, as well as a strong woman (Emily Mortimer) at the helm of the show within the
show. John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Olivia Munn and Dev Patel close out the ensemble,
with Jane Fonda in a recurring guest spot. Keep an eye
out for anyone in the clips below. Sorkin has a tendency to collaborate
with the same actors and behind-the-scenes players, which may go back to his
Aaron Sorkin's budding Broadway career was cut short when he penned "A Few Good Men." Hollywood swept in, bought the
big-screen rights and claimed Sorkin as its own. His Oscar-nominated legal drama
followed the case of two Marines accused of murder. Hot-shot Navy lawyer Kaffee
(Tom Cruise) was expected to sell out the accused
soldiers with a plea bargain and brush the incident under the rug. Instead, he
followed Lt. Cmdr. Galloway's (Demi Moore) instincts and took their case to
court. To get to the bottom of the hazing incident gone wrong, Kaffee ultimately
pushed Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) to his breaking point on the
stand. He was rewarded with one of the most memorable lines in the history of
movies, "You can't handle the truth!"
After "A Few Good Men" came a few more good movies: "Malice" and "The American President." Then, in the late '90s,
Sorkin set his sights on the small screen ...
Night" took TV audiences beyond the cameras and into the makings of a cable
sports program. Anchors Casey (Josh Charles) and Dan (Peter Krause) were the faces of the faux show, but
the series was about the whole team. The quirky crew
members bantered their way through talent problems, network pressure
and personal drama. The tense, deadline-oriented environment reflected Sorkin's
fast-paced dialogue-writing style interspersed with juicy character
monologues, as well director-producer Tommy Schlamme's now-signature
In spite of critical acclaim, "Sports Talk" barely lasted two seasons. HBO,
Showtime and USA considered picking up the series, but Sorkin had already
shifted his attention to another project.
'The West Wing'/NBC
"The West Wing"
With Emmy favorite "The West
Wing," Sorkin proved TV could be smart and successful. The NBC political
drama followed President Josiah Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) residency in the Oval
Office and offered a dramatized peek at how our system works at the highest
level, albeit from a very liberal standpoint. In an effort to stay on top of
their agendas and crises, an ensemble of brilliant, likeable White House
staffers raced around the halls talking a mile a minute. Whether they were
pushing legislation through, facing a public relations scandal or battling
personal demons like addiction and heartbreak, these characters were dedicated
to doing what they deemed right.
Sorkin penned the first four seasons of "The West Wing," securing a
reputation for being, as many of his characters, brilliant but flawed. After a
tussle with higher-ups, he handed the reins of "The West Wing" to collaborator
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"
In 2005, Sorkin took on the politics and romance of producing a late-night
sketch comedy show, a la "Saturday
Night Live." Sorkin's ode to the TV biz centered on writer Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and producer Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford), who had a supportive executive
producing partnership that reflected his own relationship with Tommy Schlamme.
There were many parallels to Sorkin's life as he investigated the balance
between making good television and appeasing the bosses upstairs (Amanda Peet and Steve Webber), as well as the
executive producers' relationships with their stars (Sarah Paulson, D.L. Hughley, Nate Corddry).
on the Sunset Strip" generated immense buzz and displayed Sorkin's signature
style, but lasted only a season. Sorkin was defensive of criticism at the
time, but he recently came out to Vulture, blaming his writing for the show's
failure. And then it was back to the big screen ...
Remaining contestants Trace Adkins and Penn Jillette have mutual respect for each other. "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on...
Remaining contestants Trace Adkins and Penn Jillette have mutual respect for each other. "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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