In particular, they could do without “Newsroom’s” lead character, Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) — who hosts the ACN cable network’s 8 p.m. news program — because he’s always correcting people, particularly the women, on the show.
Nor do the critics/bloggers/ tweeters think much of Mackenzie MacHale (played by Emily Mortimer), Will’s former flame, who has been brought in to revamp his program, because she’s supposed to be so smart and tough — but she still counts with her fingers! Even worse, Mackenzie has realized she still loves Will and so keeps telling him how sorry she is to have cheated on him in the first few episodes.
Note to wives of the male TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2012: If you ever cheat on your husband, apologize once, but in a “Wanna make something of it?” way, and then never apologize again. They prefer it that way.
To his credit, Sorkin — along with Daniels — nonetheless came to the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel on Wednesday to talk about his show.
“About to have much anticipated ‘Newsroom’ panel. Could go several ways. Much will depend on Sorkin: defensive or self-effacing?” tweeted one critic in anticipation of Sorkin’s apperance.
“We all know there were critics who did not enjoy watching the first four episodes,” Sorkin joked moments after taking his seat on stage. The critics, bloggers and tweeters guffawed — this was the kind of hat-in-hand Sorkin they wanted to see.
“And there were critics that did,” Sorkin continued. “But obviously, you prefer praise of a show be unanimous.’’
“Any time people are talking this much about a television show, it’s good for television, for people watching television and people who work in television — that’s everybody in this room,” Sorkin continued.
The critics, the bloggers and the tweeters simpered. This was going to be a love fest.
Then something went wrong.
Sorkin took a moment to tell the critics that (a) the writing staff on the show had not been fired; and (b) he had not kept on staff an ex-girlfriend — two elements of a story that had been reported somewhere and picked up everywhere, maybe even by some of those in the room.
“Seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff,” Sorkin said. “They’re acting very strange. They’re coming to work early, being polite to me, and I want the old gang back. I love the writing staff.”
Sorkin also said that the female employee in question, Corinne Kingsbury, is not an ex-girlfriend. Sorkin said Kingsbury is on the writing staff because she’s extremely talented — and he noted that he doesn’t have a current girlfriend or ex-girlfriend employed anywhere on the show.