Good news: Aaron Sorkin's highly-anticipated, yet-to-be-named cable news drama is going to become a reality. HBO announced that they've ordered a ten-episode season of the show, which will mark the prolific screenwriter's return to TV and his first major project since the critically acclaimed film 'The Social Network.'
The series will focus on a cable news anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, and his staff, who "set out on a patriotic and quixotic mission to do the news well in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements."
HBO has already recruited some big names to guest star in the weekly, hour-long drama. In addition to Daniels, Olivia Munn will play Sloan, a newsroom staffer, and Sam Waterston will play their boss. Dev Patel, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pil, John Gallagher, Jr., and Thomas Sadoski will fill out the newsroom staff.
She joins a starry lineup including Olivia Munn, Emily Mortimer, Jeff Daniels and Dev Patel ('Slumdog Millionaire').
Kennedy, who inherited her nickname "Kick" from her adventurous great-aunt Kathleen, is a Stanford graduate and recent Strasberg Institute acting student. The Sorkin drama marks her TV acting debut.
"I'd barely heard of Facebook," admitted Sorkin. "I'd heard of it, but I'd heard of it the way I'd heard of a carburetor. You know, I can't pop the hood of my car, point at it and tell you what it does."
Aaron Sorkin to Guest As Himself on '30 Rock,' Son of 'Real Housewives' Star to Guest on 'Glee' and More
According to Entertainment Weekly, the Oscar nominee will play himself in an episode set to air this spring.
Will he finally put to rest the 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' / '30 Rock' weirdness? Time will tell.
The 'West Wing' creator has appeared on screen before. Besides a cameo in 'The Social Network,' he recently popped up on 'Entourage.'
In other casting news ...
• Grayson Smiley, son of 'Real Housewives of Orange County' fixture Slade Smiley, will appear on tonight's episode of 'Glee.' Grayson, who has a rare form of brain cancer, will pop up in a scene where the characters perform at a children's hospital. [The Orange County Register]
• Robert Taylor has been cast in A&E's 'Longmire.' The 'Matrix' actor will play Walt Longmire, a widowed sheriff in Absaroka County, Wyo. The series is based on Craig Johnson's series of mystery novels. [Deadline Hollywood]
• Tommy Dewey will star opposite Gary Cole in Fox's 'Tagged' pilot. The 'Sons of Tucson' actor will play Wally Percy, son of Gary Cole's coroner character James Percy. [Deadline Hollywood]
This one will be a behind-the-scenes look at the goings on at a cable news channel. We can assume that it's going to be well-written, but will it be successful and long-running like 'The West Wing'? Short-lived and beloved like 'Sports Night'? Or one season and out like the good but uneven 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'?
To make sure it's successful, here are six things we'd like to see in Sorkin's new show.
Austin will mentor wannabe wrestlers as they try out for a spot on the WWE roster. The show was previously on MTV, but will now air on USA beginning April 4 after Monday Night Raw.
The wrestler guest starred on 'Chuck' last year.
In other TV news ...
• HBO picked up Aaron Sorkin's new pilot. The series takes place behind the scenes at a cable news show. Keith Olbermann will reportedly contribute on-air rants for the show. [Entertainment Weekly]
• Greg Grunberg is set to star in the pilot 'Big Mike' for A&E. The actor will play a skilled plus-sized San Diego police detective. [Deadline]
• People watch more TV when they're snowed in. Duh. [THR]
As we enter the thick of pilot season, networks have been greenlighting pilots to consider for the 2011-2012 season. One of the biggest in the works is NBC's 'Smash.' According to Deadline, it's based on an idea from Steven Spielberg about putting on a Broadway musical, and would feature original songs by Grammy- and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Among the other pilots picked up this weekend were a comedy called 'Vince Uncensored,' from Conan O'Brien's production company (it went to CBS, according to Entertainment Weekly), a thriller/drama called 'Exit Strategy,' starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua (snagged by Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter, along with two comedies, per Deadline), and David E. Kelley's previously D.O.A. 'Wonder Woman' (which landed at NBC, reports Deadline).
In other TV news ...
• Matthew Weiner would love to start writing the fifth season of 'Mad Men,' if AMC would sign a deal already. "I have every intention of making the show when they decide to work out their business with Lionsgate," he said. "I can't wait to come back to work ... I am not looking for a new job." [EW]
• Kevin Smith, Kevin Pollak and Adam Carolla will star in AOL's new nightly talk show. The web video series will team up with the actors' existing podcasts for new episodes every Monday through Thursday, with a best-of installment on Fridays. [AOL]
• Could Keith Olbermann have a new gig already? 'The Social Network' writer Aaron Sorkin has been developing a comedy set behind the scenes at a cable news show. Now that it's getting closer to a pilot pickup and Olbermann is out of a gig, sources are speculating that he could contribute to the series. [EW]
"The Democrats may have moved into the center, but the Republicans have moved into a mental institution."
This piece of political red meat struck us as awfully similar to something Bill Maher said last Thursday when he was on 'The O'Reilly Factor.'
"The left moved to the center and the right moved into a mental institution," Maher had told O'Reilly.
Hmm, maybe not as embarrassing as wearing the same dress on the red carpet, but it looks like two Hollywood liberals have been caught shopping at the same talking points store.
"I do think that socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality," he said to an odd reaction from the crowd.
"Well we're not going to get any deeper than that," Colbert said, but Sorkin wasn't sure if the audience "had heard something profound, or they were offended by that." Maybe they caught Sorkin on 'The View' just one day prior where he laid the same "profound" bombshell on that audience word for word, and who knows where else he's said it. It stops being profound and meaningful when you start printing the t-shirts, Mr. Sorkin.
While talking about 'The Social Network,' his movie about Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, on 'The View' (Weekdays, Syndicated on ABC), Barbara Walters asked Aaron Sorkin what he thinks "Facebook has done to people's lives."
While he thinks Zuckerberg had the best intentions when creating the application; to bring people closer together; Sorkin believes it has done the exact opposite. "I think that socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality," he argued.
A lot of times, when a show that we love gets canceled way too early in its run, we like to trot out the mantra: "It was before its time." But looking at a television landscape with The Office, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation (and that's just one night on one network), I really do think Sports Night may have been too innovative for its own good.
Creator Aaron Sorkin even wanted the sitcom to air without a laugh track, but ABC balked and there is one evident in the first season. It was dropped by the second season, but unfortunately the show was dropped as well after only 45 episodes.
Character relations were front and center, and the humor was much more subtle and dry. In 1998, comedies were still dominating the television landscape, led by traditionally formatted shows like Frasier, Friends, The Drew Carey Show and ABC's TGIF lineup. Maybe the very non-traditional Sports Night should have been an hour long, and acted more like FOX's Ally McBeal.
Here's my wish list for what I want to see this year. Happy Festivus everyone!
- Lost to end on a good note. I don't ask for the entire series to make sense or even for every single question to be answered, but I do want the ending to be satisfying. The final season does scare me, though, if rumors (spoiler spoiler spoiler!) that the bomb reset everything and all of the dead characters are alive again are true. That could be too "Bobby Ewing in the shower," you know? We'll see. I have high hopes.
As previously reported, Rachel Bilson is also slated for a guest spot on a January episode, but before that, Joanna Garcia will appear on the December 7 episode as a former college buddy of Ted's. Peet isn't necessarily known for her comedic roles – or appearing much on television for that matter, but has recently done both as a guest spot on Comedy Central's 'Important Things With Demetri Martin.' Her last major television stint was in 2006, she played Jordan McDeere on the short lived Aaron Sorkin drama, 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.'
The catch? That's also the same turf he covered on another series, 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,' which, while also late, is not particularly lamented by anybody.
'It's going to be what turns out to be the third in the trilogy of TV shows that take place behind the scenes of a TV show, but this will be a different kind of TV show,' Sorkin told the site. "That's all I can let out of the bag right now."
Over at TV Guide magazine, Sorkin says that his next show will once again (like Studio 60 and Sports Night) be set in the world of television, a behind-the-scenes look at...something. He doesn't say what the show will be, but when Studio 60 ended there was talk that he would do a show set at a fictional cable news channel. Considering that all of Sorkin's shows have had some sort of news and/or political side, this seems like a natural. He'll be able to talk about all of the things he wants to talk about in a setting like that.
Sorkin says that he will start working on the show when filming of The Social Network, the big screen movie about the start of Facebook, is over. I can't wait.
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