There are certain showrunners in TV land that are as big as the actors they cast in their series.
Joss Whedon, Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley -- those names will draw viewers regardless of subject matter.
Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin is another, so it's a big deal when his latest series, "The Newsroom," hits the air Sunday night at 10 p.m.
Like "Sports Night" and "Studio 60," "The Newsroom" is an insider's look at how TV is made. This time, it's about veteran newscaster Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), who has been phoning it in for years until he loses it one day talking to a group of college kids. After the rant goes viral, Will goes on "vacation," but when he does return, it's as a changed man.
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As with all Sorkin series, especially "The West Wing," the characters shown are the ideals of what the business is supposed to be rather than what it, in reality, is. The series is an indictment of all of the cable news networks, none of whom actually practice "news" when shouting from a particular viewpoint gets a better response from the viewers.
"The Newsroom" seems to be the logical successor to Paddy Chayefsky's network, with McAvoy as the modern-day Howard Beale.
The series includes a veteran cast with Sam Waterston as Will's old-school producer; Emily Mortimer as Will's producer/ex-girlfriend; and Jane Fonda as the network's bottom-line owner.
Having the series run on HBO is probably the best news for Sorkin, since it gives him greater freedom to show his vision, unlike his previous shows, which were subject to the whim of the networks and ratings.
And hopefully, we'll get at least one or two conversations with characters pontificating while walking briskly down a hall.
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: USA has a new "Common Law" at 10 p.m. tonight.
On Sunday, a new "True Blood" (HBO, 9 p.m.) precedes the premiere of "The Newsroom."
Also on cable is a new "Falling Skies," (TNT, 9 p.m.), followed by the premiere of "The Great Escape" at 10 p.m. "Longmire" (A&E, 10 p.m.) is new, following a new "The Glades."