Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Creator and exec producer Aaron Sorkin gave a rough layout of how the forthcoming second season of his polarizing HBO cable news drama The Newsroom will play out in terms of covering real-life stories. He told an SRO crowd at PaleyFest 2013 in Beverly Hills tonight that Season 2 will pick up a week after where Season 1 ends and ticked off the topics he’s tackling on the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN): “The Tea Party/American Taliban, the General Election including the primaries and conventions, Trayvon Martin, the Affordable Care Act, and drones.” He said he’s still unsure whether the Newtown school shootings will be included when the show returns with fresh episodes in June. “That’s a tough thing to write about without minimizing or exploiting it or spreading Cheez Whiz around it. It’s a profoundly important moment, and the last thing you want to do is handle it poorly.” Sorkin explained the show “would simply stop our narrative before” it took place. Sorkin also maintained tonight that he doesn’t want Season 2 to polarize viewers or critics as much. “I hope some of the critics who weren’t happy with the first season will take a look at the second and maybe reassess their opinion,” he said. “But no one has ever won a fight with a television critic, and I doubt that I’ll be the first one.” Executive producer Alan Poul added that part of … Read More »
It’s official: HBO has picked up Aaron Sorkin’s hourlong cable news network pilot to series. The now untitled drama (formerly More As This Story Develops), which has been a virtual lock for a series order, centers on a cable news anchor (Jeff Daniels), his new executive producer (Emily Mortimer), his newsroom staff (Alison Pill, John Gallagher Jr, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, Thomas Sadoski), and their boss (Sam Waterston). Together they 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. The size of the order for the series is yet to be determined, but it should be around 10 episodes.
Sorkin wrote the pilot after lengthy research during which he spent time at Keith Olbermann’s and Chris Matthews’ MSNBC shows as well as behind the scenes at Fox News Channel and CNN programs. Sorkin executive produced the pilot, which was directed by Greg Mottola, with Scott Rudin and Alan Poul. This is Sorkin’s fourth series after Sports Night, the Emmy-winning The West Wing and Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, and the first one on cable. Sorkin, who won an Academy Award in March for penning The Social Network, is now the second writer-creator to do an HBO series right after winning an Oscar. Alan Ball followed his Academy Award for American Beauty with HBO’s Six Feet Under.
EXCLUSIVE: Six Feet Under alum Alan Poul is back at HBO with an overall deal. As part of it, the producer-director is set to executive produce Aaron Sorkin’s HBO pilot. Tentatively titled More As This Story Develops, the project centers on cable news anchor Will McCallister (Jeff Daniels), who has his own show, as well as the show’s female executive producer and staff. Poul will executive produce the pilot with Sorkin and Scott Rudin and is set to direct multiple episodes if it goes to series. (The pilot is being directed by Greg Mottola.) Since signing with WME six months ago, Poul has booked two pilot-directing gigs. He helmed TNT’s Perception, the only one from TNT’s recent batch of completed pilots to receive a series order. Poul also just finished directing ABC’s dramedy Good Christian Bitches. In addition to his stint on Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under, on which he served as co-executive producer/executive producer and director for the entire five-season run, Poul directed the pilot for CBS’ Swingtown and served as an exec producer on the series.
Former Dexter director-producer Michael Cuesta, who most recently helmed the pilot for CBS’ cop family drama Blue Bloods, has signed on to direct Showtime’s drama pilot Homeland, a psychological thriller from former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon based on an Israeli format.
In other notable recent pilot director signings, former Six Feet Under director-executive producer Alan Poul has been tapped to direct and executive produce TNT’s drama pilot Perception starring Eric McCormack as a brilliant neuroscientist helping the FBI, Gregory Hoblit (Untraceable) is set to direct another TNT pilot, the untitled Allan Loeb cop drama project starring Steven Weber and D.L Hughley, which is based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory. On the broadcast side, Danny Cannon has come on board to direct Fox’s drama pilot Alcatraz. The gig marks Cannon’s first collaboration with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, which is co-producing the pilot with Warner Bros. TV. Cannon, who made his TV directing debut on the pilot for the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced CSI, has worked primarily with the WBTV-based Bruckheimer TV. His most notable effort on a non-Bruckheimer-produced project came last spring when he directed and executive produced the CW/WBTV pilot Nikita.
At ABC Family, Wendey Stanzler is directing drama pilot Nine Lives starring Skyler Samuels and Amy Pietz, Keith Truesdell is shooting the untitled Brenda Hampton pilot, and … Read More »
HBO has yet to make a decision whether it will pick up comedy pilot Tilda to series but it has put in place a team in case it does. Six Feet Under alum Alan Poul has come on board as an executive producer. Writers Alexa Junge and John Hoffman have also been brought in as executive producers and to work with co-creator/executive producer Bill Condon on conceptualizing the potential series. Condon directed the pilot for Tilda from a script he co-wrote with Cynthia Mort. Tilda stars Diane Keaton as a powerful and reclusive Hollywood blogger (not unlike Nikki Finke) and boasts an A-list cast including Ellen Page and Jason Patric. The pilot was shot in June but the show has had a rocky production and post-production run marred by creative differences.