July 02, 2012 12:17pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
HBO Renews Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' and Vampire Drama 'True Blood'
Breaking news from HBO: Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom has been renewed for a second season and vampire drama True Blood has been picked up for a sixth.
After debuting to the premium cable network's third-best drama series bow, HBO has picked up the Jeff Daniels starrer about the inner workings of a cable news network from the Emmy-creator of The West Wing and the and Oscar-winning scripter of The Social Network.
The drama, which counts Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Jane Fonda among its ensemble cast, bowed June 24 to 2.1 million viewers, behind only Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones among HBO's drama launches since 2008.
Newsroom, which has been compared to the trials and tribulations of Keith Olbermann despite arguments to the contrary from Sorkin, marks the prolific scribe's first foray into cable, after Sports Night, The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had homes on broadcast networks.
"This is meant to be an idealistic, romantic, swashbuckling, sometimes comedic but very optimistic, upward-looking look at a group of people who are often looked at cynically," Sorkin told The Hollywood Reporter.
Sorkin also is teaming with The Office's John Krasinski for a Chauteau Marmont miniseries at HBO, based on the book Life at the Marmont, by the Los Angeles hotel's co-owners Raymond R. Sarlot and Fred Basten.
True Blood, meanwhile, will return for a sixth season next year. The series returned this summer for its fifth season, drawing 5.2 million viewers, down 1 million year-over-year. Its most recent episode drew 4.66 million viewers and ranked as Sunday's highest-rated cable show.
Showrunner Alan Ball, who developed the Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer series based on the book series by Charlane Harris, will step down from his position next season, with Mark Hudis (Nurse Jackie) taking over the position. Ball will stay on as an EP and continue to work on other projects for HBO, including his upcoming drama series Banshee on sister network Cinemax.