9:32pm PT by Lacey Rose, Erik Hayden
Jeff Daniels: 'The Newsroom' Returning for Season 3
The ACN News Night team will be back for another season.
On Tuesday night, Jeff Daniels tweeted that The Newsroom was picked up by HBO. "It's official. #Newsroom coming back for a Season 3," the actor, who plays anchor Will McAvoy, wrote. The news comes a month after HBO programming president Michael Lombardo noted publicly that he'd be "shocked" if the series didn't return. The hold-up has been creator Aaron Sorkin, who will need to pen the Steve Jobs film script before turning his attention back to Newsroom.
The Sorkin creation, set behind the scenes at a cable news show, will have no shortage of news events to cover in a third season, including the Newtown School shooting (December, 2012) and the Boston Marathon massacre (April, 2013). The series’ second season, which bowed on July 14, will end with a two-parter taking place on election night on Sept. 15.
Though the series has found itself on the receiving end of media criticism since its debut, it has performed for HBO. In addition to decent ratings -- the season two premiere lured 2.2 million, up four percent from the season one premiere -- Newsroom has delivered a passionate, elite viewership that includes such bold-face names as Dan Rather and Brian Williams, and the kind of high-brow conversation that comes with it.
"We're enormously happy with the show," Lombardo said of the series during the press presentation in late July. A few months earlier, he had been more specific about the allure during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “It felt like the show was hitting a smart, adult audience that many of our dramas weren’t," he noted. "For a thinking audience, it’s appointment viewing." (The premium cable network’s other dramas include genre hits True Blood and Game of Thrones.)
Daniels' tweet comes on the heels of him breaking into the particularly competitive lead drama actor category in this year’s Emmy race. On the day of his nomination, Daniels told THR: “There’s a ‘we absolutely love you’ and ‘we absolutely hate you’ to The Newsroom, and this is a stamp of approval that says we’re not going anywhere. And all of us want to be doing this for years.” Recurring star Jane Fonda also nabbed a nomination for her role as Leona Lansing, CEO of Atlantis World Media, which owns the cable network on which McAvoy’s News Night airs.
In a THR cover story from mid-June, Sorkin spoke at length about the changes he had in store for the show's second season, including an overarching legal storyline that spans all nine episodes. The latter was inspired by a 1998 CNN news segment alleging, among other things, that the U.S. had used sarin nerve gas that killed more than 100 men, women and children in Laos during the Vietnam War. The report -- a heavily promoted story for a new CNN/Time series called NewsStand -- was later discredited and the network vilified.
"I hope some of the people who were turned off by the show last year take a second look and maybe are a little bit happier," said the show's creator, who has multiple Emmys and an Oscar to his name. "But you're playing a dangerous game if you write to try to change people's minds."
Update: In a statement on Wednesday, HBO says "We are excited about proceeding to a Season 3 and are continuing our conversations with Aaron about schedules.”