Aaron Sorkin Explains Why 'The Newsroom' Felt Like a "Pebble in the Shoe"

"I was never able to get it quite right," the writer-director says of the HBO series in a new interview.

Aaron Sorkin was never able to get The Newsroom to where he wanted it to go, which happened for a number of reasons.

In a recent video interview with Vanity Fair in which he discussed his entire career, the Oscar-winning screenwriter dove into the issues he faced with the HBO series.

"I was never able to get it quite right," Sorkin began. "I always felt like I had a pebble in my shoe. I felt like I could write a good scene. I could put a couple of good scenes together." Sorkin compared the situation to a football team that can put together two good quarters of play, but not a full game's worth.

The Newsroom ran for three seasons beginning in 2012 and consisted of 25 episodes. The political drama followed the behind-the-scenes drama of a television news channel where Jeff Daniels starred as anchor Will McAvoy.

Creator and writer Sorkin said the problem started immediately with the first scene of the first episode — a classic moment in the series — in which McAvoy suffers a breakdown.

"Without me realizing it, I was giving a mistaken impression, two mistaken impressions. One was Will McAvoy's 'America isn't the greatest country in the world' speech," Sorkin explained. "What I was writing was a scene about a guy having a nervous breakdown. And now in the auditorium at Northwestern, it was [like The Network's] 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.' I wasn't lecturing America on what was wrong with it."

The other problem occurred because Sorkin made the decision to have the show handle actual large news events that happened. "And because everything would be set in the recent past, I think there was a feeling that I was trying to show the pros how it ought to have been done, that we're going to do that [moment in time] again, but we're going to give it the West Wing treatment."

He continued, "And I was trying to do that. I set it in the recent past because unlike The West Wing — until 9/11 — where I felt comfortable creating a parallel universe, I didn't feel safe making up news. I didn't think it would be real. I didn't want it to be silly. It was just meant to show people putting on the news in a world where doing the news and profit concerns are always competing."

Watch Sorkin's entire career breakdown below.