Aaron Sorkin Reuses His Previous Characters for THE NEWSROOM

     June 25, 2012


Last night was the premiere of Aaron Sorkin‘s new HBO series, The Newsroom.  The show felt like Sorkin² in terms of the dialogue, the big soaring speeches, and the important parables.  It also felt like a bit of a retread as it quickly became apparent to Sorkin fans that he was reusing characters from his previous series’, specifically Sports Night and The West Wing.  Obviously, this comparison is based off only one episode, and perhaps The Newsroom will evolve to where these new characters will actually feel new.

Hit the jump to see how Sorkin’s new characters compare to his old ones.


The grumpy leader who’s the smartest guy in the room, and has an instant recall of statistics, but can’t remember the names of his staff (except he actually does).  He may be off-putting, especially because he’s in a position of power, but deep down he has a good heart.


The peppy executive producer who’s the smartest gal in the room.  She’s deeply passionate about her work, but she can’t be a bit clumsy and frazzled.  However, she’ll be the firm, no-nonsense hand on the wheel when things start spinning out of control.


The male subordinate who’s deeply loyal and whip-smart, but also lacks confidence.  He will develop a crush on the female subordinate, but because he trips over his words and only shows his strength in a crisis, it will take time for their romance to develop.


The female subordinate who’s a neophyte but she’s going to go places if someone just gives her a chance.  Someone gives her a chance.  She’s also destined to fall for the male subordinate once she finds out his feelings for her.


The person-of-color who’s shyness masks a remarkable intellect.  He works hard, but he’s not showy, and his quiet reserve makes everything he says carry more weight and surprises people who hadn’t noticed him.


The grumpy leader’s best friend and voice-of-reason.  He’s the only one who can tell the grumpy leader off, and knows the grumpy leader better than anyone else.  The best friend is also a drunk.

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  • junierizzle

    Why are people going out of their way to rag on this show?

    I really liked it. It has a great cast and it was very entertaining.

    For whatever reason people are criticizing Sorkin for being Sorkin? What gives?

  • Duane

    I have yet to watch this show, so will refrain from passing judgment. But goddam, the name MacKenzie McHale annoys me. Like really annoys me.

  • Really?

    Still no mention of the Jesse Eisenberg cameo. Great reporting!

    • RunnerX13

      The above isn’t a news report.

  • elikias

    Did you write this or just steal it? I

  • elikias

    Did you write this or just steal it? If the former, I have to agree with the general consensus that you’re an out-of-touch firebrand whose opinion is relevant to no one but you. Jed Bartlett is grumpy? Have you seen the West Wing? He’s the smartest guy in the room, sure, but he knows who he is and what he wants to say, and he can be diplomatic, unlike the lead in this who seems much more internally conflicted.

    Never seen Sports Night, so I don’t know about that.

    Indian guy = Black guy? Umm, that’s a little bit surface, isn’t it? I mean, I guess they have one thing in common in that neither of them was totally fleshed out as a character in the respective pilots enough to say who this person is.

    Charlie = Leo. Okay, sounds about right. Nice work. 1 out of 4 by my count.

    I won’t speak with authority on a show I haven’t seen, that would be pretentious, so I won’t comment on the Sports Night comparisons.

  • Kurt

    Elikias you should really check out Sports Night, I started rewatching it on Netflix toget ready for Newsroom and fell in love again with it. Great show.

    As far as the article, almost any show that has a central leader and supporting cast of characters is the same. So what, its the underlying personal characteristics that make the character who he or she is.

  • Nate H

    So what if they’re similar. I would be pissed if I tuned in to watch a Sorkin show only to find that it’s not like Sorkin at all. Sports Night is also similar to the West Wing, character-wise. That’s why we love Sorkin. If you don’t like him, then don’t watch the show. Next…

  • Rev. Slappy

    How many books did Faulkner write about the Snopes family? Criticizing writers for having recurring themes, settings or archetypes in their work shows a pretty thorough ignorance of the craft.

  • LP

    I love, LOVE, LOVED(!!!!) Sports Night, and having more of that show live on in any incarnation is a great development to me. Beside, where’s the Danny Rydell and Casey McCall parallel?

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  • Pocketses

    First of all, in your paper-thin analysis of the characters presented in a single hour of television, it’s good to see you failing to make a single connection to a Studio 60 character, I guess we can just forget that show happened, despite it being Sorkin’s best in my opinion.

    And secondly, per-maybe-haps you didn’t watch Sports Night much? I don’t really see the parallel you are drawing to two characters in that show. Jim and Jeremy (my favorite SN character) don’t really resemble each other as much as you’d love to have us think, other than “they’re both smart guys” so I guess that fits the role well enough.

    But without delving into an article-sized comment myself, I can give you Jeremy/Jim even though they don’t compare well. But Natalie? Really? Did you honestly make this comparison? “If only someone would give her a chance”? She’s the second in command to Dana during showtime. She was an over-zealous bundle of confidence. Not some deer-in-the-headlights intern bumped up a minute before the biggest broadcast of the shows history.

    She was commanding and controlling. She was ACHING for that next opportunity to prove herself, not frightened by it. When she was given the control room for the first time, she was in command of the situation, making on-the-fly decisions and following a news lead herself that led to an exclusive story, and faced down not only a source, but her boyfriend in front of the entire control room, in order get that story.

    Please, PLEASE, don’t join the growing number of idiotic press bashing this show for no reason. It’s Sorkin. It’s a show that seems like Sorkin, so what were we expecting?

  • Austin

    I even noticed some parallel’s to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, specifically the opening. Very similar. The show is still good nonetheless.

  • Max

    Is this a day that ends in ‘Y’? Then it must be Matt shitting on anything day!

  • Julianne

    I have to agree with Matt for the most part. I would say Newsroom’s Will = West Wing’s Josh and Newsroom’s charlie Skinner = Sport’s Night’s Eli. But I can see his point. Mostly I am startled by Margaret Jordan’s uncanny resemblance to Pam of The Office. (And isn’t her guy also named Jim Ha….something or other?) Could she be any frumpier? I ADORE Aaron and here comes the BUT . . . when a characters speak, their voices should be so distinct from each other that if I were reading the words, I would know who would be saying them. I could tell that with Sports Night and maybe I will be able to tell that given some time with Newsroom. At the moment, they all sound like Aaron, whom I ADORE but I need a bit of variety, darling, that’s all I ask.