Aaron Sorkin defends "The Newsroom"

Actor Jeff Daniels, left, and creator and executive producer Aaron Sorkin appear onstage during HBO's TCA panel for "The Newsroom" at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Oscar-winning writer-producer, Sorkin, defended John Shearer

Jeff Daniels, left, and Aaron Sorkin appear during HBO's TCA panel for "The Newsroom" on Aug. 1, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
(CBS/AP) Aaron Sorkin is confronting critics of his HBO drama head on.

The Oscar-winning writer-producer defended "The Newsroom" during a Wednesday gathering of the Television Critics Association and denied reports that he fired his entire writing staff. Sorkin said there were staff changes, but all the writers were not dismissed.

"They're coming to work early. They're being polite to me," he joked. "I want the old gang back."

Watch: Aaron Sorkin on "The Newsroom"
Pictures: Aaron Sorkin
Watch: Jeff Daniels: America's favorite anchorman?
Read more: "The Newsroom" debuts with ripped-from-the-headlines plot

Sorkin spent most of his 30 minutes in front of TV critics responding to those who lambasted the series, starring Jeff Daniels as a cable news anchor, for being inauthentic in its portrayal of women and the cable news industry. He said because the first season was written and filmed before it debuted in June, it was impossible to address any concerns.

"I completely get why you do what you do," Jeff Daniels told critics inside the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton. "God bless you. You don't do it for me, and you never have. It took me a long time as an actor to stop reading you."

On Wednesday, Sorkin also addressed critics of the show.

"We all know that there were critics who did not enjoy watching the first four episodes," Sorkin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "And there were critics that did. Obviously, you prefer praise for the show to be unanimous."

And in response to critics who say the series has a "woman problem," Sorkin said, "I completely respect that opinion. But I 100 percent disagree with it. I think the female characters are every bit the equals of the men."

Sorkin announced he was hiring consultants with real-world newsroom experience for the second season.

"I think it can only add to the show," he said.

The series, which also stars Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Sam Waterston, is currently airing its first season. The premiere attracted a healthy 2.1 million viewers.

HBO gave the green light to a second season of "The Newsroom" after just two episodes aired. Sorkin said the new season will debut next June, and the show's ripped-from-the-headlines plots will be about "nine to 18 months behind" real-world happenings.

"The Social Network" and "The West Wing" mastermind also teased that Sunday's episode will be set during "the night we got [Osama] bin Laden."

Other upcoming episodes will tackle the Casey Anthony case and the Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal.

Tell us: What do you think of "The Newsroom"?

  • CBS News Staff