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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Daniels’

Fake News Anchor Will McAvoy Takes Home Real Emmy

Jeff Daniels EmmyJeff Daniels, who plays anchorman Will McAvoy on HBO’s “Newsroom” took home the Emmy for best actor in a drama tonight. Daniels wins the top award in his first year of eligibility. The second season of “Newsroom” concluded last Sunday and HBO has already given the green light for a season three. Daniels was up against tough competition from co-nominees “Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm, Damien Lewis of “Homeland,” Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey” and Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards.”

Later, the “Colbert Report” took home two awards, including outstanding variety series, besting “The Daily Show” which had won the award for the last 10 years. “I personally have to thank my friend and my brother, Jon Stewart,” said Stephen Colbert. “Jon never told me how good this feels, actually.”

Colbert also won for outstanding writing for variety series. Since 2008, Colbert Report and The Daily Show have traded off winning the top writing award. Colbert won in 2008 and 2010, Daily Show won in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

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‘Newsroom’ Gets a Season Three

Real newsman Brian Williams has returned to the anchor chair, so has fake newsman Jon Stewart. And now, we’ve learned real fake newsman Will McAvoy will be returning to the real fake “News Night.”

Jeff Daniels Tweeted the news that HBO’s “Newsroom” is getting a third season.

When last we left “Newsroom” (mid-way through season 2) Atlantis World Media boss, the exquisitely named Leona Lansing (played exquisitely by Jane Fonda) refused to allow McAvoy, his EP and news division president to resign after having to retract a report about “Operation Genoa.” The report claimed U.S. troops used sarin gas. (Oddly current given the situation in Syria). The producer of the report was fired for making a deceptive edit. (That’s happened too, for real).

If that storyline sounds familiar to some longtime tvnewsers, that’s by design. “Operation Genoa” is based on real events that engulfed CNN in 1998. Recall, Operation Tailwind.

How Real is ‘The Newsroom?’ Real TVNewsers Speak Out

No one expects total realism from HBO’s “The Newsroom,” but a scene in Sunday’s Season 2- opener would be virtually impossible in real life, technically speaking, say numerous network professionals.

In the segment, an off-site reporter for cable news network ACN dictates a few words of important corrected information – via cellphone — for his package, which is then instantaneously re-tracked in the control room just in the nick of time on Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) show.

“Any suggestion you can drop new audio into a package a few seconds before air is definitely unrealistic; make that impossible,” says Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’

“I’ve seen some very exciting things happen in the control room,” says David Westin, ABC News president from 1997 through 2010, “but I never saw anything like that, or even heard about it. I can’t imagine running that kind of risk.”

Ditto, says CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon. “I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone adding audio via cellphone. Some people do narrate on their iPads, but it sounds like crap.”

Rand Morrison, executive producer of  ”CBS News Sunday Morning,” argues that the “huge” difference in audio quality would be “a small price to pay for accuracy.” He describes the ‘Newsroom’ scenario as “far-fetched, but not inconceivable. “

Sue Green of Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism, formerly executive director at New York’s WABC, agrees that it can be done, but it shouldn’t have to be. “If the reporter had done his job correctly in the first place, the fix would not have been needed. That’s what is important here.”

Regardless, Green is a ‘Newsroom’ fan, particularly of executive producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer.) “I can relate to having an anchor who doesn’t listen, and the frustrations an EP has to go through in dealing with feelings and egos” of a newsroom.

Speaking of egos, any similarities between McAvoy and the late, great Peter Jennings, David Westin?

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Season Two Of HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ Debuts Sunday July 14

The second season of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” which follows the fictional goings-on at “News Night” and Atlantis Cable News, will debut Sunday, July 14 at 10 PM.

According to HBO, “in the new season, the staff of ‘News Night’ chases a mysterious tip, which leads to a story that ultimately spins out of control.”

Some of the “real-life” stories featured on the show will be the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the GOP primaries and November election. We also know that Patton Oswalt will join the show as ACN’s VP of human resources, while Rosemarie DeWitt joins as a litigator defending the company in a wrongful-termination suit.

“The Newsroom” debuted on HBO last June to mixed reviews. Nevertheless, it was very quickly renewed for a season two. Aaron Sorkin created the show, which stars Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy.

‘The Newsroom,’ ‘Game Change’ Lock Up Golden Globe Nominations

The reviews for HBO’s cable news drama “The Newsroom” may not have been glowing, but they apparently didn’t matter. The program was quickly renewed for a second season by HBO and now it has picked up two Golden Globe nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

“The Newsroom” is nominated for “Best Television Series-Drama,” while star Jeff Daniels is nominated for his performance as cantankerous cable news anchor Will McAvoy.

Elsewhere, the HBO movie “Game Change” picked up five nominations, including “Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made For Television” and a nomination for Julianne Moore‘s portrayal of Fox News contributor and former VP nominee Sarah Palin. Woody Harrelson, Sarah Paulson and Ed Harris also received nominations for their roles.

HBO has already optioned the follow-up to Game Change as a movie, The book will be released late next year.

You can read the full list of nominees here.

Fake Anchor Jeff Daniels Makes the Rounds in Real Newsrooms

Norah O'Donnell takes a page from episode one of HBO's "The Newsroom" after Jeff Daniels appeared on "CBS This Morning"

Actor Jeff Daniels was on “CBS This Morning” earlier today and on MSNBC’s “Hardball” this evening. Daniels, who plays Will McAvoy on HBO’s “The Newsroom” told Chris Matthews, “It’s not like we’re out trying to whitewash all of cable news. We’re trying to shine a light on the people really trying to tell the truth and get out the truth every day.”

Matthews observes that what happens on the HBO show is not far from the process of putting his show together:

“What’s really real about it — and I’ve been talking to our producers about it — is that it’s really like that. What’s gone on all day, between you and your EP, where you have to work together, there’s a little conflict there sometimes. Working together with another ego, you and the EP. And with the other producers doing their thing. The conflicts, the arguments, the great synergy is going on all day.”

Matthews also played a clip that included his son. “Who’s that really good looking young guy playing Martin?,” asked Matthews. “Some kid we hired off the the street,” Daniels shot back.

On CBS, Daniels talked about why he almost gave up acting. Clip after the jump…

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HBO Renews ‘The Newsroom’

HBO has renewed “The Newsroom” for a second season after only two episodes, the premium cable channel says.

The series, from creator Aaron Sorkin, follows cable news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and his team at Atlantis Cable News. It debuted June 24 to 2.1 million viewers, a solid, if unspectacular start for the series. That said, other HBO shows, such as “Game of Thrones,” launched with similar ratings, and have gone on to become bona fide hits.

HBO is betting that the series continues to pick up viewers over the course of the season. The channel also announced a sixth-season pickup for “True Blood.”

Critics have largely panned the series, though there have been notable exceptions, such as former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who wrote favorably about the series on Gawker. HBO has slated a panel discussion featuring Sorkin, Daniels and other members of “The Newsroom” cast at the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in August, which should make for an interesting conversation.

‘The Newsroom’ Debuts To 2.1 Million Viewers

Sunday night’s debut episode of “The Newsroom” on HBO drew 2.1 million viewers at 10 PM. That is a mixed bag ratings-wise for the pay cable network.

The ratings place it just below “Game of Thrones,” which drew 2.2 million viewers in its premiere, though it is far below “Boardwalk Empire” which drew 4.8 million. “Girls,” the HBO comedy that was quickly picked up for a second season after its debut earlier this year, drew 1.1 million viewers in its premiere.

Hour-long dramas like “The Newsroom” are significantly more expensive to produce than half-hour comedies, so the numbers don’t guarantee a second season pickup from HBO. An additional 600,000 viewers watched the encore presentation later in the evening.

The Newsroom is from Aaron Sorkin, the creator of “Sports Night” and “The West Wing,” among other TV series. It stars Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, the anchor of “News Night” at Atlantis Cable News, who has an epiphany and decides to change how he and the network deliver news.

Given the pedigree of Sorkin, Daniels and the rest of the cast, as well as HBO’s very-solid track record when it comes to developing high-quality programming, expectations were high for the program. So far, it looks like there is still work that needs to be done, though the opening numbers are far from a flop.

As we wrote about last week, critical reception was mixed, but skewed towards negative.

CNN Reporter Is Inspiration for ‘The Newsroom’ Character

So, as you know by now, “The Newsroom” anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, was not inspired by Keith Olbermann. But did you know “The Newsroom’s” financial reporter, played by Olivia Munn, is loosely based on CNN reporter Christine Romans? Now you do. And here she is talking about it on “Starting Point.”

Will a TV Show About the News be More Compelling Than the Real Thing?

I admire Aaron Sorkin, but he gives me a headache. By the time his characters finish a monologue, I’m ready for a nap.

Sorkin’s latest work, “The Newsroom,” which debuts Sunday on HBO, is no exception. In the pilot’s opening scene, set at a J-school panel, cable newsman Will McAvoy delivers a breathless tirade that, while eloquent, lasts longer than most network sitcoms.

In an homage to Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network,” McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, explodes when the moderator goads him into answering a student question about why America is the greatest country on earth. It’s not, he says, and here’s why.

Citing reams of statistics that someone in his line of work could not possibly know – another Sorkin trademark — McAvoy ends on a hopeful note. The speech will change the direction of his career from a bland ‘Jay Leno’ to a take-no-prisoners anchor of the Old School, like Murrow, Cronkite and Brinkley.

Images of those very men are in “Newsroom’s” opening montage, along with those of Dan Rather and legendary producer Don Hewitt. They are Sorkin’s heroes, he says. To that end, the underlying message of “Newsroom” is that it’s not too late to create a civil, intelligent newscast they would have been proud of.

News junkies will not be able to resist this show, despite the fact that some of the plotlines are ridiculous and that Sorkin writes like he’s getting paid by the word. Programs about the TV news business are rare. The last good one, Sorkin’s “Sports Night,” ended 12 years ago.

Sorkin reportedly based “Sports Night” on Keith Olbermann, but he’s denied that Olbermann was his muse for McAvoy.

Please. McAvoy is wicked smart, totally self-involved, highly temperamental and loathed by his staff. “I’m not the easiest guy to work for,” he tells his boss, Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), news division president at fictional network ACN. Skinner has a short fuse and drinks a lot.

It pains me to say this, but Waterston, one of my favorite actors, is a tad old for the role. He punches out his lines like every breath will be his last. Daniels, on the other hand, is in his element,

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