It seems only fitting that a show that depicts the behind-the-scenes drama of a television show should have a little behind-the-scenes drama of its own. The writing room of HBO's drama The Newsroom has undergone a bit of a staff mix-up, with head writer Aaron Sorkin reportedly firing all but one of the show's staff writers. Sorkin and writer Corinne Kinsbury are the only ones left on the show's writing staff, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sorkin is notorious for his heavy hand when it comes to the writers' room; of the six episodes with confirmed writing credits, he is credited as the sole writer of five of them. Gideon Yago, who co-wrote the third episode of the series (and is the only other credited writer at this point), was one of the writers fired.
It's a situation that brings to mind a similar debacle that occurred between seasons one and two of the AMC horror drama The Walking Dead, which saw showrunner Frank Darabont fire most of the writing staff, except for creator Robert Kirkman and writer Glen Mazzara (who later became showrunner). But while that mix-up was indicative of behind-the-scenes tensions that ultimately led to Darabont's dismissal, HBO insists that there's nothing to worry about with Sorkin's rearranging of the writers' room.
"Every year each show reassesses the needs of its writing staffs. This process is nothing out of the ordinary," the network said in a statement.
It does seem a little odd, though, that The Newsroom did dismiss so many writers (its other successful shows, such as Game of Thrones and True Blood, have seen no such mix-ups). The reasoning behind it certainly doesn't appear to be about viewership; the series has managed to stay steady at around two million viewers for the first four episodes (the fifth airs tonight). Could this writing mix-up be a response to the polarized reviews -- some critics like The Newsroom, others loudly detest it -- the show has been receiving?
Maybe HBO's equivalent of Leona Lansing has found some objections to the show's material.
The Newsroom airs its next episode, "Amen," tonight, July 22, at 10/9c on HBO. The next episode, "Bullies," will air at the same time the following week, on July 29.