The pilot — which earned downbeat reviews from critics but raves from fans of Sorkin's past work ("The West Wing," "Sports Night," A Few Good Men, The Farnsworth Invention) — is live at HBO.com, YouTube, DailyMotion, TV.com and multiple distributors' Free On Demand platforms. The "sampling opportunity" will be available through July 23. The episode will also be available as a free podcast on iTunes during the sampling period.
In "The Newsroom," Daniels (God of Carnage) is joined by Tony Award winner John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening), Alison Pill (Lieutenant of Inishmore), Jane Fonda (33 Variations, There Was a Little Girl), Sam Waterston (Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Public's King Lear), Emily Mortimer (The Merchant of Venice, The Light), Thomas Sadoski (The House of Blue Leaves, Other Desert Cities), Josh Pence ("The Social Network"), Olivia Munn and Dev Patel.
Also popping up in the pilot were theatre stars David Cromer (the director-actor of Our Town, and director of Tribes), Elizabeth Marvel (Other Desert Cities), David Harbour (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Jason Butler Harner (Cock).
"Newsroom" centers on cable news anchor Will McAvoy (Daniels) and the show's female executive producer, MacKenzie (Mortimer). Here's how HBO describes the series: "From the mind of Aaron Sorkin, creator of 'The West Wing' and screenwriter of 'The Social Network' and 'Moneyball,' comes 'The Newsroom,' a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make a nightly cable-news program. Focusing on a network anchor (Daniels), his new executive producer (Mortimer), the newsroom staff and their boss (Waterston), the series tracks their quixotic mission to do the news well in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles-not to mention their own personal entanglements."
In the series, theatre veterans Pill and Gallagher Jr. are featured as Margaret "Maggie" Jordan and Jim Harper, respectively. When Jim comes to work for McAvoy's program, he begins to develop a crush on Maggie, an associate producer on the assignment desk. Sorkin, Scott Rudin and Alan Poul are executive producers on the series; Denis Biggs, Greg Mottola and Paul Redford are co-executive producers. Sorkin is writing the libretto to the new musical Houdini.
Watch previews of "The Newsroom":