After only two episodes and middling critical reaction, HBO has decided to renew the Aaron Sorkin penned series The Newsroom for a second season. The overnight ratings have been very impressive so far, the series premiere received 2.1 million viewers for its opening episode, which is likely the deciding factor for the company. Also, they get to have a talent like Aaron Sorkin in their crowd of big name showrunners.
Despite my own cold reaction to the pilot of The Newsroom, I am beginning to warm to it and I’m glad it has a second season. I think as the broadcast goes on it will begin to settle down and find a consistent quality, but as of now it’s certainly not an instant classic from Sorkin. It’s not as enjoyably wry as The West Wing, neither is it as insightful or scabrous as Studio 60, but by giving it a second season it will have room to breathe and perhaps it could develop into one of HBO’s key shows.
Also up for renewal is the hit vampiric fable True Blood, which has had a sixth season commissioned. Creator and show runner Alan Ball will leave the series after this season, showing that the network still has faith in the show to be run up to his standards. It is also a big show for HBO ratings wise, the season 5 premiere gained 4.7 million viewers, which kind of gives evidence to the theory that this is a show that still lingers around due to its popularity and not necessarily its quality. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun show, but not a great show.
With these shows being renewed, HBO is showcasing a very interesting array of continuing drama at the moment, proving once again why its perhaps the most important network in television. It is an eclectic mix of genres and period settings; they have the contemporary drama of The Newsroom as well as the medieval styled, fantasy epic Game of Thrones. This kind of programming displays HBO’s interest in catering for different types of viewers whilst also giving show runners the creative control to do what they want.
The Newsroom and True Blood are currently airing on Sundays on HBO.