When The Newsroom earned a third season, it seemed like a sure sign that the show was here to stay. But earlier today, when HBO officially confirmed its season 3 renewal, it also announced that it would be its final season. Like so many Aaron Sorkin shows before it - Sports Nights, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Newsroom appears to have worn out its welcome.
Centering on Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) - a lead anchorman for the fictional ACN - and his staff as they struggle to produce a nightly news show amid political, social and commercial pressures, The Newsroom had a steadily growing fanbase. After a rocky start, season 2 of the series was generally better reviewed and it earned higher ratings than season 1. On top of that, Daniels took home the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama last year.
HBO President, Michael Lombardo, said of the series:
'The Newsroom' is classic Aaron Sorkin – smart, riveting and thought-provoking. I’m sure this farewell season will be one to remember.
So, why the cancellation when the series was just beginning to pick up speed? Season 2's production issues and the difficult negotiations between HBO and Sorkin over season 3 (which caused the initial delay in renewal) might be the cause. Season 2 was reduced from 10 episodes to only nine after what Sorkin referred to as a "false start," according to THR. This led to costly reshoots and delays in filming, and subsequently, Patton Oswalt's role was cut from season 2 altogether.
Much like The West Wing before it, The Newsroom strove to soften our cynical opinion of reporters and anchors in the brave new world of the 24 hour news cycle. Sorkin described the series to THR as an "idealistic, romantic, swashbuckling, sometimes comedic but very optimistic" look at the people responsible for the news.
Unlike Sorkin's previously prematurely canceled series, The Newsroom was thought to have stronger odds at lasting on HBO than it did on a more a finicky, network channel. Apparently even on premium cable, TV shows are judged solely for the money they earn, and on that front, The Newsroom wasn't a strong contender. After all, it was costly to produce.
In addition to The Newsroom, 2014 also marks the end of True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. This leaves Game of Thrones as HBO's most popular program, with new series True Detective and Silicon Valley yet to prove their staying power.
Did you hope to see The Newsroom continue for longer? Are you more or less excited now that season 3 will be its last? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Newsroom's third and final season will air in the fall of 2014.