Video of the Day: Echoes of Olbermann in Aaron Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Trailer

By David A. Graham

The preview for his hotly anticipated television-news series shows uncanny similarities with the saga of the just-fired liberal anchor.

Well, this is timely. On Friday, Current TV fired shouty, crusading, self-righteous, liberal anchor Keith Olbermann. On Monday, Aaron Sorkin released the trailer for his forthcoming show The Newsroom, about a shouty, crusading, self-righteous, liberal anchor. There's even a threat of termination.

Since political types are almost laughably obsessed with Sorkin's The West Wing, and almost equally obsessed with media, The Newsroom looks like a surefire winner in the demographic of 18-35-year-old wonks, hacks, and Hill staffers.

Protagonist Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) has some Olbermann overtones, though he's not quite the same -- as the trailer starts, we see him as a beloved, nonpartisan Cronkite type who has a sudden fit of honesty and starts ranting about the nation's problems. There's some Joe Scarborough mixed in -- he says he's a registered Republican but doesn't believe hurricanes are God's vengeance, mirroring the MSNBC host's self-proclaimed "reasonable Republican" image. And with his pent-up fury, he's got a touch of Network's Howard Beale, too. (On the other hand, how many newsreaders are able to reel that many statistics off the tops of their heads, sans notes?) The show seems otherwise like a hybrid between The West Wing and Sorkin's earlier sportscasting spoof, Sports Night, though if it's got the same humor as those two shows you won't find any evidence in the trailer. If, on the other hand, you're looking for extensive throwing of BlackBerries, melodramatic growling, and ominously low lighting, you're in luck.

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