So this is what you get when mixing "Murphy Brown" and "The West Wing."
Striving to be a little of both though never quite reaching those lofty heights, "The Newsroom" (10 p.m. Sunday, HBO) sometimes wears its legacy a little too much, almost smothering itself. Only time will tell if this hour-long comedy-drama can actually be a creatively genetic match or if it will branch out to leave its own mark.
Comparisons to the movie "Network" will come along. After all Jeff Daniels plays Will McAvoy, an uptight cable news anchor who loses it on the air and rants about how America is no longer the No. 1 country on Earth. He's at constant odds with the network, his producers and staff.
However, unlike Howard Beale (Peter Finch) from 1976 film "Network," McAvoy walks a fine line between journalistic integrity and just being loud and stubborn.
If not for the peppering of comedy that writer/ creator Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network," "The West Wing") maintains, McAvoy would be intolerable. Instead, he's not a lost cause.
"The Newsroom" is more of an office soap opera than anything else, with producers sleeping together and love entanglements gumming up a well-oiled newsroom.
McAvoy even has his own past facing him in the form of his new executive producer, the superwoman reporter Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer). She's sharp and intrusive, but she gets the job done.
"The Newsroom" is blessed with great casting (from Sam Waterston to Olivia Munn), who bring their A game, though the dialogue is too dressy at times and the reactions predictable.
Score: 3 stars (out of five)
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or email@example.com.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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