HBO’s highly anticipated Aaron Sorkin drama premiered yesterday on HBO. “The Newsroom,” which stars Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy, has been described as The West Wing on deadline. The hour-long drama (the premiere episode was 75 minutes) feels more like Sorkin’s short-lived and beloved Sports Night updated for the digitally-enhanced linear TV age. Networked Insights provided us details on how the show fared on the social web.
While linear ratings aren’t in yet, the premium cable channel has announced that the premiere will be available for free on YouTube and other video sites. The storyline of the first episode (EW’s Ken Tucker wrote a great review here) focuses on Daniels turning from a Jay Leno type character to a more controversial and compelling news anchor. The social web makes an appearance when Dev Patel’s character Neal, the show’s blogger, uncovers the BP oil catastrophe before anyone else. McAvoy responds upon hearing Neal does the blog, “We have a blog?”
Despite a long list of harsh critic reviews, sentiment around the premiere trended positively (+38% Pos, -7 % Neg), according to Networked Insights (NI). “I compared the premiere conversations of The Newsroom, Girls, and Veep,” NI’s Sean Reckwerdt told Lost Remote about the below chart. “As you can see Newsroom had the smallest premiere out of the three which indicates a fairly niche audience overall, but definitely one that’s really into the content,” he added. He explained further that, “to put some more scale to this the recent season premiere of True Blood had 2.5x more conversation than Girls’ premiere did.” Here’s a breakdown of the buzz:
- 20% – Is talking about Aaron Sorkin (his conversation is also more polarized +23% pos, -12 % neg)
- 9% – is about Jeff Daniels and how impressive his opening monologue was
- 4% - is about the early mixed reviews from critics, but Sorkin fans are still determined to watch
- 3% – is about how Sam Waterson “is the man”
- 2% – compare this show to Sorkin’s other shows (most notably Sports Night and West Wing)
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