Aaron Sorkin: Come back to TV!

Thewestwing_lIn case you haven’t noticed, NBC is pulling out all the stops for Southland, John Wells’ latest contribution to the cops-and-robbers genre. And I’m certainly tuning in tonight — if only to see whether Wells still has the magic touch for creating shows that everyone wants to watch. Privately, though, I wish that NBC was throwing its cash at Wells’ old producing partner, whose long-awaited comeback to television is about a year behind schedule. I speak of Aaron Sorkin, the man behind last year’s fabulously written Charlie Wilson’s War, who’s best remembered by boob-tube-o-philes as the genius who, along with Wells, gave us The West Wing (and, well, the sexy Brad Whitford). I miss Sorkin’s marvelous repartee, even when it came in the form of a blustery, behind-the-scenes look at a late-night variety show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Since the 2006-07 drama only lasted a season, Sorkin can’t be wanting that show to represent his final contribution to the TV dramas. It’s only a matter of time before he brings us more of that intelligent, rat-a-tat banter — right?

Well, it just so happens that we may be seeing him soon — just not in the way we’d expect. A source close to Sorkin says the uber-writer is in talks with Entourage to guest star on the comedy once it returns to HBO in July. And there may be more good news on the horizon: Although his dance card is filled with must-finish screenplays (a Facebook movie! A courtroom drama for George Clooney called The Challenge!) word is that Sorkin is mulling over the idea of a new TV drama that takes a behind-the-scenes look at a cable news program (think: Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC). Though I’m not all that thrilled at the prospect of yet another behind-the-scenes show, I’ll take what I can get if it means Sorkin will (finally!) be back on TV.   

What do you think, Sorkin fans? Should he come back to TV or keep his focus on the big screen?

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  • Jen

    If the proposed new “behind the scenes” show is a fraction of the utter awesomeness that was Sports Night–sign me up. I miss the Sorkin touch on TV something fierce!

  • DL

    How can you write a thing on Sorkin and TV and not mention Sports Night?
    Come on!

  • Paul

    I am a huge Sorkin fan and I am very excited about the prospect of a behind-the-scenes news program setting. In fact, I’ve always thought that this should be done (God save us from another courtroom-cops-and-crime-scenes-formulaic-procedural!).
    Lynette! Let’s not forget that behind-the-scenes walk-and-talk is what Sorkin has always done best. He has repeatedly expressed his fascination with the genre (yes, I’ve decided it’s a genre of it’s own).
    Oh, and by the way Miss Rice: Sorkin never wrote for the show while Smitts was starring. He left at the end of season four and I’m simply appalled by this glaring error.
    Still enjoy your columns; keep up the good work.

  • kim in kentucky

    OMG YESSSS! NOBODY writes dialogue like Sorkin!!

  • Sam

    While I loved The West Wing, Studio 60 wasn’t as good–although Matthew Perry was awesome on it. So I hope Aaron Sorkin comes back triumphantly!

  • JKChicago

    Wasn’t Olbermann also one of the inspirations for “Sports Night?” If the new show is as good as that one, I’ll definitely be watching. I miss Sorkin’s writing so much.
    And I’m completely on board with the Brad Whitford love.

  • bria

    I LOVE SORKIN!! I would love to see him writing TV again, I just don’t know if audiences can handle how smart his writing is. Everyone talks crap about Studio 60, but Sports Night didn’t last that long either. But this show sounds right up his alley, behind the scenes of TV and politics. Sorkin was made for that.

  • saintsaucey

    I can’t wait for this. I just finished watching Studio 60 on hulu and couldn’t believe how great it really was. I only watched the first few seasons initially because of moving and losing my satalite but damn that show was near perfect. You can be sure that I will be checking this out and waiting for it with bated breath.
    I’m just curious to see the cast.

  • Shane

    I literally JUST finished watching the pilot epi of Southland- WHAT a POWERFUL piece of work- not since Boomtown and the first season of NYPD Blue have I seen a more impressive cop show- great writing, amazing casting, awesome photography- and I loved that NBC bleeped the profanity instead of pretending they don’t use it. Powerful start to an impressive show! As for Aaron…I was Studio 60 crazy, and I have the box set. Loved it, it made me howl with laughter and bawl my eyes out. I miss Aaron but he is often too smart for television these days.

  • peaches

    Horrid dialog and wack direction put Southland in the no thank you pile for me. I love Regina King but I’m pretty sure I won’t be visiting Southland again.

  • gnemo

    I agree that television sorely needs Sorkin back. And the cable news milieu seems a better match for his leanings toward cultural commentary.
    Oh, and it seems you made a slight mistake, Lynette. I think you meant to say that Sorkin gave us The West Wing (and, well, the sexy Richard Schiff).
    Thank you, Aaron!

  • Steve

    The most entertaining thing on television today is West Wing re-runs (Sorkin era, not the later stuff.) Perhaps television networks will finally add that missing ingredient to thier programs again…WRITING.

  • Thea

    The West Wing was great.
    Studio 60 was great (can’t believe we only got to watch one series).
    I look forward to anything Mr Sorkin can put on my TV.

  • Facebones

    I can’t think of a more overrated producer than Aaron Sorkin. The verbal repartee is grating, not the snappy patter he thinks it is, The heavy handed MESSAGES he puts in the scripts are terrible. I personally do not care if he goes into TV or movies – I won’t be watching either. (Especially not a Facebook movie.)

  • Benjamin

    In films he’s a very talented screenwriter. On television he’s a hack. Studio 60 was a self-serving drudgery of contrivance and recycled dialogue. After Studio 60 fizzled, I re-watched my West Wing DVDs and found myself with a strong distaste for a show I once found to be one of the best ever produced.
    Aaron Sorkin needs to be kept away from television.

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