The Newsroom (2012–2014)
2 user 9 critic

The Blackout, Part 1: Tragedy Porn 

To salvage their ratings, the news team decides to lead with lurid criminal trial coverage at the expense of more worthy stories like the debt ceiling debate.


Aaron Sorkin (created by), Aaron Sorkin | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Daniels ... Will McAvoy
Emily Mortimer ... MacKenzie McHale
John Gallagher Jr. ... Jim Harper
Alison Pill ... Maggie Jordan
Thomas Sadoski ... Don Keefer
Dev Patel ... Neal Sampat
Olivia Munn ... Sloan Sabbith
Sam Waterston ... Charlie Skinner
Chris Messina ... Reese Lansing
David Krumholtz ... Dr. Jack Habib
Terry Crews ... Lonny Church
Paul Schneider ... Brian Brenner
Stephen McKinley Henderson ... Solomon Hancock
Adina Porter ... Kendra James
Chris Chalk ... Gary Cooper


May, 2011. Ratings have dropped like a stone with viewers switching to "Nancy Grace" for the Casey Anthony trial. Charlie insists they start reporting on Anthony fearing that the ratings fall will mean ACN won't get to lead on presidential debates (they have a game-changing idea) and that Leona will have her excuse to fire Will. Mackenzie pitches fits and grumbles. Then, Anthony Weiner's genitalia become news, and there's precious little room for Sloane to report that a Congressional decision to debate the debt ceiling will precipitate fiscal havoc. Will invites Mac's ex to audition for a cover story about the show. A scandal is brewing, and the weather also wants a piece of the hour. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

12 August 2012 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

HBO Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


In one scene, Jeff Daniels' character mentions that Edward R. Murrow made a deal to do interviews such celebrities as Liberace in order to pursue an investigation into Senator Joe McCarthy. This scenario was dramatized in the 2005 film "Good Night and Good Luck," in which Jeff Daniels appeared. See more »


During a news meeting to discuss the Casey Anthony story, Mackenzie uses a dry-erase board to cross off stories that will get removed from the newscast. The first story is "1. Senate obstruction becomes worst in U.S. history". The shot where she strikes out the story, "senate" is misspelled as "senat". See more »


Brian Brenner: Are you prepared to talk about your Republicanism?
Will McAvoy: You say that like I've got polio.
Brian Brenner: Are you prepared to talk about having polio?
Will McAvoy: I grew up in a town outside a town outside Lincoln, Nebraska. My home town was a road. I was a college freshman before I *met* a Democrat.
See more »


References Entertainment Tonight (1981) See more »


Written by Bob Dylan and Tim Drummond
Performed by Bob Dylan
played over closing credits
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User Reviews

i would lose viewers..
22 January 2019 | by Arth_JoshiSee all my reviews

The Newsroom

Sorkin's admirable attempt to dramatize the news section with a gut wrenching anatomy on behind the scenes of this show business, is one of the biggest upset ever to come across the screen. And not because of its failure on various aspects, it still falls under mediocrity but the expectations that it brought with such caliber of cast and makers, it is surely a swing and a miss. Sorkin's signature writing patterns is clearly visible as it is brimmed with competitive arguments and too many verbal sparring that moves with ferocious pace, he always keeps his audience on the edge of their seat trying to keep up with the narration.

But as much political galore this vision is, the actual content, the core of the drama that it has to and does rely upon is the real culprit in here. The conversations are chalky and the connections of the plots to pass the storyline forward is poorly weaved out. It seems like the venue has changed but the usual love affairs and breaking and mending of equations, is still their, the seen-this-seen-that details are outdated and audience is much smarter than this. The execution too isn't appropriately handled along with the camera work that is more pretentious than it is productive.

The only responsible man that makes your time worth is Daniels, in his morally complex and socially challenged coat that he is in, which too may seem like your usual anti-hero, but has much to offer as the character ages on screen. Supporting parallel-y is Mortimer whose quirkiness is easily absorbing, than her drama is, to be fair she isn't given the range to factor on a larger scale. Other supporting cast like Pill, Patel, Munn, Sadoski and Gallagher Jr. are the weak links to the series. The Newsroom could have been much more than just news, and this time even Sorkin couldn't convince us to watch the news.

Season 01

The euphoric energy that ignites its pilot, never wears off throughout the season, but with none whatsoever new concrete material to offer in terms of characters or the equations between them, this is probably the most disappointing writing to come from Sorkin's magic bag.

The Blackout, Part 1: Tragedy Porn

This is the part where the prepare for a battle, and surprisingly this table meeting is often the best bit of an episode where they are planning the structure, on the other hand Patel and Munn is focusing on a new light, a bit chalky but new.

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