Rosemarie DeWitt’s loss is Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden‘s gain.
The Newsroom has tapped Harden to replace DeWitt in the HBO drama’s upcoming second season, TVLine has confirmed.
Harden will play the recurring role of Rebecca Halliday, a litigator who defends Atlantis Cable News in a wrongful termination suit.
As TVLine reported last week, DeWitt — who has already shot several episodes as Rebecca — was forced to leave the show due to scheduling conflicts. (Her scenes will be reshot with Harden.)
Harden’s TV credits include arcs on Damages, Law & Order: SVU and Royal Pains.
The Newsroom‘s second season is slated to kick off this summer.
Prior to The Newsroom‘s showing at Wednesday’s Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills, HBO exec Michael Lombardo countered recent criticism surrounding the freshman drama by starting that they are “very proud” of the series.
“There are 7 million people a week who are coming back to that show in a very competitive landscape — and they love it,” he shared.
And those sentiments only continued when The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin, alongside executive producer Alan Poul and star Jeff Daniels, took the stage to face the
ON EARLY UNFAVORABLE REVIEWS | Sorkin is well aware that there are “critics who did not enjoy watching the first four episodes” of Newsroom, but believes that “Anytime people are talking that much about a television show, it’s good for television.” What’s more, the EP shared, “One of the nice consequences of working for HBO is that the entire season is written, shot and locked in the can before the first episode airs. So, even if you’re tempted to try to write a little bit differently to please the people or change someone’s mind, you can’t do it. The season is done.”
ON THE NEGATIVE PERCEPTION OF NEWS NIGHT‘S WOMEN | While Sorkin “completely respects” some opinions that women are portrayed as dumb on the series, he “100 percent disagrees with it. I think the female characters on the show are every bit the equals to the men. They’re not just talked about being good at their job; we plainly see them being good at their job — beginning with the first episode.” The showrunner went on to note that once these characters were established as “thoughtful, curious [and] plainly smart” — which he believes happened early in the season — “You can have them slip on as many banana peels as you want.” Sorkin also disagrees with the idea that Newsroom‘s women are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. “Hubris is something on this show that is always punished,” he argued. “We present Will’s mission to civilize as something people first of all roll their eyes at and secondly always blows up in his face.”
ON WRITERS’ ROOM SHAKE-UP RUMORS | It seems those rumors of a complete staff overhaul on The Newsroom were exaggerated… a lot. “A couple of weeks ago, an unsourced and untrue story appeared on the Internet,” Sorkin explained. “The writing staff was not fired. I love the writing staff. I thought we did great this year, and it’s a fantastic group of men and women to come to work with. But at the end of each season, you get together with the producers and the department heads and you talk about ways that you can get better. So, a couple of staffing changes were made — including promoting two of our writers’ assistants.”
ON A SEASON 2 TWEAK | Newsroom‘s second season will include a vast range of behind-the-scenes “paid consultants” who will contribute to the series, as opposed to the handful of sources Sorkin utilized during the series’ freshman run. Said the showrunner: “I think it can only add to the show. Their job is going to be anything they want it to be.”
ON REAL-LIFE NEWS ON NEWSROOM | Sorkin revealed that the series will “always be about 9-12 months behind” real-life current events addressed on the show-within-a-show.
That was the takeaway from the HBO executive session at the 2012 Television Critics Association, where Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo fielded questions about the future of Game of Thrones and True Blood. (Spoiler: Their futures are looking pretty darn bright.)
And fans of Girls and Enlightened received an early Christmas gift when the comedies’ season-two premiere dates were revealed. But what about Entourage fans eagerly awaiting a movie based on their favorite show? Well, it’s complicated.
Watch the Throne: Obviously based on the epic series by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones‘ future kind of depends on Martin’s pen in many ways. “As long as he keeps writing we’ll keep producing, and he seems excited with that prospect,” Plepler explains of the hit fantasy’s future.
Fresh Blood: HBO’s big bosses seemed completely confident in True Blood and its future—despite showrunner Alan Ball stepping down. “This coming year Alan Ball is taking a little bit of a step back, but I think creatively, they’re still engaged and excited by the storytelling,” Lombardo explains. “As long as it continues to be performing with the consumer, but more importantly exciting the storytellers, I think we’re there.”
Girls, Girls, Girls: HBO’s breakout series Girls, from one of our favorites, Lena Dunham, and Laura Dern‘s Enlightened will return for their second seasons in January 2013. Both of their sophomore seasons will be 10 episodes.
The Boys Might Be Back: When asked for an update on the Entourage movie, Lombardo jokes. “Doug [Ellin] as of this week is on page 65.” But in all seriousness, he says, “He’s writing a film script and he’s excited about it. I heard a very general pitch for it, and I think after we take a look at the script, we’d still have to make deals with the cast and figure out whether this is something that makes sense or not.” Translation: It might be awhile before Vincent, Johnny Drama & Co. visit a theater near you.
Fit to Print: Though The Newsroom hasn’t exactly been a hit with some critics, Plepler assures us that the network is very happy with Aaron Sorkin‘s freshman drama. “We’re very proud of it. I think to the original voice point, there’s nobody who writes as Aaron writes and nobody who resonates and can create a conversation like Aaron can,” he says. “There are seven million people a week who are coming back to that show in a very competitive landscape and who love it. There’s only one Aaron Sorkin, and we’re very proud that he’s working with us.”