Good News and Bad About New SoHo Show

SoHo will premiere Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom on July 18 but won’t screen the series proper until August.

It had intended to debut the cable news drama 10 days earlier, with subsequent episodes to air thereafter.

But rather than risk the series getting lost amid next month’s wall-to-wall Olympics coverage, Sky’s opted to tease SoHo subscribers with only the pilot, which also will be available to preview in HD ondemand from July 8, and hold the rest of the series until August.

While the strategy is questionable — a new HBO drama from one of Hollywood’s top scribes would be the perfect alternative to games overkill — at least it means we get to see its substitute, the Emmy-winning mini-series John Adams, in HD for the first time.

The period drama, which was released here on DVD but not Blu-ray, will screen 8.30 Sundays from July 8.

The Hollywood Reporter acclaimed the seven-part mini-series starring Paul Giamatti as America’s least understood President as “TV for the ages” while The New Yorker said it was “finely crafted … ineffably moving”.

The reviews have been more mixed for The Newsroom.

But Sky’s director of programming Travis Dunbar reckons the reaction at the LA Screenings in May was “overwhelmingly” positive.

“I have been going to the Screenings for over 12 years. I have never before seen an audience applaud at the end of a show, and some even stood up. Hands down the best uniform response I’ve ever seen for a pilot, truly incredible.”

That seems to be reflected in the ratings, with Sunday’s US launch drawing a “solid” 2.1 million viewers, making it HBO’s third-highest rating drama premiere.

However, New York magazine has taken Sorkin to task for recycling 14 lines he previously used in The West Wing, Studio 60 and Sports Night.

“Sorkin’s grinding the same axes, repeating the same banter formulas, and sometimes even the same exact lines.”

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