The Newsroom Season 2 premiere didn't waste any time getting down to business. After a shiny new opening, we immediately find out that Will McAvoy and the rest of the News Night crew are being sued for making allegations that the U.S. military used nerve gas as a weapon, which is a war crime. When the story turned out to be wrong, they had to retract it, and anyone who helped to broadcast the story could lose their job. Whoa, s**t just got real incredibly fast.
Lawyer Rebecca Halliday is trying to get the full details of the situation out of Will (which isn’t going very well) when we're hit with another shocker. Maggie has ditched her long blonde hair for a short, auburn 'do. What happened? According to Will, she went to Uganda for a story and saw some terrible things, and "came back a little messed up." But how did we get here? (Here being October 2012, 14 months after the Season 1 finale.) Well, as Will says, it all started around the time Reese Lansing got kicked out of the Capitol Building, back in August 2011.
Chips are Falling
Reese, the president of AWM, wasn’t allowed into House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning SOPA, an anti-piracy bill. This was just one week after Will had gone on-air and called the Tea Party the "American Taliban," and apparently some members of the Tea Party hadn’t taken it too well. Given the controversy of Will's statements, Charlie told him that he was taking him off the 10-year anniversary coverage of 9/11. Will says he's fine with it, but come on, you know that had to put a dent in his giant ego.
Is This Brutally Awkward?
A reporter named Ben who was on the Romney campaign bus stupidly jumped off the second floor of a hotel and missed the pool, breaking his ankle. Mac tells Jim to find a replacement for him, but all Jim does is stare pathetically over at Maggie and Don. Maggie tries to smooth things over with Jim, wanting to go back to the way things were before she confessed her feelings for him. But Jim, still hurt that Maggie choose Don over him, blows her off, and then begs Mac to let him go to New Hampshire to cover the campaign in Ben's place. But he isn't actually able to get on the bus because, you know, that whole "American Taliban" thing.
Period. Period. Period.
Mac gets Jerry Dantana from Washington D.C. to cover for Jim, and he's just as obsessed with drone strikes as Sloan. He suggests holding an on-air panel about drones, and wants to use a military analyst named Cyrus West instead of Jim's usual contact. Cyrus is an adamant drone supporter and keeps saying "period" like he's trying to make it his catchphrase or something. Will lets Cyrus be an obnoxious douche instead of speaking up, despite Mac urging him to jump in. Looks like someone was bothered about being pulled from the 9/11 coverage after all.
After the broadcast, Cyrus tells Jerry that he has some intel about a black op named Genoa (not Geneva), and that it’s the kind of story "that makes careers and ends presidencies." Hmmm, something tells me that we'll be getting back to that….
The YouTube Video Strikes Back
Maggie's crazy cousin sends Don a YouTube video of Maggie freaking out in front of the Sex and the City tour bus. He tries to pack his things and go to a hotel while Maggie's sleeping, but he wakes her up. He shows her the video (titled "Another New Yorker Loses It") and basically laughs in her face. He tells her that he thought he was the bad guy for not being in love with her, when actually she was in love with Jim. Oh give me a break Don, stop being so self-righteous. You said yourself that you've only tried to be a good boyfriend for like 2 weeks, so don’t guilt trip Maggie for having feelings for someone else, especially when she gave you another chance.
Soooo….if Ben hadn't broken his ankle, if Jim hadn't gone to New Hampshire and Jerry hadn't filled in for him, and if Cyrus hadn't been on the drone panel, then News Night wouldn't be facing this lawsuit? Pretty much. So basically, this is all Ben's fault. Way to go, buddy.
The flashback device that the premiere introduced was pretty effective. It got me interested in seeing how the characters will get from Point A to Point B throughout the season.
Not that I'm surprised, but the show is just as smug as ever.
The beginning and end of the episode were quite Social Network-esque. Sorkin sure loves those deposition scenes.
Blast from the past: Will singing Rebecca Black's classic hit, “Friday.”
Sloan's crush on Don was briefly addressed, but now that Don and Maggie are broken up, we'll probably see more of that relationship.
Neal decides to investigate Occupy Wall Street in its early stages. Looks like you might be on to something there, kid!
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Show business trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter announced its annual list of the 100 most powerful women in Hollywood on Tuesday. Topping this year's list is Paramount Pictures' Sherry Lansing, who became the studio's first female chairman in 1992.
"When Sherry Lansing wants to peruse a project that is potentially risky, her tendency to share the financial burden with other studios helps counterbalance the risk," said Christy Grosz, managing editor of the trade's Women in Entertainment issue. "It's the business savvy and goodwill within the entertainment community that pushed her to the top of this year's Power 100."
The Reporter began ranking the 50 most powerful women in 1991, but expanded it last year to include 100 women to celebrate the list's 10-year anniversary.
Stacey Snider, who runs Universal Pictures, ranked No. 2. She occupied the No. 1 spot last year.
Rounding out the top 5 were Amy Pascal, vice chairman of Sony Pictures, ranking third; Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Entertainment at No. 4; and Michele Anthony, executive vice president, Sony Music Entertainment, at No. 5.
Pascal greenlit the 2002 actioner Spider-Man--one of the highest grossing films in Hollywood history. Laura Ziskin produced the film, as well as the 2002 Academy Awards.
Celebrities on the list include Oprah Winfrey (8), Julia Roberts (12), Madonna (60), author J.K. Rowling (64) and twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (98).
"No longer are female stars just 'the talent.' They could very well be the path to parity for all women working in entertainment," Grosz said, adding that Roberts' ability to open a movie, command a big paycheck and run her own production company gives her the clout to hire whomever she chooses.
Women leading the four Hollywood guilds also made the list, including Kathleen Kennedy, president of the Producers Guild of America (46), Melissa Gilbert, president of the Screen Actors Guild of America (89), Martha Coolidge, president of the Directors Guild of America (96), and Victoria Riskin, president of the Writers Guild of America (97).
Criteria for the Power 100 include each woman's position within her company, her force of personality and how much money she controls.
Despite the increasing number of women in Hollywood's executive ranks, however, the Reporter notes that the percentage of female writers dropped from 14 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2001. Female directors dropped from 11 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2001.