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'The Newsroom' to end next season; former 'Office' producer joins

Jeff Daniels, winner of the award for outstanding

Jeff Daniels, winner of the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for "The Newsroom," in the press room during the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Sept. 22, 2013) Credit: EPA

"The Newsroom" -- HBO's much-loved and/or much-derided TV news drama -- will end next season but perhaps the more significant news would be this: Paul Lieberstein is joining as executive producer, probably to spell Aaron Sorkin (who remains onboard) some relief on the writing chores.

The network said the third and final season will begin production in the spring, and air in the fall.

Connecticut native Lieberstein is indisputably a fascinating addition: Toby, from "The Office," was absolutely central to its great success over the full run, as both sometime-star and behind-the-scenes writer and producer who crafted, and wrote many dozens of episodes. "The Office" without Lieberstein is unimaginable.

But what could he bring to Sorkin's creation -- utterly specific to his voice and sensibilities?

I can't even imagine, though Paul is a hugely talented guy; I'm sure they'll figure it out.

"The Newsroom" end comes as no real surprise: There are fervent fans, and supporters -- I count myself among the latter and always liked "The Newsroom" -- liked it especially when it completely sailed off the rails straight into Sorkin's turbulent rhetorical soup. The second season was better than the first, the finale a winner .?.?.

But some critics chewed its leg off, and HBO probably wanted bigger numbers, too. Moreover, Sorkin probably wanted (and has) new challenges, too. With the full cast returning, and Paul Lieberstein on board, this sounds like a very good and (even) potentially fun solution.

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