Although some viewers may be sad to see HBO's The Newsroom go with an abbreviated third and final season, at least one cast member is fine with it.
Olivia Munn, who plays financial reporter and sometimes anchor Sloan Sabbith, says she had no problem saying goodbye to the show because she knew it was getting the ending it deserved. "I signed on to work with Aaron Sorkin and to tell the story that Aaron wanted to tell," Munn tells TVGuide.com. "I have friends who have to keep going on shows that have long expired, but they have to keep cranking out stories and just keep bleeding it dry. It's nice being on a show where the man who created it gets to decide what we're going to do, so I was really happy about it."
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And although much of what Sorkin wants to do involves matters of business — the premiere dealt with ACN's flagging ratings and implicated one of the "News Night" employees in a federal crime, stories that will both take even more dramatic turns in Sunday's episode (9/8c, HBO) — the final season will also explore matters of the heart. In particular, on Sunday's episode, Sloan and her executive producer-turned-love interest Don (Thomas Sadoski) have "the conversation" about just how serious their relationship has become.
"I think, of all of the relationships that happened, it's the one that certainly was not preordained from the beginning of Season 1," executive producer Alan Poul says. "They were probably the most surprising couple to emerge on the show, but, from the moment that they first showed chemistry, there was a huge response from our viewers, wanting those two to be together. So it was clearly something that was kind of destined to be."
While Munn says she is happy to learn more about how her character feels and functions outside of work, she appreciates that all of Sloan's relationships will always have to compete with her job. "It's really great to see Sloan start to open up herself more to experiencing life and not just make her entire life about her job," Munn says. "But at the same time, what I've been really thankful for is that — too often, when there becomes a love interest on a show, it's like everybody loses their focus, especially the women. What I love is that Sloan develops close relationships with different people at work and in her romantic life, but at the same time, never loses the one thing that I love so much about Sloan, which is her passion for her job."
For that reason, Sloan has chosen a perfect match. After all, Don is, like Sloan and really all of Sorkin's characters, a workaholic. "What's most interesting about them is that they're both people who will always put their careers first, and that's part of what makes them so right for each other," Poul says. However, because so much of their relationship is playing out in and around the newsroom, Poul warns, "the Don and Sloan relationship comes under a little bit of scrutiny as the season goes on."
Will that become a distraction for Sloan? And could it ultimately doom the relationship? "I definitely see her struggling," Munn says. "It's difficult to work with somebody you're having a relationship with and Sloan doesn't really welcome any of those personal problems into her workplace. But at the same time, it's really great because she's trying to figure out how to merge both worlds.. Despite her trepidations, they actually work really well together. ... She has a really big heart that has to kind of be drawn out of her at times."
As for how healthy it is for her character to obsess over her career, Munn appreciates the character choice. "We see these people who are very rewarded in trying to do the best at their job and I think there's something very nice about that," Munn says. "There's lots of women who get a lot of flak for not starting a family, and it's nice that it doesn't have to come up. She gets to be completely immersed in your work and want to do the best at your job without having anybody guilt her about it. I'm really happy that Sloan never went there."
Munn, who was arguably the biggest surprise of the show and whose character is undoubtedly one of the show's most memorable, is equally happy about where Sloan winds up at the end of the series. "I love the character, and I've definitely been lucky to play somebody so strong and smart and dedicated," she says. "I really love what Sorkin has done with [all the characters]. I was lying in bed reading Episode 5, and I literally dropped the script and screamed. I couldn't believe he went there. I love that Sorkin just threw it all out there. I'm really happy about where everybody ends up. There's definitely a feeling of completion."
But there is one drawback to her time on The Newsroom? "I'm so wound up now from speaking really fast," Munn says with a laugh. "I don't know if I can slow it down any time soon!"
The Newsroom airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. The Season 2 DVD and Blu-ray is available in stores now.