The internet has been all abuzz since yesterday when the trailer for the new HBO series The Newsroom was released. The show is already getting a lot of attention for looking like every other show Aaron Sorkin has done and its diabolical main character, news host Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), who is having a mid-life crisis and isn’t shy about sharing it with his office and the entire world. But what we noticed was that the awesome Jane Fonda, looking fabulous in a power suit, plays the owner of the cable news network (the money.) If there is anyone who can play an innovative cable news tyrant it is Jane Fonda, considering she had an up close and personal exposure to one during her 10-year marriage to Ted Turner.
“Fonda, obviously, is a metonym for her ex-husband Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and a reminder of a time when you could actually earn both money and prestige from television news,” according to The Guardian. This could have been her motivation for taking the role of Leona Lansing – CEO of Atlantis World Media, the parent company of the cable news station featuring McAvoy’s show. Lansing is described as “a titan and her corporate concerns often conflict with the reporting of the news outlet she owns.” Fonda recently told Rosie O’Donnell that her marriage to Turner helped her prepare for her role in “Monster-in-Law”: “Living with him for ten years I learned that you can be completely outrageous and over the top and be totally lovable.”
The Jane Dough said the show looked like a serious version of the 2004 comedy Anchorman. But that show was about 1970s sexism in a newsroom. This takes place in the current year and the women at this station are the ones running the show. Besides Jane Fonda actually threatening to fire McAvoy (as he hurls out of control at work) while everyone else just panics, his producer (played by Emily Mortimer) tells him to get his act together (though he does try to throw a Blackberry at her.)
And there is no way Jane Fonda would take a role that was demeaning to women. This is the woman who recently said at The Most Powerful Women In Hollywood lunch that while women have made strides in front of and behind the camera, the entertainment industry needs more female decision-makers. ”Until more women wield the power to decide what movies and TV shows get made, Hollywood culture won’t really yield all the fascinating complexities that are the realities of women’s lives,” she said. “Until then, we’re accepting supporting roles in an industry many of us have devoted our lives to.”