Sidney Poitier was approached about taking the role of POTUS on NBC’s hit serial The West Wing, series creator Aaron Sorkin reminds us in Monday’s premiere of The Big Interview on AXS TV. (Check out a clip of the interview below.) “I don’t think I’ve said this to anyone before, because I have not wanted Martin Sheen to think he was anything but our first choice at the beginning,” Sorkin tells Dan Rather, who conducts all the interviews for the limited entertainment-industry interview series debuting Monday. Entertainment Weekly reported this casting news ages ago, adding that the show did not want to pay Poitier’s asking price. But, anyway, Sorkin says that’s not the point. “And, here’s the point that I’m trying to make,” he explains — “I never say, ‘We have too much of this and we need a little less of that and we’ve got to get the color mixture right. I absolutely, when it comes to casting, want to put the best athletes on the field.” After delivering his version of the old “colorblind-casting” trope, Sorkin switches almost immediately in the interview to talking about his HBO series The Newsroom, which is tops on the list of Shows The Reporters Who Cover Television Love To Hate-Watch, for reasons not entirely clear. It may be that they simply dislike Sorkin, a lot. Some have complained about Newsroom’s female characters, describing them as guy-obsessed needy ditzes, though that’s inconsistent with other series they love to bits — series that make the women of The Newsroom look like the Greek Furies. Rather, on the other hand, is an unabashed fan of The Newsroom. When not interviewing Sorkin for The Big Interview, Rather will be chatting with Roger Daltrey, Cody Simpson, Merle Haggard, Daryl Hannah and others, for AXS TV — the entertainment channel formerly known as HDNet owned by a consortium of Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest Media, Anschutz Entertainment Group, and CAA.
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