By Tim Molloy - NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - Aaron Sorkin denied during a panel for "The Newsroom" that he has fired the show's writing staff, and denied that the women on his show are less intellectually formidable than the men.
Also, he says, he is not dating anyone on his staff and never has.
Sorkin faced a roomful of TV critics at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, many of whom have criticized his new HBO series. He quickly found himself responding to complaints that the women on the show, especially Emily Mortimer's Mackenzie MacHale, come off as ditzy compared to the men.
Sorkin said all of his characters are flawed, including the women. MacHale, for example, is portrayed as extremely qualified, and to be the key person in sparking improvements to the newsroom. But she also makes silly mistakes, like sending a very personal email to the entire staff.
Once he's established a character's fundamental intelligence, Sorkin says, he feels free to have them "slipping on banana peels."
"That's just comedy," he said.
Sorkin also shot down a report in The Daily - picked up by TheWrap and other outlets - that he was firing much of his writing staff. The Daily reported that the only returning writer would be Corinne Kingsbury, who the online newspaper identified as his ex-girlfriend.
No, no, no, said Sorkin. He joked that his writers were so nervous that they've started showing up to work early. He also said he and Kingsbury have not dated.
One change the show is making: Adding paid consultants to its staff for research. But Sorkin said he wouldn't identify them yet because no deals are complete.