Sloan Sabbith, played by actress Olivia Munn, is fluent in Japanese. Munn is actually fluent in Japanese, as she spent her childhood living in Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan, and graduated college with a minor in Japanese.
Leona Lansing, portrayed by Jane Fonda, is a character (CEO of a media conglomerate) not unlike Ted Turner, Fonda's third husband, from 1991-2001. In the first episode in which Fonda's character appears, other characters have a conversation comparing the "Tea Party," circa 2010s, and "leftist radicals," circa 1960s, and one of the names mentioned as one of the leftist radicals is "Hayden," a reference to Tom Hayden, Fonda's second husband, from 1973-1989.
After shooting the first couple of episodes of season 2, with Rosemarie Dewitt as Rebecca, the network's lawyer, Aaron Sorkin decided to rewrite the Genoa storyline and told so to HBO. The network agreed to do it, but clarifying that the season was then nine episodes, not 10. Dewitt was replaced by Marcia Gay Harden due to scheduling problems.
A young John Gallagher Jr. was featured in one episode of Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing" as a high school boy named Tyler who helps Josh, Toby, and Donna catch up with the Bartlet campaign after they are left behind by the motorcade in Indiana.
The lobby and exterior of the ACN building is not a set; it is the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park (which is in front of HBO Head Office). The building is located on 6th Avenue between 42nd & 43rd streets. In certain scenes, Bryant Park can be spotted in the background.
There was another character in the pilot script that was meant to be in the series, his name was Steve. When Thomas Sadoski came to audition for the character of Don Keefer, Aaron Sorkin decided that Steve was no longer necessary to the plot and Sadoski's character, Don, could take on some of his properties. In the Newsroom panel at PaleyFest, Sorkin said that Sadoski "swallowed a character".
The character "Margaret 'Maggie' Jordan" was based on the real-life Margaret Judson, an MSNBC insider who started out as an NBC Page and worked her way up through the ranks in a real-life network newsroom. Judson was hand picked and eventually cast by Aaron Sorkin for the role of "Tess Westin." Judson also worked with the writing team as a special consultant.
Aaron Sorkin has declared himself a fan of The Office and Parks and Recreation several times, and several actors from those shows appeared on The Newsroom, like B.J. Novak, Paul Lieberstein (director and producer on the last season), Natalie Morales, Paul Schneider and Alison Becker.
In The Newsroom (2012)'s fictional "universe," which Aaron Sorkin has created, ACN stands for Atlantis Cable Network. There is a real life ACN in Canada which provides Internet and telephone services, and there was an ACN cable network in the USA at one time. It was "America's Collectibles Network" and sold everything from knives and watches to cosmetics and jewelry. In 2002, "America's Collectible Network" changed its name to Jewelry Television. Seen in approximately 80 million homes, they still use the ACN name legally and on signage at their broadcast location in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.