Meet Margaret Judson, everyone. She’s from Arlington Heights in the North Chicago suburbs, and she works on a TV program as both a consultant and a fake producer. What’s that? Did you just ask if we really meant to write “Margaret Jordan,” the character played by Alison Pill on HBO’s The Newsroom?
Funny you should ask. In actuality, Margaret Judson is just a young 20-something who used to work for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann before being “discovered” by Aaron Sorkin and asked to consult on The Newsroom!
And wait, it just got weirder.
According to an interview she gave to Suburban Chicago newspaper the Daily Herald:
Sorkin asked Judson, an Arlington Heights native and Prospect High School alumna, to be a consultant on his new HBO series, The Newsroom, and ultimately gave her the small role of producer Tess Westin.
For two seasons, Judson—who had no previous acting experience—has been working alongside actors Jeff Daniels (who is up for a Best Actor Emmy Award Sunday for his role on the show), Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston and others.
So she plays a producer on the show, after being asked to consult on the show, for which a character (who is a producer, and not played by her, because she is playing another producer) is pretty obviously named?
Q. How did you cross paths with Aaron Sorkin?
A. I met Aaron when I was working as a research assistant for Keith Olbermann. He came into our newsroom to research for a pilot he was calling “More As This Story Develops” at the time. I showed him around and answered all of his questions. When he started to write the pilot, he got back in touch and asked me to be a consultant. He sent me the first draft of the script, and I absolutely fell in love with it. On a whim, I asked for an audition. He told me “no” and said that just because you work in a real newsroom doesn’t mean you can play it on TV. He’s such a stand-up guy, though, that once it came time to audition, he remembered that I had asked and offered for that to be how he would thank me for my help. So I went in for the audition—and the rest is history!
Ambivalent emoticon! We all know Mr. Sorkin likes to base his Newsroom characters on women he has met after asking them to be “consultants” for the show.