West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin retires from TV: “I’ve had much more failure than success”

"I’m pretty certain I’m about to write my last three episodes of television,” says the writer of the seminal political saga

The West Wing is arguably one of the best shows ever made, with its witty scripts and enthralling stories of life in the White House. Yet its creator, Aaron Sorkin, says he’s done with writing for television.


“I know the whole ‘never say never’ stuff,” Sorkin told the Los Angeles Times. “But I’m pretty certain I’m about to write my last three episodes of television.”

His announcement comes after a string of relative flops. Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, starring Friends’ Matthew Perry, was cancelled after one series and his latest project The Newsroom, a drama about the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News channel, was a reasonable success at first but soon received largely negative reviews in the US.

Some critics found it smug and self-indulgent and others took issue with its unflattering portrayal of women. 

“I’ve had much more failure, as traditionally measured, than success in television,” Sorkin said. “I’ve done four shows and only one of them was The West Wing.”

But the writer, who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2011 for The Social Network, was clear that his recent failures had not ruined his enthusiasm for the industry. 

“And I want to be really clear about this,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute I’ve spent in television.”


Fans will be relieved to know that Sorkin isn’t planning to retire completely. He’ll continue to write screenplays and is currently working on the Steve Jobs biopic, which is being directed by Danny Boyle and is rumoured to star Michael Fassbender.