Written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks, 1987's Broadcast News is a romantic comedy starring Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and William Hurt. Set against the stage of television evening news, and reflecting the reality of a changing news media environment, Broadcast News was released in theatres seven years after the introduction of CNN and the 24-hour news cycle.
Writer/Director James L. Brooks began his career as a copywriter at CBS News during the golden era of television news broadcasting. Broadcast News serves as his critique of the new news model where serious "hard news" is replaced by "feel-good" stories and serving the public interest has been traded in for an increase in network profits.
Jane Craig (Hunter) is a television producer for the network's Washington desk. She is idealistic, driven, espouses journalistic ethics like religious dogma and is fighting the good fight against those who want to pander to the corporate interests. The enigmatic, good-looking Tom Grunick (Hurt) is Jane's romantic interest and the source of tension in and out of the newsroom. Recently hired and under-qualified, Tom is the embodiment of everything Jane stands against. He doesn't always understand the news, but as the new Washington news desk anchor, he "reads it good." Aaron Altman (Brooks) completes the romantic triangle. He's Jane's colleague and best friend, a skilled and seasoned writer/reporter, whose on-air ambitions are hampered by his social awkwardness and a face made for radio. (Also, Jack Nicholson has a cameo as the network's New York evening news anchor.)
James L. Brooks' film utilizes residential D.C. as the location for Broadcast News. The neighborhood feel of the movie highlights idea that the world of television news is small and intimate, where everyone knows each other. Brooks chooses to shoot most of the film in old City of Washington. Prior to 1871, the northernmost border of City of Washington was Florida Avenue (Boundary Street before 1871) and Georgetown was a separate district from the rest of the city. This, the old city is where Brooks locates the residences of his characters Jane Craig, Aaron Altman and Tom Grunnick. Thus, the film focuses on the Capitol Hill and Dupont Circle neighborhoods as the characters are mostly depicted outside beautiful brick Victorian row houses emblematic of the old city. Also, as a stray observation, Holly Hunter wears a F.O.N.Z. (Friends of the National Zoo) t-shirt.Read More