Aaron Sorkin says he is aware of the negative critical response to "The Newsroom," but is confident his series is on the right track.

The Hollywood Reporter said HBO tried to let the U.S. writer-producer out of his obligation to participate in a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles Wednesday, but Sorkin insisted on talking to the journalists, many of whom openly expressed their dislike for his show.

During the discussion, Sorkin disagreed with criticism suggesting female characters played by Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Olivia Munn were depicted as inferior and, in some cases, incompetent compared to their male counterparts.

"I completely respect that opinion but I 100 percent disagree with it," he said, adding female characters "are shown being good at their jobs. Caring about something other than yourself or reaching higher or being curious, plainly smart, and great team players, those qualities to me are what define these characters. And once you nail that down you can have them slip on as many banana peels as you want. That's just comedy."

The show's star, Jeff Daniels, appearing with Sorkin on the panel, said: "One of the things I like about Aaron's writing -- and then I'll shut up -- all of Aaron's characters have flaws. We come on with these big warts and flaws and I love that about his writing. And, yeah, Emily's character is established and smart and then she keeps screwing up. And that's one of the reasons that [my character] Will loves her."

The entertainment industry trade newspaper said Sorkin also denied rumors claiming most of the show's writing staff had been replaced ahead of the planned second season.

"The writing staff was not fired. And just seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff. They're acting very, very strange," he quipped. "They're coming to work early. They're being polite to me."