|The Morning Show|
|Also known as||Morning Wars|
|Created by||Jay Carson|
|Based on||Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV|
by Brian Stelter
|Developed by||Kerry Ehrin|
|Opening theme||"Nemesis" by Benjamin Clementine|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||50–69 minutes|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Audio format||Dolby Atmos|
|Original release||November 1, 2019 –|
The Morning Show (also known as Morning Wars in Australia and Indonesia) is an American drama streaming television series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, that premiered on Apple TV+ on November 1, 2019. The series is inspired by Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.
Alex Levy anchors The Morning Show, a popular breakfast news program broadcast from Manhattan on the UBA network that has excellent viewership ratings and is perceived to have changed the face of American television.
After her on-air partner of 15 years, Mitch Kessler, is fired amidst a sexual misconduct scandal, Alex fights to retain her job as top news anchor while sparking a rivalry with Bradley Jackson, a haphazard field reporter whose series of impulsive decisions bring her into a new world of TV journalism.
Cast and characters
- Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy, co-host of UBA's The Morning Show.
- Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson, a field reporter turned TMS co-host
- Steve Carell as Mitch Kessler, the recently fired co-host of The Morning Show.
- Billy Crudup as Cory Ellison, a UBA executive from the network's entertainment division who recently took over news operations.
- Mark Duplass as Charlie "Chip" Black, executive producer of The Morning Show.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Hannah Shoenfeld, the head talent booker for The Morning Show.
- Néstor Carbonell as Yanko Flores, the meteorologist for The Morning Show
- Karen Pittman as Mia Jordan, a producer at TMS
- Bel Powley as Claire Conway, a production assistant at TMS
- Desean Terry as Daniel Henderson, co-host of the weekend edition of TMS who has his sights set on the weekday host's chair
- Jack Davenport as Jason Craig, Alex's husband from whom she is secretly separated
- Tom Irwin as Fred Micklen, UBA's president
- Victoria Tate as Rena Robinson, Chip's assistant
- Janina Gavankar as Alison Namazi, Daniel's co-host on the weekend edition of TMS
- Shari Belafonte as Julia
- Joe Marinelli as Donny Spagnoli
- Katherine Ko as Dhillon Reece-Smit
- Ian Gomez as Greg
- Augustus Prew as Sean
- Amber Friendly as Layla Bell
- Eli Bildner as Joel Rapkin
- Hannah Leder as Isabella
- Marcia Gay Harden as Maggie Brener, a reporter and journalist.
- Andrea Bendewald as Valérie
- Michelle Meredith as Lindsey Sherman
- David Magidoff as Nicky Brooks
- Joe Pacheco as Bart Daley
- Kate Vernon as Geneva Micklen
- Oona Roche as Lizzy Craig, Alex and Jason's daughter
- Joe Tippett as Hal Jackson
- Roman Mitichyan as Sam Rudo
- Mindy Kaling as Audra, a rival morning news anchor
- Adina Porter as Sarah Gravele
- Brett Butler as Sandy Jackson
- Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Gabriel
- Greta Lee as Stella Bak (Season 2)
- Ruairi O'Connor as Ty Fitzgerald (Season 2)
- Hasan Minhaj as Eric (Season 2)
- Fred Melamed as Neal Altman
- Ahna O'Reilly as Ashley Brown
- Natalia Warner as Cecily
- Mark Harelik as Richard
- Markus Flanagan as Gerald
- Embeth Davidtz as Paige Kessler
- Martin Short as Dick Lundry
- Andrew Leeds as Alan
- John Marshall Jones as Noah
- Zuri Hall as herself
- Kelly Clarkson as herself
- Kelly Sullivan as Vicki Manderly
- David Morse as Mr. Jackson
- Julian Morris as Andrew
- Cheyenne Jackson as himself
- Robert Cicchini as Robert
- Mike O'Malley as Tim Eavers
- Romy Rosemont as Sheila Lutkin
- Brian Bowen Smith as photographer
- Paul Guilfoyle as Reid
- Ethan Cohn as Jared
- Dana Davis as Christine
- Maria Sharapova as herself
- Hayes MacArthur as Marlon Tate
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"In the Dark Night of the Soul It’s Always 3:30 in the Morning"||Mimi Leder||Kerry Ehrin & Jay Carson||November 1, 2019|
|The Morning Show, a popular news and talk morning television show, is thrown into chaos when co-anchor Mitch Kessler is fired amid allegations of sexual harassment. Fellow anchor Alex Levy grows furious at Mitch and the network for keeping her in the dark and later meets with Mitch, who reveals the network plans on replacing her. Elsewhere, conservative reporter Bradley Jackson becomes a viral sensation after a video of her angrily fact-checking a coal mine protester is posted on social media. Bradley quits following a confrontation with her boss and, after an argument with her family, is asked to appear on The Morning Show for an interview. Alex, who is skeptical about Bradley's claim that she was unaware of being filmed, presses her during the interview, which Bradley manages to get through. Network head Cory Ellison later calls Bradley and asks to meet her so they can discuss her future.|
|2||"A Seat at the Table"||Mimi Leder||Story by : Kerry Ehrin & Jay Carson|
Teleplay by : Kerry Ehrin
|November 1, 2019|
|Cory arranges a meeting for Bradley with the show's executive producer, Chip Black. His dismissive manner sets Bradley off, leaving her sure she has ruined her chances. In the middle of contract negotiations and knowing the network needs her to stabilize the show after Mitch's departure, Alex tries to leverage the situation to get all of her demands, including co-host approval. Cory invites an unwitting Bradley to an event honoring Alex, and seats the women next to each other. Cory scoffs at Alex's demand for co-host approval, and calls her bluff when she threatens to leave the show. During her speech, Alex announces a shocked Bradley as her new co-host.|
|3||"Chaos is the New Cocaine"||David Frankel||Erica Lipez||November 1, 2019|
|The staff of The Morning Show are in turmoil over the announcement. Alex has told the press that Bradley will debut the following Monday, so as the team prepares to work all weekend to prep her, Alex arrives to assert some control over the proceedings. Meanwhile, a frustrated Bradley has not even decided if she will accept the job. Mia Jordan asks Chip to make her Bradley's producer, and announces herself in the position before he has offered it to her. Forced to go along with Alex's announcement or lose face, network head Fred Micklen is furious, but Cory sees Bradley as an opportunity to reinvent the show and eventually be rid of Alex. Bradley is unhappy with her initial wardrobe and camera tests, so she challenges the copy Mia is providing her, and dispenses with the clothing chosen for her by Alex. Fred summons Alex to browbeat her in front of a room of network executives, but she informs him that he lost power over the show long ago, and from now on they will be doing things her way.|
|4||"That Woman"||Lynn Shelton||Adam Milch||November 8, 2019|
|Bradley makes her debut on The Morning Show but, chafing at the scripted persona the show has given her, ends up mentioning her personal struggles as a teen, including having an abortion. This revelation incites controversy and infuriates Fred, but it also galvanizes the younger, pro-choice audience. Alex is convinced to give Bradley the interview with one of Mitch's accusers, but Bradley goes off script and the accuser reveals more than the producers had planned. Meanwhile, an investigation is launched by human resources into Mitch's conduct, with most of the crew offering their support to Mitch and denying knowledge of his sexual misconduct. Alex begins to experience some professional jealousy as America embraces Bradley and ratings rise.|
|5||"No One's Gonna Harm You, Not While I'm Around"||David Frankel||Torrey Speer||November 15, 2019|
|The Morning Show braces itself for a story from The New York Times on Mitch's behavior leading him to crash the studio and beg his former coworkers to speak on the record in his defense. When the weekend hits, Alex hosts a charity fundraiser which seemingly goes well, but she is thrown by talk of Bradley's success and Cory's proposal that they collaborate, leading her to seek out solace from Mitch. Bradley tries to bond with her coworkers by going out to celebrate Claire's birthday at a bar only for the night to get heated as talk eventually turns to Mitch, and Bradley receives a call from her estranged father. As the Times story hits, Mitch is enraged that Fred has thrown him under the bus and vows to take him down.|
|6||"The Pendulum Swings"||Tucker Gates||Kristen Layden||November 22, 2019|
|The Morning Show travels to California to cover the wildfires engulfing the state. Alex struggles on and off screen as she is still angry at Bradley for accusing her of covering for Mitch and is devastated by Jason's decision to officially divorce. After melting down on screen she is comforted by Bradley and the two later reconcile when Alex opens up about the divorce and Bradley talks about her alcoholic father. Fearing for his job, Chip suggests he could be an ally in helping Cory take over from Fred leading Cory to suggest that he only come to him when he has real dirt on Fred. Hannah gives Claire professional advice which leads to Claire successfully lobbying Bradley for a position as her assistant. Later, Hannah catches Claire sneaking into Yanko's room to celebrate.|
|7||"Open Waters"||Roxann Dawson||Jeff Augustin||November 29, 2019|
|Alex and Jason announce to their daughter, Lizzy, that they are getting a divorce. Lizzy blames Alex for prioritizing her job over her family. Alex's PR team warns her that news of the divorce could damage her career, causing her to lean on Bradley for support. Yanko and Claire are called to HR and decide to come clean about their relationship, a decision that relieves Yanko but leaves Claire wondering if her job is on the line. After an inappropriate remark about Mia leads to a member of the production team being fired by Chip, Mia has a meltdown and confirms to the entire studio that she was involved with Mitch. Bradley contemplates an offer from Mitch about interviewing him on air to reveal that the network was involved in covering for him. After he promises he can get a witness to corroborate his story he turns to Hannah, who he believes exchanged sexual favors for a promotion from him.|
|8||"Lonely at the Top"||Michelle MacLaren||JC Lee||December 6, 2019|
|Back in 2017, Mitch stresses over turning 50. Now that his affair with Mia has recently ended, Mitch has Chip remove her from his team and place her with Alex, who the network is considering replacing due to tanking likability numbers. The cast and crew of The Morning Show surprise Mitch with a huge birthday party at the studio, where Claire meets weatherman Yanko for the first time. As the party winds down Hannah begins to see reports of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting breaking on Twitter. Mitch and Alex travel to Vegas to cover the shooting with Mitch asking Chip to bring Hannah, still only a junior booker, along with the team. Alex and Mitch struggle emotionally with the reporting. When Mitch cannot sleep he heads out to a memorial and runs into Hannah. They return to Mitch's hotel room, where he sleeps with her. Back in New York, Hannah barges into Fred's office; he stops her before she can report the incident and promotes her to head booker to buy her silence and she accepts.|
|9||"Play the Queen"||Kevin Bray||Erica Lipez & Ali Vingiano||December 13, 2019|
|Bradley reveals to Alex that she wants to go forward with interviewing Mitch in order to take down Fred. After Alex takes the news badly both women begin to work behind the scenes to get what they want with Bradley going to Cory for backing while Alex secretly approaches Fred to work out a plan for getting rid of Bradley. Hannah reveals to Claire that she was the one who reported them to HR, causing them to fall out and Claire to loudly declare her love for Yanko. The strain of public scrutiny, however, proves to be too much for Claire and she breaks up with him. Hannah confronts Mitch about how powerless she felt during their sexual encounter only for him to berate her for her naiveté. Hannah reluctantly agrees to corroborate how Fred enabled her promotion, but wants to remain anonymous. A heartbroken Chip, who learned that Alex was willing to get rid of him as part of a pact with Fred, agrees to help Cory and Bradley in producing the Mitch interview.|
|10||"The Interview"||Mimi Leder||Kerry Ehrin||December 20, 2019|
|After Mitch reveals that Hannah will corroborate his side of the story, Bradley meets with Hannah, who breaks down while recalling Mitch's sexual assault. She asks Bradley to not reveal her identity and to wait until she accepts the job at UBA in Los Angeles before doing the interview with Mitch. Aware that moves are being made behind the scenes to expose his allowance of sexual misconduct, Fred grants Alex co-host approval in order to gain her support in firing Chip. Chip explains the interview plan to his assistant, Rena, and gets her to agree to smuggle Mitch into The Morning Show to do the interview live and on air, letting her know that he has been fired and that they need to act soon. Claire, trying to make amends with Hannah, shows up at her apartment and discovers that Hannah is dead from an overdose. News of her death shocks everyone, resulting in Bradley calling off the interview and a fight between Chip and Mitch. While on air, Alex snaps and along with Bradley, exposes Fred and UBA for their knowledge of sexual misconduct and the creation of a toxic culture. The feed is cut off as Bradley encourages more people to speak out.|
On November 8, 2017, it was announced that Apple had given the production a series order consisting of two seasons of ten episodes apiece. The series was set to be executive produced by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jay Carson, and Michael Ellenberg. Carson was expected to act as a writer and showrunner for the series as well. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Media Res, Echo Films, and Hello Sunshine. On April 4, 2018, it was announced that Carson had departed the production over creative differences. He was replaced as executive producer and showrunner by Kerry Ehrin. On July 11, 2018, it was reported that Mimi Leder would serve as a director and executive producer for the series. On October 23, 2018, it was reported that Kristin Hahn and Lauren Levy Neustadter would serve as additional executive producers for the series.
On June 22, 2020, Aniston revealed in a Variety interview with Lisa Kudrow that the show's development began before the MeToo movement, but was ultimately reworked to include and partially focus on it.
The show cost $15 million per episode, with Aniston and Witherspoon each earning $2 million per episode, not including producing fees and ownership points.
Alongside the initial series announcement, it was confirmed that Aniston and Witherspoon had been cast in the series' lead roles. In October 2018, it was announced that Steve Carell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, Néstor Carbonell and Mark Duplass had been cast in series regular roles. On November 7, 2018, it was reported that Bel Powley, Karen Pittman, and Desean Terry had joined the main cast of the series.
Principal photography for the first season commenced on October 31, 2018, at the James Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, California. Filming continued in Los Angeles until filming started in New York City on May 9, 2019. Filming of the first season also wrapped in May 2019, after seven months of filming.
Production on the second season began on February 24, 2020. On March 12, 2020, Apple TV+ suspended production on the series due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second season resumed filming on October 19, 2020.
During the Apple Special Event, a teaser trailer was released with footage from the series as well footage from other original series set to premiere on Apple TV+. Furthermore, Aniston, Witherspoon, and Carell were at the event to tease the series.
On August 12, 2019, Apple released a first look trailer for the series. It was also revealed that the series will be titled Morning Wars in Australia, in order to distinguish the series from the Australian morning talk show of the same name. On August 19, 2019, Apple released a full trailer for the series.
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 61% approval rating, based on 104 reviews, with an average rating of 5.78/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Flashy, but somewhat frivolous, The Morning Show often feels more like a vanity project than the hard-hitting drama it aspires to be—but there is pleasure to be had in watching Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon give it their all." Audiences on Rotten Tomatoes however, by contrast, rated the first season of the series at 93%. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 61 out of 100 based on reviews from 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave a positive review and wrote: "The Morning Show doesn't have the cinematic gravitas of the Showtime series The Loudest Voice or the Aaron Sorkin poetry of HBO's The Newsroom. It's more along the lines of the solid but underachieving Sports Night TV series from the late 1990s."
Awards and nominations
|2020||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||The Morning Show||Nominated|||
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Jennifer Aniston||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Billy Crudup||Won|||
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Jennifer Aniston||Won|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series||Steve Carell||Nominated|
|TCA Awards||Outstanding New Program||The Morning Show||Nominated|||
|Black Reel Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama Series||Gugu Mbatha-Raw||Nominated|||
|Online Film & Television Association||Best Actress in a Drama Series||Jennifer Aniston||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Billy Crudup||Won|
|Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Martin Short||Nominated|
|Best New Title Sequence||Angus Wall Hazel Baird, Emanuele Marani, EJ Kang, Peter Murphy and Erik Righetti||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Steve Carell (for "Lonely at the Top")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Jennifer Aniston (for "In the Dark Night of the Soul It’s Always 3:30 in the Morning")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Billy Crudup (for "Chaos is the New Cocaine")||Won|
|Mark Duplass (for "The Interview")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Mimi Leder (for "The Interview")||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Martin Short (for "Chaos is the New Cocaine")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Main Title Design||Angus Wall, Hazel Baird, Emanuele Marani, EJ Kang, Peter Murphy and Erik Righetti||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||John Paino, James F. Truesdale and Amy Wells (for "In the Dark Night of the Soul It’s Always 3:30 in the Morning")||Nominated|
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