As Sarah just wrote, Apple brought out the stars yesterday at its big TV presentation. Apple TV+ will be launched this fall, which is the old-school television model, and probably its most highly anticipated series is The Morning Show, produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, alongside Steve Carell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, and more, inspired by Brian Stelter’s Top of the Morning, a book we reference a LOT on the Show Your Work podcast.
Top of the Morning is about the US morning show wars and the behind-the-scenes drama at The Today Show and The Morning Show is already locked in for two seasons, 10 episodes each, right out of the gate. This is not surprising. Apple has the money, they outbid several other networks for the rights, and given Reese’s producing record the last few years, combined with the fact that this is Jen’s return to television after Friends, this seems like a no-brainer. The Morning Show is, probably, why I’ll be subscribing. I want to see if they tell the story we need – about women competing and surviving in an institution that, in many ways, has been set up for them to fail, even though the entire daytime television environment only exists because of female viewership. During the presentation yesterday, Reese promised that she and Jen were playing “aspirational female characters”. Remember, though, “aspirational” does not necessarily have to mean “nice”. In fact, it shouldn’t be just “nice”. It certainly hasn’t always or even often been “nice” in that cutthroat space, even though the whole point of that space is that it’s supposed to feel like warm hug to go with your first cup of coffee. THAT is the compelling dichotomy here and that’s going to be the challenge of doing this story right: below the sunshine veneer of morning TV, let’s see the ugliness through the eyes of two of America’s sweethearts.
Like I said, the setup is irresistible. Which is why the anticipation is so high. If The Morning Show delivers on that promise, it’s all we’ll be talking about this fall and right into award season. The Golden Globes, for example, won’t be able to resist it. And at that point, Reese will be carrying two series on the circuit – The Morning Show and the return of Big Little Lies. As if you ever doubted Tracy Flick.
Here’s a brief tease of The Morning Show as part of the two minute sizzle reel that Apple played at the event yesterday: