When Apple TV+ launched its flagship series The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, it didn’t exactly knock critics off its feet with a 61% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Compare that to the first season of HBO’s Big Little Lies, another Witherspoon-produced zeitgeist series about #MeToo or even Netflix’s binge-pioneering DC takedown show House of Cards at 86% fresh. There was some displaced anger laid on by critics for myriad reasons; Morning Show series EP and director Mimi Leder saying last November, “I just felt there were a lot of Apple haters and wanting Apple to fail” at a Recode Media Conference to reviewers simply making a hasty judgement about the show at a time when they only had access to a handful of screeners.
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Had the critics stuck around, they’d realize how much The Morning Show rings loudly as a hardball deconstruction of the broadcast news business, particularly in the wake of NBC News chief Andy Lack’s departure — his facets arguably portrayed via news suit Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup), a guy who likes to experiment with programming formats, to Tom Irwin’s network boss, Fred, an exec who likes to cover-up.
Then there’s Carell playing Mitch Kessler, whose tormented fate as an anchor echoes the alleged misconduct of Matt Lauer, and Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson, an spitfire anchor who surprisingly could make the same on-air mistakes as Megyn Kelly, and we’ve got a series that feels like we’re watching an all-too familiar broadcast network in a slow-motion car crash. Meanwhile Aniston plays Alex Levy, the queen bee anchor of UBA’s morning show who is shocked to learn about her co-cost Mitch’s misfires. Alex must contend with Cory’s fresh take on adding Bradley to the show, as she looks to survive and not be aged out of the job by her superiors.
To date, The Morning Show has scored a Screen Actors Guild win for Aniston in the Best Actress TV drama category, as well as Best Actor TV drama nods for Carell and Crudup. In addition, The Morning Show received three Golden Globes noms — Best TV series drama, and best actress drama nods for Witherspoon and Aniston.
Listen to our conversation below with The Morning Show EP Kerry Ehrin on she got the series up and running.
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