The Morning Show (alternatively Morning Wars in some regions) is a drama series created for Apple TV+ created by Jay Carson (House of Cards) and loosely based on the non-fiction book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter.
Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is the face of The Morning Show, a popular and influential morning news show on the fictional UBA network. When her longtime co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is ousted in a sexual misconduct scandal, she finds herself struggling to cope with the scrutiny on the show as well as herself, while rising reporter Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) threatens her lofty position in journalism.
Boasting an All-Star Cast, The Morning Show also features Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Nestor Carbonell, and Jack Davenport in major supporting roles. The series premiered as a launch title with Apple TV+ on November 1st 2019, alongside See, Dickinson, and For All Mankind.
The Morning Show contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Bradley sarcastically asks if she should dye her hair blonde to be more attractive to viewers. Reese Witherspoon is of course actually blonde.
- Steve Carell as a high-ranking (or at least FORMERLY high-ranking!) white collar whose wall-mounted, plasma screen television gets destroyed? Sounds familiar.
- Alphabet News Network: The fictional UBA. Also Bradley's former employer, SENN (South East News Network).
- As You Know: At the end of Episode 6, Alex's daughter goes into exposition while describing her father's (Alex's husband's) accomplishments.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Alex, whose last name is Levy.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with in the season 1 finale. When Hannah is found dead in her apartment, there is vomit on her shirt- but yet her face and mouth are completely clean. Not to mention the fact that she looks remarkably good for someone who had been struggling with PTSD, sleep deprivation and alcohol and drug abuse for quite some time.
- Cassandra Truth: Alex doesn't believe Mitch when he says that the network is planning on firing her. He's right.
- Downfall by Sex: Mitch Kessler had it at all- until his sexual misconduct came to light.
- Driven to Suicide: Possibly in the season 1 finale, when Hannah kills herself with pills after having revisited the night Mitch raped her. The show leaves it ambiguous as to whether the overdose was intentional or accidental- and Gugu Mbatha-Raw has stated that she believes it was the latter.
- Fox News Liberal: Bradley is ostensibly conservative, but always demurs actually giving a solid opinion and insists the truth is all that matters.
- Gambit Pileup: Just about everyone at the network is looking to get rid of someone else, and Mitchs firing sends all their plans into overdrive trying to be the first one to make their move.
- Gender-Blender Name: Bradley is usually a masculine name, but given to a woman here. To a certain extent, Alex too.
- Indy Ploy: Alex admits shes completely winging it by entrapping the network into bringing Bradley on board, and the execs indeed quickly start spinning it to another way to get rid of her. Bradley pays her back by going off-script in her first appearance, telling the ugly truth about her past the network is trying to cover up and perhaps sarcastically telling Alex she has no idea why she did it.
- Intrepid Reporter: Bradley is reckless and not afraid to insert herself into the stories she covers.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cory initially comes off as a cross between a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and an asshole, but through Season 1, it becomes increasingly clear that he is willing to do the right thing, though it is sometimes to his benefit (such as the plan to take down Fred.)
- Never My Fault: Like many sexual predators, Mitch does his best to blame his behavior on everyone (including UBA and his victims) BUT himself (he even has the audacity to claim that the sex he had with Hannah was not only consensual, but that SHE used HIM to get a promotion.).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the season 1 finale, Bradley interviews Hannah for her, Chip and Cory's plot to expose the corrupt and misogynist CEO of UBA. Her reliving the traumatic event of Mitch raping her ends up driving her to fatally overdose with pills.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Though the series was reportedly in development before the real life sexual misconduct scandals that resulted in the firings of Matt Lauer from Today and Charlie Rose from CBS This Morning, it's hard to ignore the parallels, although Mitch is presented much more sympathetically than either of his counterparts. One especially obvious reference to Lauer is his desk having a button that closes and locks his door.
- Product Placement: Unsurprisingly everyone has the latest Apple EVERYTHING- from phones to watches.
- Role-Ending Misdemeanor: In-universe example. Mitch is fired from The Morning Show after being accused of sexual misconduct.
- Serial Rapist; Two words: Mitch Kessler.
- Show Within a Show / Talk Show: The Morning Show is a morning show.
- Spiritual Successor: To HBO's Aaron Sorkin drama The Newsroom.
- Throwing Out the Script: Pretty much Bradley's modus operandi.
- Two First Names: Bradley Jackson and Jason Craig.
- Arguable in Bradley Jackson's case, as "Jackson" is far more common as a surname (and is considered unusual as a given name.)
- We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Rather than going to prepared footage the broadcast goes directly to a test pattern to cut off Alex and Bradley's on air rant at the end of season one. This is probably because the staff lock the door to the control room to allow them to continue
- Your Cheating Heart: The one indiscretion Mitch has no problem admitting to is that he's a serial cheater (yeah, not really something you should be proud of, Mitch!).