When The Morning Show debuts on Nov. 1, Apple+’s star-studded vanguard series, featuring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, will bear little resemblance to its original version announced two years ago.
That's because, as the creators have revealed in recent weeks, the show was dramatically retooled in the wake of Hollywood's #MeToo reckoning. While the series was initially described as "an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the women (and men) who carry out this daily televised ritual," it became something decidedly more topical.
In its final form, The Morning Show traces the aftermath of the shocking termination of a beloved morning show anchor (Carell) for sexual misconduct allegations, leaving his longtime co-host (Aniston) and several other network staffers to pick up the pieces.
"The show that we had, it was a good show," star and executive producer Witherspoon told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above). "But we didn't know all these things were happening. So to not deal with them would've been irresponsible."
"It just unlocked a whole 'nother door and found all these other unbelievable stories behind that hidden door that just added to the complexity of the show that we were already going to be doing," said Aniston, who is also an executive producer.
"And there were so many different stories that came out of the news, from one network, then another network, then a head of a network [Les Moonves]," added Witherspoon, noting the characters are "amalgams" of various media figures who have faced misconduct allegations. (While Carell's character bears numerous similarities to ousted NBC host Matt Lauer, the actor insists he's not playing a fictionalized version of the former Today anchor.)
Asked how The Morning Show will continue the ongoing discourse around #MeToo, Witherspoon said: "I think we tackled it. You have to go right into the mouth of the beast."
"It's no secret that this show wasn't even supposed to be about #MeToo before it started, and now it is," Duplass said. "Look, this is a larger systemic thing that everybody is dealing with. And I would just say that a lot of people are interested in tackling this subject matter. But an article, in my opinion, is not enough. And a book sometimes is not enough. And our show certainly will not be enough. But we have 10 hours. And we have a lot of human characters to dig into, and our show has a nice platform to tease these things out and give it the time to sort of get into the nuance of it."
The Morning Show premieres Nov. 1. Watch Steve Carell talk about his character:
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