[This story contains spoilers from the first two episodes of The Morning Show season three, “The Kármán Line” and “Ghost in the Machine.”]
When The Morning Show returns, it’s two years after the events of the second season finale.
The Apple TV+ media drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s timeline ended in March 2020 with a filter-free live broadcast from COVID-positive host Alex Levy (Aniston) telling her viewers to “stay safe and…” Stay safe” as the country was unknowingly on the verge of lockdown. Channel boss Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) had just confessed his love to presenter Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), whose girlfriend Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) had fled to Montana; and the crew of the series’ The Morning Show was preparing to deliver the news remotely amid the looming pandemic.
The third season, the first two of 10 episodes of which were released on Wednesday, will now premiere in March 2022. Both Alex and Bradley have been promoted to lead their own prime-time news shows; Laura hosts the competing morning show; and Cory woos an Elon Musk-like billionaire, played by newcomer Jon Hamm, to buy UBA amid a dangerous media landscape that the CEO likens to a game of “three-card capitalism” that his cards won’t win was able to start the second season of the streamer UBA+.
“The world as we know it is over. We’re officially in the Thunderdome,” Cory tells his top host Alex while standing on his proverbial soapbox. “Half of the streaming services in five years? They will be gone or bought out. In 10 years the Internet will be three-dimensional. You will literally be in people’s living rooms. We have to build a time machine that will take us to the future and that will cost really big pockets! Someone with more money than God.”
Enter Paul Marks, Hamm’s tech titan and would-be investor, who is joining the suborbital spaceflight race and plans to send Alex on his first rocket launch in the first of many entanglements with spaceflight TMS Team in the third season.
“This jump to March 2022 is because we wanted to get far enough to see what happened with the launch of UBA+ and get us to the other side of the pandemic so we are closer to where we are now” , explains Michael Ellenberg The Hollywood Reporter one of the current topics that the series deals with in the third season. “Even though it’s set a year in the past, it feels like it’s now. That was really our goal. We want to tackle the loudest and most controversial things in our culture and also give our characters a platform to see them in challenges we’ve never seen them in before.”
In fact, the show’s legacy media network is in crisis. So The morning showThe creative team brought in Paul Marks to be, as Media Res executive producer sums it up, the white knight who will either save – or destroy – UBA.
Did Apple have any comments on this topic of tech titans taking over the media landscape? Ellenberg laughs before answering: “Apple are people who work there, and like us, they go through the same questions every day. And so I think it’s a little bit like therapy for everyone who works on this show. The industry moves so quickly. It is exciting; it is eccentric. It can be scary right now and we want to give the audience a glimpse into what is happening.”
The pace of the The Morning Show The first two episodes of season three move quickly as viewers try to piece together what happened for this ensemble in the two-year time jump. News director Mia (Karen Pittman) raves about a journalist abroad whom viewers have never met; Laura and Bradley have separated; And in the biggest mystery of the new season, Bradley and Cory harbor a secret so deep that when the network is hacked, he stands up for Bradley and suggests the board pay a $50 million ransom to keep everything else they’re hiding itself.
And while Bradley’s storyline will certainly stick with viewers after the premiere – an explicit video she sent to Laura is used as bait by the hackers – it’s another subplot involving her character that is helps advance a driving theme of the season.
As Alex fights for her own place at the UBA table at the start of the first episode, Bradley is similarly frustrated when her superiors, including Greta Lee’s high-profile UBA president Stella, prevent her from covering an abortion story she’s been working hard to get has worked . This abortion story was planted by the writers and new showrunner Charlotte Stoudt, who took over the helm of season three from previous showrunner Kerry Ehrin – and both of whom have a prescient quality The Morning Show. (The series has already been renewed for a fourth season.)
As showrunner for the first two seasons, Ehrin scripted to address both the #MeToo movement and the COVID-19 pandemic. When planning the third season, Stoudt and her writing team determined the likelihood of this happening Roe v. Wade will be repealed and when the Supreme Court Dobbs vs. Jackson After the decision was leaked in May 2022, the writers revised the script again while intensively preparing to enter production roe‘s fall (which was officially announced on June 24, 2022) in a later episode of the season. Filming for the season began in August.
Amid the ongoing double walkouts by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA in Hollywood, Stoudt and producer-actors Aniston and Witherspoon were unavailable to discuss the season. Talk to your production partners THRI continue to be impressed by Ehrin and Stoudt’s ability, as they say, the ability to read, when it comes to anticipating and planning contemporary storylines.
“The most surreal moment for me was having a script that already had aspects of it in it [Roe‘s overturn] “In there and then the headline hits us in real time in our real lives,” recalls Kristin Hahn, Aniston’s producing partner at Echo Films THR. “I just remember the shock and pain as we worked on notes on the script. It felt very, very surreal. We lived art and often imitated life. It was very messed up, especially for this episode.”
Lauren Neustadter, who produces with Witherspoon on Hello Sunshine, tells it THR“Charlotte came in with such awe of everything Kerry had done. She came in as an admirer. What blew us all away was her astute observation that the previous two seasons each dealt with a theme that reflected the world we live in in a very thoughtful and unique way. And what she wanted to explore most was the idea of truth and the fact that right now, in this moment, everyone is talking about the truth and the truth is so different for every single person.”
She continues, “That’s really the theme that guides us: truth and the subjectivity of truth for each of these people.” With Alex and Bradley in particular, we took such a journey with them in the first two seasons. Here we are in season three and they are experiencing all this power. They have the things they dreamed of in season one, and what are they going to do now? And who will they choose?”
Season director and executive producer Mimi Leder also praises Stoudt for the conception of the story arc roe was officially canceled in favor of creating another season of life and art that reflected each other while advancing storylines for the main characters played by Aniston and Witherspoon. “It was really meaningful and important, and we were glad we took it on,” she says THR.
On the development of the series, she references Steve Carell’s late character, saying, “We’ve moved past the Mitch story and the #MeToo movement, but his spirit is definitely still in the building.” We’re from sexual misconduct to autonomy women and their undermining, women’s reproductive rights and the right to abortion. Women’s representation has been a really important issue for us and is currently being questioned. All of our women are significantly challenged, and thematically we came to a point where we wanted to express the state of truth in journalism and in ourselves and in the lies we tell ourselves.”
The Morning Show releases new episodes on Apple TV+ on Wednesdays.