[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 Present returns, it’s two years after the occasions of the season two finale.
The timeline of the Jennifer Aniston- and Reese Witherspoon-starring Apple TV+ media drama had resulted in March of 2020 with a no-filter, dwell broadcast from COVID-positive anchor Alex Levy (Aniston), who advised her viewers to “keep protected and keep sane” because the nation was unknowingly on the cusp of lockdown. Community boss Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) had simply confessed his like to anchor Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), whose girlfriend Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) escaped to Montana; and the crew of the collection’ The Morning Present was getting ready to ship the information remotely amid the looming pandemic.
The third season, which launched its first two of 10 episodes on Wednesday, now jumps forward to open in March of 2022. Each Alex and Bradley have been promoted to steer their very own primetime information exhibits; Laura is anchoring the rival morning present; and Cory is courting an Elon Musk-like billionaire, performed by newcomer Jon Hamm, to purchase UBA amid a dangerous media panorama that the CEO likens to a sport of “three-card capitalism,” one he wasn’t capable of win along with his season-two launch of streamer UBA+.
“The world as we all know it’s over. We’re formally within the Thunderdome,” Cory tells his prime anchor Alex, whereas standing on his proverbial cleaning soap field. “In 5 years, half the streaming companies? They’ll be gone or purchased out. In 10 years, the web can be 3D. You’ll actually be in individuals’s residing rooms. We have to construct a time machine to take us to the long run, and that’s going to take actual deep pockets! Somebody with more cash than God.”
Enter Paul Marks, Hamm’s tech titan and doable investor, who’s becoming a member of the suborbital spaceflight race and planning to ship Alex up on his inaugural rocket launch within the first of what’s going to turn into many entanglements with the TMS crew in season three.
“That leap to March 2022 is as a result of we wished to get far sufficient to see what occurred with the UBA+ launch and get us on the opposite aspect of the pandemic so we’re nearer to the place we’re proper now,” Michael Ellenberg explains to The Hollywood Reporter of the well timed themes the present confronts in season three. “Although it’s set a yr prior to now, it seems like proper now. That was actually our purpose. We need to be tackling the noisiest, most-controversial issues in our tradition and in addition give our characters a platform to see them in challenges that we hadn’t seen them in earlier than.”
Certainly, the present’s legacy media community is in disaster. So The Morning Present‘s artistic crew introduced in Paul Marks to be, because the Media Res government producer sums up, the white knight to both save UBA — or destroy it.
Did Apple have any notes about this theme of tech titans taking on the media panorama? Ellenberg presents fun earlier than answering, “Apple are human beings who work there and, like us, they’re going via these identical questions daily. And so I feel for everybody engaged on this present, it’s remedy just a little bit. The trade is transferring so rapidly. It’s thrilling; it’s eccentric. Proper now, it may be scary, and we need to give the viewers a window into what’s taking place.”
The tempo of The Morning Present season three’s first two episodes strikes rapidly, as viewers attempt to piece collectively what has gone down for this ensemble within the two-year time leap. Newsroom boss Mia (Karen Pittman) swoons over a journalist overseas whom viewers have by no means met; Laura and Bradley have damaged up; and, within the largest thriller of the brand new season, Bradley and Cory are harboring a secret between them that’s so deep he goes to bat for Bradley when the community is hacked, suggesting the board pay a ransom of $50 million with a view to protect no matter else it’s they’re hiding.
And whereas that Bradley storyline is definite to stay with viewers after the premiere — an specific video she despatched to Laura is used as bait by the hackers — it’s one other sub-plot involving her character that helps drive a propulsive theme of the season.
Earlier within the first episode, whereas Alex is combating for her personal seat on the UBA desk, Bradley is equally annoyed when her bosses, together with Greta Lee’s scene-stealing UBA president Stella, forestall her from masking an abortion entry story she labored onerous to supply. That abortion-related storyline was a seed planted by the writers and new showrunner Charlotte Stoudt, who took the reins of the third season from earlier showrunner Kerry Ehrin — and who each have a prescient high quality they create to The Morning Present. (The collection has already been renewed for a fourth season.)
Ehrin, as showrunner of the primary two seasons, pivoted scripts to sort out each the #MeToo motion and the COVID-19 pandemic. When plotting season three, Stoudt and her writers room tracked the chance of Roe v. Wade being overturned and when the Supreme Courtroom’s Dobbs v. Jackson determination leaked in Might of 2022, the writers revisited the script whereas in onerous prep on the manufacturing to incorporate Roe‘s overturn (which was made official on June 24, 2022) in a later episode of the season. The season then started filming in August.
Amid Hollywood’s ongoing twin WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Stoudt together with producers-actors Aniston and Witherspoon had been unavailable to debate the season. Their producing companions, when chatting with THR, stay in awe of first Ehrin and now Stoudt’s skill to, as they are saying, learn the tea leaves relating to foreseeing and plotting well timed storylines.
“Essentially the most surreal second for me was having a script that had already had elements of [Roe‘s overturn] in it after which the headline hitting us in actual time in our actual lives,” recollects Kristin Hahn, Aniston’s producing associate with Echo Movies, to THR. “I simply bear in mind the shock and ache of it, and we had been engaged on notes on the script. It felt very, very surreal. We had been residing artwork imitating life loads. It was very mishmashed, significantly for that episode.”
Lauren Neustadter, who produces with Witherspoon via Whats up Sunshine, tells THR, “Charlotte got here in with such a spirit of reverence for the whole lot that Kerry had carried out. She got here in as as an admirer. What all of us had been blown away by was her astute statement that every of the earlier two seasons had been a couple of theme that mirrored the world we had been residing in in a really considerate and distinctive approach. And what she was most excited to discover was the notion of the reality and the truth that proper now, on this second, everyone is speaking in regards to the fact and the reality is so totally different for each single particular person.”
She continues, “That’s actually the theme that’s guiding us: Fact and the subjectivity of fact for every of those individuals. For Alex and Bradley, particularly, we’ve gone on such a journey with them for the primary two seasons. Right here we’re in season three and so they’re coming into all of this energy. They’ve the issues they’ve dreamed of in season one and now, what are they going to do? And, who’re they going to decide on to be?”
Season director and government producer Mimi Leder additionally credit Stoudt for conceiving the arc earlier than Roe was formally overturned and for crafting one other season of life and artwork mirroring each other, whereas additionally driving the storylines for the starring characters performed by Aniston and Witherspoon. “It was actually important and vital, and we had been glad we had been tackling it,” she tells THR.
Of the present’s evolution, she references Steve Carell’s late character to say “we moved previous the Mitch story, the #MeToo motion, however his ghost is unquestionably nonetheless within the constructing. We pivoted from sexual misconduct to ladies’s autonomy and the way it’s undermined, ladies’s reproductive rights, abortion rights. Girls’s company was a very vital theme for us and the way it’s being challenged proper now. All of our ladies are considerably challenged, and, thematically, we got here to a spot the place we wished to speak the state of the reality in journalism and in ourselves and within the lies we inform ourselves.”
The Morning Present releases new episodes Wednesdays on Apple TV+.