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What You Ought To Know About The Morning Show: Plot, Cast, and Reviews

Shrijan Published On Tue Feb 18 2020   Modified On Tue Feb 18 2020
What You Ought To Know About The Morning Show: Plot, Cast, and Reviews

The Morning Show is the flagship of Apple's streaming service Apple TV+.  Helmed by three lead of Hollywood's finest in Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon, the series has grown on audiences and after its riveting season finale,

The first season dropped on Apple TV+ on November 1, 2019, with a second season set to premiere in late 2020. 

Here is what you should know about the show:

The Plot

The series draws inspiration from American political commentator, Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.

The show is centered around the fictional show on the UBA Network, The Morning Show. When the lead anchor of the show, Mitch Kessler, is fired for his alleged involvement in a sexual assault scandal, his co-host of 15 years, Alex Levy, fights to stay on the show. 

Mitch is replaced by the impulsive and reckless field reporter, Bradley Jackson, who clashes with Alex on almost all fronts. The clashing ideologies between the two competing female co-hosts provide most of the drama and tension to the show.    

The Cast

The Morning Show is led by a trio of Hollywood powerhouses: Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon.

Jennifer Aniston plays Alex Levy, the co-host of The Morning Show. Her job is in doubt when her co-host of 15 years, Mitch Kessler is fired over sexual misconduct allegations. She may or may not have had a hand in the cover-up attempts, but she does not hesitate to stoop to the depths of the abyss to keep her job.

Steve Carell plays Mitch Kessler, the disgraced co-host of The Morning Show. His tenured job as the host is rescinded when a scandal comes to light of his alleged involvement in a sexual misconduct incident.

Reese Witherspoon plays Bradley Jackson, a reckless and capricious field reporter who lands the co-host gig at The Morning Show.

The ensemble cast of The Morning Show
The ensemble cast of The Morning Show
Source: Twitter @TheMorningShow

Billy Crudup plays Cory Ellison, the cutthroat executive of UBA's entertainment division who takes over the UBA news operations.

Néstor Carbonell plays Yanko Flores, a meteorologist employed at the UBA network.

Bel Powley plays Claire Canway, a production assistant at The Morning Show.

Jack Davenport plays Jason Craig, Alex's recently-estranged husband.

The Reviews

The Morning Show is an aberration in that it was almost universally panned by fans and critics during the first leg of its 10-episode run, but by the end of the season, those same people were praising the show.

On IMDb, The Morning Show holds a rating of 8.4/10 based on reviews by the site's 26,659 users. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show holds an approval rating of 63% based on 96 critic reviews. The average audience approval rate is a far cry from the middle-of-the-road critical reception, and as of February, stands at a whopping 94% based on 1215 audience reviews.

The show holds a score of  61 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Stuart Heritage, writing for The Guardian, praised the show, calling it "excellent TV". He went on to say:

"So far, six episodes of The Morning Show have aired on Apple TV+, and in that time it has blossomed into something quite special. It is funnier than it should be. It is more kinetic than it should be. It is much, much weirder than it has any right to be. Hand on heart, I have fallen for The Morning Show – and I have fallen hard."   

 The performances on the show have also been a constant point of appraisal among critics and fans. Jennifer Aniston and Billy Crudup, in particular, have been singled out as the stand-out performances of the whole show.

Heritage went on to praise Aniston's performance in his review, saying:

"As the co-anchor who may or may not have been complicit in the #MeToo scandal on her show, Aniston is asked to do a lot. She has to be sincere and insincere, furious and insecure, aloof and needy – and she hits every single note. To watch Aniston on The Morning Show is to resent Friends for robbing us of a truly incredible dramatic actor."

He was also appraising of Billy Crudup in the show and attributes Crudup for the rave reviews the show is garnering.

" Initially presented as a one-note grasping network executive, [Billy's] character quickly becomes something far more interesting. He slides through his scenes with a singsong malevolence, lobbing metaphorical bombs at all the characters just to see what happens. He has no real morality, and doesn’t seem interested in the traditional self-interest of a man in his position. He is like Puck, or Loki; he functions as an audience representative, kicking everything over whenever it starts to get too earnest. In one episode, he performs, out of the blue, a Sweeney Todd number in its entirety. He may well be the single best television character of the year."

Is The Morning Show Worth a Watch?

The Morning Show is the first major show to be picked up by the up-and-coming Apple TV+ streaming platform. It is also one of the most expensive shows to ever be made for television, with a reported budget of $12 million; the two lead women Aniston and Witherspoon alone rake in $2 million in salary per episode. That is to be expected from the two, as they also double as the show's executive producers. 

With all the fanfare associated with the show, it was a worrying sign when critics found a lot to be desired with the show, with the dialog and the over-the-top characterization of people being among the top points of contention. 

But despite the initially tepid critical reception, the show manages to reel in viewers by the end and keep them interested until the closing shot.

Billy Crudup and Jennifer Aniston are the unquestioned highlight of The Morning Show
Billy Crudup and Jennifer Aniston are the unquestioned highlights of The Morning Show
Source: Global News

The Morning Show is a behind-the-scenes look into the cutthroat world of television morning shows, and showbiz as a whole. The show is also an indictment of the pervasive sexual harassment practice in the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. 

A gripping portrayal of the real-life business that has made and ruined countless people, The Morning Show is essential viewing, especially for people who think Jennifer Aniston can only play the ditzy blonde comedy eye-candy. 

She gives a tour de force, and she only plays second fiddle to the unquestioned highlight of the series- namely Billy Crudup. His portrayal of the neurotic, megalomaniacal TV executive, Cory Ellison steals every shot from his more-than-able counterparts.