For about a year and a half now, we’ve thought of Apple’s upcoming streaming service as that thing we’ll pay for just to watch that Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon show, and after Apple’s big event in Cupertino during which they officially unveiled their Apple TV+ service, we’re still basically thinking of it in the same way. Indeed, it was Witherspoon and Aniston’s project The Morning Show that took center stage at the event, with the actors and their costar Steve Carrell on hand to hype it up and reveal just a little snippet of footage.
We already knew that the project took some light inspiration from Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning, about the ratings war between NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America, but it was never planned to be a direct dramatization. In fact, it seems the show will find most of its drama within one workplace, rather than between feuding morning programs.
“Through the prism of those underslept, overadrenalized people in front of and behind the camera, we take an honest look at the complex relationships between women and men in the workplace, and we engage in the conversation people are a little too afraid to have unless they’re behind closed doors,” Aniston said at the event.
Witherspoon added that “The Morning Show is seen through the eyes of two ambitious, aspirational female characters,” and that it’s a “high-velocity thrill ride in which we pose questions without easy answers and shine a light on the fault lines in our society at this very complicated cultural moment.”
While Apple didn’t premiere a full trailer, footage from the show also featured in a supercut of shows that are in the works for the new service.
From the footage, we can surmise that it’s Aniston who is playing the on-air talent, while Witherspoon’s character seems to be a behind-the-scenes professional. It also confirms that the fictional show-within-a-show is simply titled The Morning Show. (Interestingly, the set Aniston’s character is stationed in seems more reminiscent of local morning news shows than a typical GMA or Today set, but we may be reading too much into that.)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, Néstor Carbonell, Mark Duplass, and Bel Powley round out the cast, while Mimi Leder will serve as director for the series. Otherwise, we still don’t actually know that much about the series.
And perhaps that’s because Apple wants it that way. For now, anyway.
This morning’s event was less about breaking down the concept of each show like a traditional network upfront presentation and more about Apple reminding us that they’ve paid lots of money to get lots of famous talent onboard to launch their Netflix competitor (Witherspoon and Aniston will reportedly be paid $1.25 million an episode). Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey also made appearances, and creators and stars like J. J. Abrams, Octavia Spencer, Jason Momoa, Brie Larson, and Jennifer Garner are among the other talent involved. The initial effort doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of niche or specialty programming and is instead swinging for a wide audience from the beginning (they’ve got a whole lot of sci-fi, fantasy, and thriller programming planned).
Still, Apple did finally announce when to expect Apple TV+’s debut (fall 2019) and how the programs will be available (through the existing Apple TV app, and eventually more devices, including Apple laptops and non-Apple devices), though no monthly subscription price was announced.