Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, once the Green sisters on Friends, joined forces as coanchors and executive producers on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show in 2019, giving rise to a new streaming hit with major star power. Costarring Steve Carell, Billy Crudup, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the newsroom drama follows the aftermath of one popular anchor’s (Carell) firing after he was accused of sexual misconduct. His spot is filled by a younger reporter with a fresh perspective (Witherspoon), and his former coanchor (Aniston) is adjusting to the changes while fighting to stay relevant in an industry where the men in charge believe her time is running out.
Apple had so much faith in The Morning Show that it picked up two seasons right from the start, according to IndieWire. Sure enough, the series went on to receive Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations, even securing a SAG win for Aniston as lead actress and a supporting actor win for Crudup. The second installment of the series was due in 2020, but with delays and postponements brought on by a global pandemic, schedules have changed, as they have across the whole industry.
Season 2 was supposed to premiere last November.
That’s what showrunner Kerry Ehrin said while speaking to Variety in 2019. At the time, the creative team had already put together three episodes for Season 2. “We’re writing the show now; we’ll film it this summer; and we’ll be on next November,” she told the outlet. But no exact premiere date was made public.
The first season of The Morning Show arrived on November 1, 2019 the same date Apple TV+ launched.
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Production resumed on October 19.
Due to coronavirus delays, production for Season 2 paused on March 12, resumed on October 19, Deadline reported. Witherspoon confirmed the news with a tweet, saying, “And We are Bacccckkkkk!”
Witherspoon had said that the team was “four weeks in” when production halted. “So we are going to get back as soon as people are going to let us back to work,” she told Regina King in Variety‘s Actors on Actors series. On December 12, she shared a clip of herself back on the Morning Show set. “Guess who’s back!!!!” she captioned the video.
In January 2021, Jennifer Aniston also shared a sneak peek at production, posting behind-the-scenes selfies from her trailer.
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Steve Carell and other Season 1 cast members will return.
Though Carell was signed on a one-year contract, the producers “made it clear that they wanted him back and had indicated that they were pursuing a new deal with the actor,” Deadline reported.
Ehrin had previously expressed hopes to bring the actor back in the second season, though it was unclear in what capacity at the time. “You’ll see about Mitch [Kessler, Carell’s character]. We’re exploring it. There’s no update yet,” executive producer Michael Ellenberg said in January.
Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Bel Powley, Karen Pittman, and Desean Terry are also coming back. Gugu Mbatha-Raw will not be returning because of reasons related to her storyline.
The Season 2 storyline may introduce a “new world order.”
Discussing where the Morning Show story could go next, Witherspoon teased the world of possibilities that lie ahead after that bombshell Season 1 finale. “I feel like at the end of this ten episodes, there’s a whole new world order. It’s chaos,” she said in January at the TCA press tour. “No one knows who is in charge and what leadership means at this point. I think that’s what we’re exploring in the culture right now as it goes topsy turvy, what is the new normal? I’m excited that we’ve got a lot more to explore.”
In a similar vein, Ehrin told The Hollywood Reporter that the upcoming season is “a lot about transition.” She hinted that the show, much like workplaces that make changes following a sexual misconduct case, might still experience “a lot of the same shit.” She added, “So it’s really just examining the transition period more but with the same themes of: What is real? And people having this desire to have control over their own lives, which they perceive as being through power.”
The season is being rewritten to include the pandemic.
Mark Duplass told Deadline, “We shot two episodes before we shut down due to the pandemic, but I know that they’re also rewriting, which is crazy because that’s what happened in the first season. They had a whole set of scripts [then] and they rewrote everything to include the #MeToo movement, and now we’ve got other, larger, global phenomenon to deal with. I don’t know what they’re doing but I know they’re rewriting.”
Morning Show director Mimi Leder confirmed the change while speaking to GoldDerby: “We’re a morning show that deals with the ills of the world, racism, injustice, and all that morning show light stuff. And then you incorporate COVID, just like the morning shows did.”
She also told Deadline that “the writing will reflect the world we’re living in.”
Hasan Minhaj is joining the cast.
The star of Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj will appear in Season 2 in a recurring role–Eric, “a charismatic, rising star who joins The Morning Show team,” Deadline reports. This marks Minhaj’s biggest acting gig yet and his first role in drama. Before hosting the Peabody-winning Patriot Act, which was canceled in August after two years, Minjah was a correspondent on The Daily Show.
“A new chapter. Can’t wait for y’all to see the new season of @themorningshow!” the actor and comedian said of the news.
Greta Lee and Ruairi O’Connor are also joining.
Lee, who previously appeared in Russian Doll and High Maintenance, will play Stella Bak, “an ambitious leader of an online media company that caters to a millennial and Gen Z audience,” according to Deadline.
O’Connor, whose credits include The Spanish Princess, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, will play Ty Fitzgerald, a YouTube star.
Julianna Margulies has been cast too.
Over four years after the finale of The Good Wife, star Julianna Marguiles is headed for The Morning Show. She’ll play Laura Peterson, an anchor on UBA News, Deadline reports. The role follows her recent appearance on Showtime’s Billions.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US