As eager fans await the return of The Morning Show this September, the cast and crew have been very secretive when it comes to the plot of the second season.
Looking back at the premiere season, it can be argued that the series arc will remain eerily similar to the allegations made against Matt Lauer — a scandal that dominated headlines in 2017 and partly paved the way for the #MeToo Movement to hold powerful men in the media and other industries accountable for their behavior.
In 2017, NBC received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior,” Lauer's former co-host Savannah Guthrie announced November 29 on the morning show, revealing that Lauer had been fired after a sexual misconduct review.
The Morning Show stars A-listers Reese Witherspoon (Bradley Jackson) and Jennifer Aniston (Alex Levy) as cohosts of a morning news program, in the vein of the TODAY show, which has recently been hit with a sexual misconduct scandal. Actor Steve Carell plays the longtime male cohost, Mitch Kessler, who was fired after multiple women came forward claiming he used his power to manipulate and coerce them into sexual acts. Throughout the season, he tirelessly fights to clean up his tarnished image.
Although Aniston claimed the series was truly fictitious, OK! takes a look at the many similarities between the smash hit Apple TV+ show and some shocking accusations that were made in real life.
The allegations made against Lauer and Carell’s character (whose time on the fictional morning show earned him the nickname of “America’s Dad”) are strangely parallel, between the firing and the pleading to salvage his reputation. In The Morning Show, there is also a hidden button underneath the TV anchor's desk in his office that had the ability to close the door. It was reported that Lauer had a similar feature in his office; however, he denied the device in question existed.
The memorable detail in The Morning Show, though, appears to be ripped right from the headlines. A specific report of the daytime TV legend’s workplace conduct revealed that “his office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up,” according to Variety. “This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.”
After the revelation that Carell’s character had been fired from the network, Aniston had to announce the news alone on air — the same way Guthrie had to after Lauer was let go from NBC.
Another episode flashes back to when The Morning Show team was sent on-location to cover the Las Vegas shooting. Carell’s character then invited a young woman who works for the network to his hotel room after a long workday. The woman appreciates the gesture, but is also surprised when he makes a pass at her.
As he continues his advances, the young woman freezes at the thought of the most powerful news anchor in the world taking advantage of her. The scene seems to align with the report that Lauer initiated what a woman claimed was nonconsensual sex while they were on-location covering the Olympics.
As for where the plot of The Morning Show will head during its second season, fans will just have to wait and see. What has been reported, however, is that things between Aniston and Witherspoon, who were once besties, are a bit tense on set. A source spilled that during filming of the upcoming episodes, “there was some friction” between the costars. The source added that there was “some eyerolling and whispering going on.”
“Kerry Ehrin [the show’s co-creator] is back to the drawing board, and we are incorporating COVID in a way that is so exciting,” the Cake star said. “I mean, I’m not calling COVID exciting by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of where season one ended, because the covers were being pulled on the network.”