When last we saw The Morning Show, the drama was freshly in the wake of the firing of Mitch Kessner (Steve Carrell) and the very public shaming of UBA CEO Fred Micklen. As the Apple TV+ show returns for its second season this Friday, we’ll be dropped into that storyline once again—albeit a little bit down the road.
In the season two premiere—and this is all in the trailer, so it’s not really a spoiler—Jennifer Aniston’s Alex Levy has left the network and gone off to live in Maine, where’s she’s mostly left to her own devices. She’s convinced to return to the network by Billy Crudup’s Cory Ellison, who tells her that she’s bound for prestigious primetime news programming. But when Levy returns to The Morning Show, not all is forgotten, and she finds herself once again facing down her inner demons and reckoning with the complacency she had during Mitch’s reign of newsroom terror.
The A.V. Club sat down for a chat with Jennifer Aniston to talk about Levy’s arc, as well as the show’s decision to set its second season in COVID. It’s all in the video below, or if you’re more into reading, there’s also a transcript.
The A.V. Club: This season is set right on the precipice of COVID, and that’s an interesting decision because you have to thread the needle of “is this too topical” or “will people still want to hear about it by the time the show comes out?” How did you guys as producers try to thread that needle?
Jennifer Aniston: That was actually a concern. When we all shut down, we had started shooting. I think we had maybe shot one and a half of the first two episodes. When we shut down, we knew we had to incorporate COVID [into the season] because our show is topical, but we also were trying to play God and predict “will people want to be hearing about COVID when this comes out, because won’t it be gone?” And here we are and it’s not going well because it keeps mutating.
So we really were delicate. We didn’t bang it on the head. We also had so much more to cover, like the aftermath of their final broadcast where they unload, and the crumbling and possible deconstruction of UBA. And what does that look like? And cancel culture. What does that look like, what happens, where do all these people go?
AVC: That’s a lot of what Alex is struggling with this season: Her culpability in the Mitch scandal, what she saw, what she knew, and what she let happen.
JA: And what is going to happen, and who is she, and how did she let this happen, and what is her part, and who am I? And who do I want to be? And am I capable of that? When I come back—she does get seduced back, obviously—and I think she believes that she can take this newfound integrity and self-awareness with her back to the devil she knows. It’s not that easy.
AVC: How much of her concern is concern about people finding out versus her knowledge that she should have done better and known better?
JA: Those are ghosts that she kind of filed away and never thought would be discovered or found out. Imagine sitting on something like that for so long and just knowing where the bodies were buried. Even in writing her book, she gives a version of what she thinks is enough and appropriate, and then is taken down to her knees in terms of, “Who am I, and who have I become?”
The Morning Show’s second season premieres Friday, September 17 on Apple TV+. New episodes drop every week.