The Apple TV Plus comedy and drama series The Morning Show has become popular amongst viewers for its take on how networks present morning news to the masses.
It looks as show hosts, the changing world of journalism and media, as well as which stories will get viewers’ attention. The series also examines a scandal involving a morning show co-anchor, which seems very much like one tied to Matt Lauer and NBC’s Today show.
So who is The Morning Show about? Is it based on Matt Lauer and the Today show in general?
The Morning Show is loosely inspired by real-life events
The loose basis for Apple TV Plus’ The Morning Show is a book written by journalist and current CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter in 2013.
That book is called Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. It delved into the battle between NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America to be the go-to daily program for viewers.
So there is some basis from the Today show for Apple TV Plus’ series. As seen in the series’ first several episodes, ratings and attracting viewers means a lot in the daily battle.
Getting the right image for the show’s hosts and finding the stories that keep viewers watching is of the utmost importance.
In 2013 I published "Top of the Morning." In 2017 I sold the rights to the book to Michael Ellenberg and his studio Media Res, not knowing what would happen. @TheMorningShow happened! Apple bought the show. Tonight it premieres in NYC. And on Friday it streams on @AppleTVPlus. pic.twitter.com/Kl8lcCB3Xa
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 28, 2019
As far as former Today co-host Matt Lauer, Esquire reports that his alleged misdeeds weren’t originally part of that book as they didn’t happen or come out until after it was first published.
Lauer was terminated from NBC in November of 2017 over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
On The Morning Show, Steve Carell’s co-host character Mitch Kessler is in a similar situation, terminated due to sexual misconduct with staff at the daily program.
However, lead actor Jennifer Aniston says of the show’s take on the Me Too movement, “It allows you to watch from your perspective.” After three episodes, viewers aren’t sure what direction Kessler’s situation might go in.
It’s worth noting that Stelter updated his book twice since its publication in 2013. Updates include mentions of the sexual assault allegations involving Matt Lauer as well as CBS morning news anchor Charlie Rose, according to a Variety report.
Is Morning Show’s Alex Levy similar to Ann Curry?
In his book Top of the Morning, Stelter goes into the real-life ousting of Ann Curry as a Today co-host by male executives. She became co-host in 2011 and was demoted to anchor-at-large only a year later.
There was speculation over what led to the situation behind-the-scenes, with some believing Matt Lauer mistreated her.
On The Morning Show, viewers see that Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is dealing with the firing of her co-host Mitch Kessler after 15 years of hosting the show together.
She compares it to having an on-television husband of 15 years that she’s lost. However, they seem to have kept things amicable after Kessler’s firing.
Still, there is a male network executive on The Morning Show who now has plans of replacing Levy with someone better for the show’s ratings. On the fictional Apple TV Plus show, that character is Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup), who is in a power struggle with the show’s host of 15 years.
So some very loose similarities to the executives trying to oust Curry from Today to the exec trying to get rid of Levy may be there. However, some report that Curry may not have been well-liked behind-the-scenes, whereas Levy mostly appears to be liked by those she works with on The Morning Show.
Additionally, it appears that Levy has found some leverage to keep her position, at least so far, on the program.
It seems like it should keep viewers checking back to see what’s next in the fictionalized daily news program.
Viewers can watch new episodes of The Morning Show every Friday on Apple TV Plus.