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The true story behind Apple TV's ‘Morning Wars': A #MeToo scandal on breakfast TV.

Morning Wars (released as The Morning Show in the US) has been released in Australia today, on Saturday November 2, as the marquee series of Apple TV’s new streaming service – also launched today.

The drama series, featuring star cast Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell, explores the complex, camera-ready relationships of breakfast TV hosts who work intimately with each other in the competitive journalism industry, inspired by Brian Stelter’s 2013 book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.

After a sexual misconduct case is levelled against Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell) subsequently seeing him be fired, his co-anchor, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is left to deliver the news to America just moments after being informed of the allegations.

While she navigates the aftermath, Alex is also left fighting for her own job when her new rival, reporter Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) threatens to take her place.

A #MeToo drama, the series explores the stone-strong power structures in workplaces and, by extension, society.

Watch the trailer for Morning Wars here. Post continues after video. 

Video via Apple TV

The drama is also loosely based on NBC’s Today Show in the United States, a show that found itself embroiled in a #MeToo scandal in November 2017.

Matt Lauer, host of the breakfast show for over twenty years, had a sexual misconduct claim made against him and was fired from the network within days of the complaint.

Analogous to Jennifer Aniston’s character in Morning Wars, Lauer’s co-anchor Savannah Guthrie was due on air shortly after being told that her co-host had been let go and would not be returning.

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Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in Morning Wars. Image: Apple TV.
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Guthrie, joined by colleague Hoda Kotb, read aloud the company-wide email she received from NBC's chairman informing his employees of Matt Lauer's termination, before adding her personal distress at the news.

"We just learned this moments ago, just this morning," Guthrie said on air. "As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. And I will tell you right now, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists, I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you.

"And Hoda, I mean, all we can say is that we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt, he is my dear dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story, and any other women who have their own stories to tell."

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Savannah Guthrie, joined by colleague Hoda Kotb, delivered the news that her co-host had been fired. Image: NBC News.

Hoda Kotb added: "You feel like you know someone for 12 years, you feel like you know them inside and out, and all of a sudden a door opens up and it is a part of them you didn’t know. We don’t know the facts in all of this, but they are not allegations of an affair. They are allegations of a crime. I think that is shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years."

When Aniston was asked by US radio host Howard Stern if the show was based on the sacking of Lauer given the stark parallels, she replied: "It's [about] a lot of people."

"He's the archetype for those many men...it was more than just Matt." She denied that the show was solely based on Lauer's sacking.

While some subplots of Morning Wars are fictional, such as Reese Witherspoon's character, other parts are remarkably similar to real life events of morning TV shows.

Morning Wars is available to stream on Apple TV+ from today, November 2.


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