What Is Apple+'s 'The Morning Show' Based On?

Theories abound.

Shoulder, Premiere, Dress, Hairstyle, Fashion, Carpet, Cocktail dress, Event, Blond, Joint,
(Image credit: YouTube)

The Morning Show, a.k.a. the show that's bringing Jennifer Aniston back to our TV screens, will be released on Apple+ on Friday, November 31. The show has opened to mixed reviews, though Aniston herself has garnered acclaim for her work as veteran show host Alex Levy. The plot involves a #MeToo sexual misconduct scandal that feels eerily similar to those of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, both on-air broadcast journalists who were accused of predatory behavior in the wake of #MeToo and removed from their positions. (In that way, the show bears some similarities to the upcoming movie Bombshell, which is based on the real-life story of the Fox News women who exposed Roger Ailes.)

So, does The Morning Show draw specifically from a single scandal or scandals involving broadcast journalists in the past few years—or is it only loosely based on #MeToo, and the drama is fictional? Fans already have their theories, but here's what we know.

The Morning Show is based on a book.

American journalist Brian Stelter used his experience working as a media reporter for the New York Times to write Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. The show actually draws inspiration from Stelter's book, which covers the competition between Good Morning America and Today, as well as Ann Curry's short and ill-fated replacing of Meredith Vieira. So it's not necessarily one show that provides inspiration, but several.

Spoilers about The Morning Show ahead. The plot introduces a morning show host who had been in the industry forever. He's accused of sexual misconduct by a number of coworkers, and he claims the relationships were consensual. The character fights back against some of the allegations—oh, and Steve Carell looks exactly like Matt Lauer. All of this has made fans wonder if the show draws inspiration from the Matt Lauer scandal in particular—especially since, unfortunately, new allegations have been brought to light in that real-life case. (trigger warning: rape, but you can read about it here.)

Aniston says it's about a combination of people, however.

Howard Stern flat-out stated the obvious comparison. "It’s fascinating because it’s about a guy who’s one of the biggest morning star guys, and he f*cks up, and he gets thrown out. Very #MeToo. It’s Matt Lauer," he said.

"It’s a lot of people. He is the archetype for those, unfortunately many, men—it was more than just Matt,” Aniston responded, referencing Rose as another inspiration.

Stern reminded her of the physical similarities between Carell and Lauer. "There is an uncanny resemblance," she admitted, "but it’s not."

The Morning Show will air on Apple+ from Nov. 1. You can get Apple+ for a year when you get a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch, or Apple TV, or you can subscribe here.

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Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.