She's back! The new AppleTV+ series, The Morning Show, marks Jennifer Aniston's return to the small screen alongside her TV sister from Friends, Reese Witherspoon, and the actor formerly known as Michael Scott; Steve Carell. Aniston plays Alex Levy, a successful morning news anchor who is left to fend for herself after her co-host Mitch Kessler (Carell) is fired following sexual misconduct allegations. And given all that, you'd be forgiven for mistaking Aniston's Morning Show character for a real person — the narrative in which she falls is incredibly familiar.
The story of a powerful man brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct is a reality we all know well in the wake the #MeToo movement. As more and more people come forward, the same themes are repeated over and over. What we don’t often see is what happens behind the scenes of a show following such accusations, and we speak even less about the havoc these moments wreak on the women around the accused.
For Aniston's character Alex, the worry is that the network’s need to shake things up after the scandal will also lead to the end of her career. And the addition of her new co-host, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), doesn’t assuage her concerns. TV media is notorious for always having their eyes on the next big — and often younger — prospect, and that's the very reality in which Alex finds herself.
As such, Aniston took her dedication to realism to the next level. Before she began filming The Morning Show, she job shadowed reporters at Good Morning America. “Got there at 7 o’clock in the morning, and it was a fascinating world,” she told Jimmy Kimmel in an interview. “It’s like an engine that revs up for these two hours, from five to seven, and it’s just like something you’ve never seen before.”
Aniston also reportedly met with legendary journalist and anchor Diane Sawyer to glean some wisdom from her more than 40 years in journalism. “I worship her,” Aniston told Kimmel. “If I could emulate anyone, it would be her.” While she wouldn’t reveal everything they talked about, she did say that viewers might be able to spot one particular “Diane-ism” that she incorporated into her character.
That said, everyone involved in the new series has been quite clear that none of the series' characters are meant to stand in for real people. Morning Show writer and showrunner Kerry Ehrin had plenty of source material from decades of broadcast journalism, as well as the wave of sexual misconduct allegations flooding the news in recent years, but she and Aniston have said nothing is a direct representation of any particular anchor or story. “It was a combination of all these different scenarios of this taking place that we were representing,” Aniston told Yahoo! Entertainment.
So there you have it folks: Alex Levy is her own woman. But the world she lives in is all too real.