“Daniel wants what everyone wants. He wants a piece of the pie. He wants in the game … He is very vocal about his ambition,” The Morning Show star Desean Terry tells Refinery29 about his new Apple TV+ character, hyper academic journalist Daniel Henderson. Terry and his co-star, True Blood alum Janina Gavankar, are sitting on the patio of a West Hollywood hotel explaining what drives their respective characters. Gavankar laughs and says of her own Morning Show denizen, career-climbing co-anchor Alison Namazi, “Alison sees Daniel's pie as an appetizer. She is there because she sees this opportunity as a stepping stone.”
Ambition. Long-con power grabs. Games. It’s impossible to hear the Morning Show pair banter about their upcoming Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston-led streaming series, premiering November 1, and not think of the most treacherous show of the century: HBO's Game of Thrones. After all, The Morning Show revolves around the oftentimes petty goings-on of, well, a fictional national morning show. The biggest question on most of the cast's minds is who will get to sit in the big important chair every day (only here the throne is shiny and padded rather than fashioned by the swords of slain enemies).
The Morning Show is even a show led by two queens — Aniston's Alex Levy and Witherspoon's Bradley Jackson.
Before you start thinking the series is a mash-up of King’s Landing and Good Morning America; however, there are some things you need to know. This series is about so much more than behind-the-scenes backstabbing.
“I actually think we’ve seen that show before,” Gavankar says when asked if Morning Show is just power playing Game of Thrones in a network-ready pantsuit. “This would be that show if it would ignore the state of our country and the movements that finally have a voice.”
Morning Show doesn’t fall into that trap. The inciting incident of the series is born out of a #MeToo scandal. Show-within-a-show The Morning Show is thrown into chaos when its veteran anchor Mitch Kessler (The Office icon Steve Carell) is outed as a serial predator at his nationally beloved workplace. The first chunk of episodes made available to critics question how the people closest to incident reconcile their proximity to Mitch’s disgraceful behavior — and whether they think it's all that disgraceful in the first place. The results are murky, complicated, and painfully honest.
“We’re not here to repeat ourselves. This is art imitating life and the many stories Morning Show is based off of,” Gavankar says before adding for dramatic effect, “So it’s more than that — it’s more than Game of Thrones!”
Still, if you really want to know which of your Thrones favorites the Morning Show cast sees in their characters, Gavankar and Desean Terry do have answers. “When you ask me that question, I’m thinking about how everybody dies,” Terry says with a laugh. “I’m gonna say it. I’m gonna go for it. Daniel is Arya.”
Gavankar also picks a Westerosi who survives until the very end, explaining, “Alison is Bran. She’s sitting back. She’s sitting back to be the leader of whatever comes next — a generation after this.”