While other streaming services have a battery of properties ready to go at launch, along with a full library of existing titles — think Disney+ and its cavernous vault of shows and movies — Apple TV+ is banking on just a couple of big shows to break through. There will be nine originals available when the services launches this Friday, Nov. 1 (complete details in our Apple TV+ primer), but two series in particular are getting the bulk of the technology magnate's marketing efforts: Hailee Steinfeld's Dickinson, and the star-studded The Morning Show.
The Morning Show, set at a daily AM talk show is a riff on the #MeToo-related scandal that saw Matt Lauer removed from his seat as host thanks to multiple allegations of improper sexual conduct. It's a very of-the-moment series, with a lot of money to spend on talent, and thus has drawn major personalities to play in the sandbox.
You've probably already about at least one of show's highest profile gets, but it turns out the series leads are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to TV's newest all-star ensemble. Here's an overview of The Morning Show's biggest names:
Who she's playing: Alex Levy, a Katie Couric/Meredith Viera/Savannah Guthrie-type, who is suddenly the solo star of the show after a #MeToo scandal exposes her former co-host.
How you know her: Well, she co-starred on this obscure sitcom on NBC for eleven years. In many ways, Aniston's return to television is the story of The Morning Show (and Apple TV+'s launch as a whole). Other than some guest spots on shows like 30 Rock and Dirt, Aniston has mostly been a film star (and a celebrity news fixture). She returns to a TV audience that's waiting with open arms. Of course, Alex Levy is a very different kind of character than Rachel Green...
Who she's playing: Bradley Jackson, a small-town reporter who somehow hasn't risen through the ranks despite years in the industry. A viral moment at a coal protest suddenly thrusts her into the national spotlight.
How you know her: The first Academy Award winner in the cast — though not the only one — Witherspoon is best known for iconic roles like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Tracy Flick in Election, and June Carter in Walk the Line (the role for which she won that Oscar). She's also become a mega-producer in recent years, shepherding projects like Big Little Lies, Wild, and Gone Girl to major critical and commercial success.
Who he's playing: Mitch Kessler, a disgraced Matt Lauer-type who's fired from his own show after reports of his sexual indiscretions in the workplace come to light.
How you know him: Even if you didn't watch The Office, you almost surely know that he starred in it. Before that, he was a correspondent on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. He's also had a sturdy film career that includes such movies as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, The Big Short, and the Despicable Me franchise. He was nominated for Best Actor for his work in Foxcatcher.
Who he's playing: Cory Ellison, a newly promoted news executive from the entertainment division who's taking the news out of morning news shows.
How you know him: Even if you don't know him by name, you've seen Billy Crudup in something. Probably several somethings. His filmography ranges from animation to action to biopics to comic book movies. He has a SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast for his work in Spotlight and won a Tony for his role in the two-part play The Coast of Utopia. On television, he previously starred in the HBO film Too Big to Fail, and performed alongside Naomi Watts in Netflix's quickly forgotten Gypsy.
Who he's playing: Charlie Black, known as “Chip” to friends. He's the executive producer of The Morning Show and Alex's fairweather friend.
How you know him: As one half of the Duplass Brothers, he's known for directing, writing, and producing projects like Jeff Who Lives at Home, Togetherness, Room 104, and many more. He's also acted consistently throughout his career, taking parts in his own projects and others, like Zero Dark Thirty and Goliath.
Who she's playing: Hannah Shoenfeld, lead booker for The Morning Show, and a bit of a shark. She may look friendly, but she's got teeth to spare.
How you know her: The English stage-and-screen actress has appeared in movies like Belle, Beyond the Lights, and The Cloverfield Paradox. Her most beloved role was in Black Mirror's San Junipero episode, as one of a pair of star-crossed lovers.
Who he's playing: Yanko Flores, The Morning Show's weatherman. He's a potential successor for Mitch's seat, but an unlikely one.
How you know him: Honestly, this could go a bunch of different ways. Some will know him as Richard on Lost. Others might remember him from Suddenly Susan or Bates Motel. Batman fans may recognize him as the mayor of Gotham from the Dark Knight movies.
Who she's playing: Claire Canway, a member of the Morning Show production crew who's hiding a secret in the workplace.
How you know her: Powley made a splash in director Marielle Heller's acclaimed indie Diary of a Teenage Girl, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.
Who she's playing: Audra, anchor of a rival morning show with ratings that are dangerously close to eclipsing The Morning Show's. She's the Robin Roberts to Alex's Today Show hybrid.
How you know her: Reuniting with her Office co-star Carell, Kaling has made a major name for herself as both an actress, writer and producer, including six seasons of The Mindy Project and appearances in movies like A Wrinkle in Time, Late Night, and Ocean's 8.
Who he's playing: Jason Craig, Alex's ex-husband who is perhaps a bit too comfortable showing up unannounced at her home.
How you know him: Fans of Smash will shout “Derek Wills!” the second he walks on screen. (Seriously, even the costuming is basically what he wore as Derek.) More recently, Davenport was seen in the first season of CBS All Access' Why Women Kill.
Who she's playing: Maggie, an intrepid New York magazine reporter who wants to know all she can about new kid on the block Bradley Jackson.
How you know her: Another Oscar winner (for her work in 2000's Pollack), Harden has a long list of film credits, but she's also made room for TV, appearing in the second season of FX's Damages and the one (and sadly, only) season of ABC's Trophy Wife. She also won a Tony for her work onstage in God of Carnage.
Who he's playing: Playing an old friend of Mitch's, Short's character is something of an amalgam of different perpetrators named in the #MeToo movement.
How you know him: Martin Short is a legend in the comedy world, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Steve Martin. Like Harden, he also starred in a season of Damages, which was a major showcase for the darker side he channels in The Morning Show. His most recent regular appearance on TV was on the short-lived NBC variety show Maya and Marty, which he co-headlined with fellow Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph.
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Kevin O'Keeffe is a writer, host, and RuPaul's Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles.