It feels like it’s been years – rather than mere months – since Apple introduced its roster of original programming for its forthcoming streaming service Apple TV+. But even prior to its official announcement, reports were already swirling that its offerings were so dull that the product was being referred to internally as “expensive NBC.” And reader, if a teaser trailer for The Morning Show is any indication, it appears those rumours have been extremely generous.
For those unfamiliar with Apple’s mostly flaccid lineup of soon-to-premiere original content, The Morning Show is described as a window into “the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the men and women who carry out this daily televised ritual.” The show, which was picked up by Apple with a 20-episode order in 2017, stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell.
The series is reportedly partly informed by Brian Stelter’s Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. But based on the morsels of information that we were able to pull out from the one-minute long, largely incoherent teaser (sans appearances from any actual characters), the show doesn’t seem very promising:
What is this? Who is Reese Witherspoon “pushing” in this bizarre mashup of stray lines matched to a poignant piano piece? Who hurt Steve Carell and why is he “fighting back”? What does any of this have to do with reporting the news? Who the fuck knows! Again, not a single soul actually appears in the trailer, so pinpointing what this show will actually be about is as frustratingly difficult now as it was many months ago.
It doesn’t help that outside of official marketing for the show, Apple’s brass has been characteristically mum. Citing producers and agents familiar with Apple’s original programming, the Wall Street Journal reported back in September that the company wanted “high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.”
Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue disputed those claims in an interview with British GQ, saying the series is “about women in the workplace and some of the issues that happen to them are definitely not appropriate for you to watch with an eight-year-old.” But when pressed for details, he indicated only that the show’s “language” would be inappropriate, adding that there were “other things. But I don’t want to spoil it.”
The only thing we really know for certain is about this as-yet embarrassingly dramatised vision of journalism is that it’s debuting in autumn.
A question Apple should probably be asking itself right about now – all things considered – is why it believed we needed The Newsroom 2.0.