The Morning Show: Billionaire Battle for UBA’s Future

3 min read

he Morning Show” exudes the aura of a high-quality prestige TV series, but its occasional forays into nonsensical situations and implausible scenarios can be frustrating. In its third season on Apple TV+, the show continues to blend real-world events into its storyline, but it might be better off embracing a soap-opera-style fantasy rather than trying to emulate “Succession.”

Similar to HBO’s “Succession” and Showtime’s “Billions,” enigmatic billionaires play a significant role in the latest season’s storyline. Paul Marks, portrayed by Jon Hamm, enters the scene as a rocket-flying mogul whom network executive Cory Ellison, played excellently by Billy Crudup, is fervently courting as a potential buyer for UBA. This sets the stage for a high-stakes battle that involves network anchors Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon).

The maneuvering around the acquisition deal provides the most engaging and satisfying plot in a season that delves deep into the cutthroat world of corporate power, including the aftermath of an email hack that threatens to expose embarrassing company secrets. This storyline mirrors real-life events at Sony in 2014 and offers a credible fictional portrayal of the behind-the-scenes chaos during a public-relations crisis.

Unfortunately, the series often veers into misguided territory with various controversial storylines, such as the portrayal of the Jan. 6 insurrection and revisiting the early days of the Covid pandemic. It also tackles the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade but tends to handle these topics in a melodramatic manner. For instance, the way one of the anchors publicly posts provocative political content about the Supreme Court feels implausible.

The show continues to explore complicated workplace relationships with big personalities and intense emotions, including Bradley’s romance with Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) and a new potentially complex entanglement for Alex.

While “The Morning Show” initially garnered attention for its star-studded cast, including Aniston and Witherspoon, and demonstrated Apple’s ability to attract A-list talent, it struggles to consistently deliver on that promise. Despite its handsome production and talented ensemble, the series doesn’t always reach the heights expected from a show set in the world of TV news and corporate media. Previous classics like “Network” and “Broadcast News” have excelled in this milieu, but “The Morning Show” faces challenges in maintaining the same level of quality.

As one character notes, “We can’t fight every battle,” and the show’s appeal lies in its simultaneous engagement with multiple fronts. However, to elevate itself to the top tier of dramas, it must be more strategic in choosing which battles to fight.

The problem isn’t the issues “The Morning Show” tackles, but rather how it navigates and portrays them. To compete with the best, it needs to be more astute in its storytelling choices.

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