Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon Got Advice from This Legendary Newswomen for Their Upcoming Roles in ‘The Morning Show’

The Apple TV+ series The Morning Show is launching in November, with its executive producers and stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon offering a little background on their research for their roles. The two actresses spent an ample amount of time on the sets of morning news programs, getting a bird’s-eye view of what goes on behind the scenes.

Reese Witherspoon (L) and Jennifer Aniston | Lester Cohen/Getty Images For ELLE

Rise and shine

The two famous females recently shared on their research tactics for their portrayals of news anchors, which meant hitting the ground running before the sun came up. “I was at Good Morning America at 5 a.m. to do some shadow work,” Aniston said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “What a crazy world! From 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. it’s like a ghost town, and then slowly all the lights start turning on and all the sounds start getting louder and louder and louder, and then all of a sudden it’s this mad, insane, well-oiled machine and everyone’s somehow calm.”

Witherspoon interviewed the key players behind the camera as well as the on-camera talent in preparation for role as up-and-coming reporter Bradley Jackson, “I spent a lot of time with news producers who have been doing this all their lives, and obviously a lot of journalists,” she said. “Every time I was on shows or could talk to somebody, I would ask them lots of questions, like: Why did you do this? Where did you come from? What was your local market? How did you ascend? What were your curveballs? What are you passionate about? What did you get a degree in? How’d you get here?”

Life as a newswoman

The Morning Show has already been compared to the real-life drama that hit the Today Show in 2017. Aniston plays Alex Levy, a determined morning show anchor whose longtime co-host (played by Steve Carell) is fired for sexual misconduct, echoing what happened with Matt Lauer on Today two years ago.

The actresses revealed that the launch of the #MeToo movement in the fall of 2017 definitely had an impact on the content of their show, where they decided to incorporate that reality into the series. “We basically just started over,” said Witherspoon. “We had to.”

Witherspoon also noted the amount of pressure newswomen are under, with scrutiny being put on traits outside of reporting. “I was astounded by how honest a lot of female anchors were with myself and Jen. I think most people would find it shocking that women in that position, of what we perceive as power, are looked at as expendable,” Witherspoon said. “One thing that I thought was really demoralizing was how much they’re analyzed: Their wardrobe, their faces, their smile, their laugh are all tested, and they are put on notice if they are not appealing to an audience. Because test audiences are determining whether or not they’re likable to an American audience. Women who’ve worked so hard to become incredible journalists and to ascend to a position of what seemed like power are relatively powerless.”

Learning from the best

The actresses also revealed that they had the opportunity to gather material for their roles from none other than legendary newswoman Diane Sawyer. “I’ve known Diane for years, and I had the joy of getting to pick her brain when I was doing research for the show,” Aniston told People. “Diane’s always been so elegant and classy.”

The former Friends star spoke of her conversations with Sawyer, as well as renowned journalist Gayle King. “It was really just about wanting to understand what that life is like and why they continue for this long to wake up at 3:30 a.m.,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “How do you have a personal life? How do you go to the theater? How do you do anything? When do you sleep, and how do you look so good? It was fascinating!”

The Morning Show premieres November 1!