‘The Morning Show’: Did Apple TV+ Produce a Show About the Matt Lauer Scandal?

When the trailer for The Morning Show was dropped by Apple TV+, many viewers were thinking the same thing: This looks a lot like the Matt Lauer misconduct case. 

When we delve into the plotline further, we can see that it certainly has similarities to the situation that happened at NBC News with the cohost of the Today show back in November 2017. 

Let’s compare the new series to the situation with Lauer to find out if it really is partially based on the scandal.

What is the plotline for ‘The Morning Show’ and what inspired it?

The Morning Show goes behind the scenes of an American morning news television show that has been at the top of the ratings for years. The series exposes the drama and cut-throat action that occurs between reporters and journalists who are normally seen as bright and sunny.

From the trailer, we can see that Jennifer Aniston stars as cohost to Steve Carell’s character, Mitch Kessler who has just been fired. And, Aniston’s character must break the devastating news to the country. Reese Witherspoon’s character comes on as the new cohost but rather than being a cohesive force, the two are at odds.    

The Morning Show is created by Michael Ellenberg and loosely based on Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. Witherspoon and Aniston are executive producers on the show, along with showrunner Kerry Ehrin and director Mimi Leder.

What really happened with Matt Lauer?

Matt Lauer was fired from NBC’s Today show on November 29, 2017, for alleged sexual misconduct allegations. Up until that point, he had worked for the station for 20 years and was one of the highest-paid news anchors on television.

According to the network, an employee filed a complaint about “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” prompting the termination of his job as co-host on the morning show.

During the months following, several other women came forward citing the same type of behaviors. Lauer publicly apologized but also denied some allegations.

Aniston’s announcement mirrors that of Savannah Guthrie on the ‘Today’ show

Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston from The Morning Show
Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston | NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images

Anniston’s character plays the cohost who announces the termination of Steve Carell’s character. She tells the country of the news with a deeply saddened face that very much feels like the same broadcast Guthrie had to make just two years prior during NBC’s Today show.

According to Anniston at the Apple announcement event back in March, “Through the prism of those under-slept, over-adrenalized people in front of and behind the camera, we take an honest look at the complex relationships between women and men in the workplace, and we engage in the conversation people are a little too afraid to have unless they’re behind closed doors.”

The trailer does not come right out and say that the firing was due to sexual allegations in the workplace, but Anniston certainly alludes to these “complex relationships” when she discusses the plot of the show. It is also interesting that Carell’s character has been on the show for 15 years and Lauer was on for 20. They both were solid, long-lasting news anchors.

While the new series is not exactly based on the Lauer story, we can certainly see that it will be taking real-life headlines, such as the Today show scandaland dramatizing them. The Morning Show will be streaming on Apple TV+ this fall.