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The Morning Show fired on all cylinders of crazy in Season 3 / Combined Disney+-Hulu app is coming / Lawmen: Bass Reeves is coming to CBS
PLUS: Former Grammys boss sued by a musician alleging he drugged and raped her.
The Morning Show fired on all cylinders of crazy in Season 3
"If you’re like me, you might have fallen behind in watching the high-budget drama about the dramas behind the scenes at a morning news program," says David Mack. "Admittedly, I had become somewhat bored by its slow pace and overt self-importance. But in this latest season—the finale of which dropped on Wednesday—I can assure you the show’s creative team has been, to borrow a rocket term, firing on all cylinders of crazy. The result? It’s the most gripping and entertaining version of The Morning Show yet." Mack adds: "Now in Season 3, with much of the sexual misconduct and COVID arcs finally behind them, the show’s writers have apparently thrown everything they had at the wall. I can only surmise that no idea has been rejected. We’ve jumped two years into the future, and (Reese) Witherspoon has evidently become tired of wearing a brunette wig to set each day, because she’s now sporting her usual blond hair. She doesn’t even host the titular morning show anymore! But that’s no matter, because the Apple series has evolved into a bigger show about the power struggles and existential crises among the (fake) United Broadcast Association network and the (real) media industry itself. Yes, The Morning Show has finally become the Succession-style show I’d dreamed of, albeit one that is also now apparently set partially in space."
The Morning Show Season 3 finale is a rare miss: "At the end of its first two seasons, The Morning Show went out with a bang," says Fletcher Peters. "Why, then, is the Season 3 finale so boring? The Season 1 and Season 2 finales—which, respectively, saw Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) and Alex (Jennifer Aniston) taking UBA prez Fred (Tom Irwin) down, then the dawn of the pandemic in New York City—left me slack-jawed, thanks to bonkers cliffhangers leading into the next season. After a lot of shake-ups in Season 3, one would think the same logic would apply here. Sadly, The Morning Show finales have gone The Godfather route—the third installment is by far the worst."
”The Overview Effect" isn't a series finale, but it certainly feels like one: "Since its debut in 2019, The Morning Show has been drawn to cliffhangers like a moth to a flame, but the Season 3 finale takes a different approach, instead opting for something that looks a whole lot like closure," says Claire Spellberg-Lustig. "'The Overview Effect' isn't a series finale — Apple TV+ renewed The Morning Show for Season 4 in late April, shortly after filming wrapped — but with its kumbaya energy and tidy resolutions, it certainly feels like one, particularly where Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) are concerned."
The Morning Show Season 3 was more akin to a crash course in U-Haul relationships than it was about the ins and outs of a newsroom: “For that, we are eternally thankful,” says Elizabeth Pagano. “In many ways, the relationships in this season decided the many shapes in which the newsroom (both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera) would transform. At the same time, those relationships also decided the fate of UBA. When done-deals become undone and then done again and then unravel once more in the blink of an eye, it can be tough to keep your head on straight and determine what exactly is causing all the chaos. But in Season 3 of The Morning Show, the answer was actually right in front of us the entire time. Perhaps it just took us all a bit longer to fully believe that the bad-guy-turned-good-guy could actually be a whole lot worse than bad. In a way, it almost seemed too easy for Paul Marks (Jon Hamm) to be the snake in the grass, which is why many of us turned to Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) to place the Season 3 blame. More often than not, though, a bad vibe is a bad vibe, and Paul really ended up taking the cake on that one.”
Given the breakneck speed with which The Morning Show plows through topical stories, executive producer Mimi Leder doesn’t feel any complacency heading into Season 4: “If I was bored, I’d be gone,” she says, “but I’m not because I love the stories we’re telling. I love the possibility of the new stories we’re going to be examining.”
First-year showrunner Charlotte Stoudt considers The Morning Show a "love story" between Jennifer Aniston's Alex and Reese Witherspoon's Bradley: "That really is the core of the show," she says. "And I think it is a show that’s built to showcase these extraordinary actors and how many we have in the show; there are just so many great performances. But it’s a show that comes down to the human face. To me, it’s about the human face and all the conflict that plays out inside and outside; and how you are both a private person and a professional person. This crazy relationship that began when Alex was trying to save herself turned into this spiky friendship where they really are the people who hold each other to account."
"I wanted to see a different side of Alex this year," says Stoudt: "She had gone through essentially a near death experience at the end of Season 2," she says. "After she got better from COVID, we imply in Episode 305 that she and Chip got back to their roots and went out on the street and were interviewing people and she kind of got back to that run and gun — her old self. I wanted to just turn that prism of Alex (to) see different sides of her. I think she had a sense of, ‘I actually know how to make this place better. And I know that I know, and I should actually have some agency and authority in this.’ As you say, she has no partner. She has no allies. Cory is still like ‘No, you’re just talent.’ Bradley is very worried about an entirely different storyline that Alex knows nothing about. I do think Paul is someone who is her match, but also sees her. I think she’s very rarely seen in her full light as [a] brilliant woman, and also he’s just not afraid of her desire for power. I think it’s kind of exciting for him. So I wanted to see her become more vulnerable and open up like that, but also I think… in his way, Paul teaches her or helps her realize she actually has the resources to defeat him. He teaches her in a certain way how to destroy him. I think it’s not that she couldn’t have figured it out on her own, but his strength and ruthlessness was something she that mirrored to her and she went, ‘Oh, I know how to thread this needle,’ at the very end."
How did Stoudt balance Alex and Bradley’s separation this season with moments where they come together?: "As soon as we had Jon Hamm I was like, ‘Okay, well, (Alex) is just going to fall in love with him," she says. "You see them on screen together, they just seem meant for each other. There’s the same level of talent and charisma. But I think in the end, she always has to choose Bradley. That’s kind of what the show is. I think even when the two women really disagree and get very crunchy with each other, there’s really a deep bond there. So I think it’s funny you say that because I will just say Season 4 they might spend more time together. Who knows?"
Can The Morning Show ever evolve away from Alex and Bradley?: "Yeah, I mean, I think the absolute core of the show is Alex and Bradley and that love story, and how they keep trying to keep each other honest and call each other out. And I think that's always going to be there," says Stoudt. "But I think the great thing about the show is, there is room to expand these other stories. And I think we crave them. I mean, one, these actors are just so tremendous, and all these stories, comment on the other ones, you know, what I mean? Just the sense of, how do different women seek power? What are the kinds of bargains that different women make? And I think we need to answer that question. We need to see a lot of different women. It's as simple as that. Is it possible to sort of live according to my beliefs but still play on the sort of biggest chess board? I think that's a question most professional women ask themselves. And all those questions are answered so differently."
Disney launching a combined Disney+-Hulu app in beta in December
“In December, we will launch in beta form a combined Disney plus and Hulu app,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on CNBC. “We feel great about how the combination gives us an ability to essentially lower customer acquisition costs, reduce marketing, hopefully reduce churn and, most importantly, create more engagement.” ALSO: Disney+ tops 150 million subscribers.
Former Grammys boss sued by a musician alleging he drugged and raped her
Neil Portnow, the CEO of The Recording Academy and MusiCares from 2002 to 2019, was accused of drugging and raping a woman in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. "The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accuses Neil Portnow, who stepped down as chief executive of the Recording Academy in 2019, of sexual battery, and accuses the academy — the nonprofit group behind the Grammys — of negligence," reports The New York Times' Ben Sisario. "The suit does not name the woman, but it describes her as an instrumentalist from outside the United States who once performed at Carnegie Hall. The court papers include redacted correspondence she had with the academy in 2018 regarding her complaint. The case harks back to a tumultuous period in the Grammys’ recent history, when Mr. Portnow left the institution after saying that women in music should “step up” to get greater recognition in the industry. His successor, Deborah Dugan, was abruptly terminated in what she called retaliation for accusing the organization of a range of abuses, including a cover-up related to the allegation made in the new suit. Those incidents shook the Recording Academy and the wider music industry, but the woman who accused Mr. Portnow had been publicly silent until now." Portnow's representative said that after the woman’s initial accusation, he “immediately enlisted the Academy’s HR Department to review the nonsensical text messages and emails that he made immediately available. An outside independent investigation, led by top-tier lawyers, reviewed all relevant texts, emails, interviewed witnesses and found absolutely no proof to support any of the allegations.”
CBS to air the first two episodes of Paramount+’s Lawmen: Bass Reeves
The Taylor Sheridan-produced period anthology series starring David Oyelowo in the title role will get a screening on CBS next Sunday at 9 p.m. after premiering last Sunday.
Noah Hawley: FX's Alien likely won't premiere until early 2025
If the actors' strike ends in time, "the plan right now is to go back in January and be shooting in February, and looks like shoot until July or so, which puts the air date somewhere in the in the first half of ’25,” Hawley tells The Wrap.
Fox News looked "shell shocked" after the Democrats' positive election night
"A year after promising viewers a “red tsunami” in the 2022 midterms, only to be left with egg on their faces after the GOP drastically underperformed, Fox News was once again wondering what went wrong after Democrats romped to victory in statewide elections on Tuesday night," says The Daily Beast's Justin Baragona, adding: "While the network had spent the past two days hyping up Biden’s bad poll numbers to lay the ground for Republican victories on election night, a morose Hannity opened his 9 p.m. show by informing viewers that Fox News had already projected that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had defeated GOP candidate Daniel Cameron. A short time later, he was also tasked with announcing that the Ohio abortion rights measure had passed."
Al Michaels insists he’s not ready for retirement
The sports broadcasting icon is currently in the second year of a three-year deal to call Thursday Night Football games on Amazon Prime Video. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m doing next year,” Michaels tells the New York Post, dismissing any talk of retirement. “There’s no question about that in my mind.” Michaels has been criticized for his apparent lack of excitement calling games. To which he says: “I don’t think I’m a lot different than I have been through the years. And if people you know want to say that, ‘Al doesn’t sound as excited.’ Hold on a second, folks. I’m doing the same game I’ve always done.”
S.W.A.T. is headed to cable syndication on WeTV
The first six seasons of the CBS drama — which was canceled then renewed for a seventh and final season earlier this year — will start airing on WeTV starting on Sunday.
Gary Gulman sets Max's Born on Third Base as his fifth standup comedy special
Four years after his acclaimed The Great Depresh, Gulman will return in December with a Conan O'Brien-produced standup special.
Brian Cox joined Amazon's 007: Road to a Million reality show thinking it was the next James Bond film
“I thought it was the new James Bond film,” the Succession star told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “So I said, ‘They’re finally getting me in a James Bond film!'”
BET+'s The Black Hamptons adds 10 new cast members as it reveals its Season 2 trailer
Richard Lawson and RonReaco Lee are among the new additions for the second season, premiering Dec. 7.
Aubrey Plaza spent a month living with her Agatha: Darkhold Diaries co-star Patti LuPone
Plaza told Vulture that LuPone helped her adjust to her role in the Off-Broadway revival of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by making her soup and doing her laundry. “She insisted. She’s trying to whip me into shape," Plaza said. In response, LuPone told People: “I miss her. I completely miss her.”
Dustin Lance Black acquitted in UK court of assaulting a BBC presenter
The Oscar-winning Under the Banner of Heaven creator's case was dismissed after BBC presenter Teddy Edwardes accused him of grabbing Edwardes’ wrist and twisting it, causing a drink to be spilled on her.
Kelly Clarkson launching her own channel on SiriusXM
The American Idol winner and daytime talk show host is launching Kelly Clarkson Connection, a year-round channel "taking listeners on a journey through both her music and music from her favorite artists."
ManningCast viewership keeps sinking
Peyton and Eli Manning's alternative Monday Night Football broadcast had 13% of the total MNF audience in Season 1 in 2021. This year, viewership has plummeted to less than 10% — including 7% for this week — thanks in part to ESPN simulcasting MNF on ABC. Viewership is also flirting with going under one million viewers.
In defense of Jeopardy! bad boy Aaron Craig
"Let the man live a little," says Kyle Koster of the Jeopardy! contestant who's been breaking all the rules in the Champions Wildcard tournament. I'd take a little emotion and joy over some dead-eyed winner with no social skills awkwardly trying to figure out how humans smile after winning 100 times out of 100. Just like the unwritten rules in baseball, Jeopardy! needs to do whatever it can to make things slightly more exciting or they'll lose the younger generations completely to moronic social media influencers."
Check out photos from True Detective: Night Country — a "dark mirror" of Season 1
Showrunner Issa López says her idea for Season 4 of True Detective, starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis, was to do a reverse of the critically acclaimed first season: “Where True Detective is male and it’s sweaty, Night Country is cold and it’s dark and it’s female," says Lopez.
Charlie Sheen tries to make a deal with Sebastian Maniscalco in Max's Bookie trailer
Sheen reteams with Two and Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre in the comedy series starring Maniscalco as a Los Angeles bookie who is struggling to stay afoot as California prepares to legalize sports gambling. Bookie premieres Nov. 30.
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America unveils Season 2 Netflix premiere date and trailer
Stephen Satterfield, Gabrielle E.W. Carter and Jessica B. Harris African-American food history docuseries returns Nov. 22.
Sarah Rafferty, Nikki Rodriguez and Marc Blucas star in Netflix's My Life with the Walter Boys trailer
The coming-of-age romance series based on the popular WattPad novel by Ali Novak premieres Dec. 7.