The Morning Show returned to Apple TV+ on Friday for its second season. According to NPR, season two of Apple TV+’s big ticket drama series had to be broken down and re-written when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. full force, after the showrunners had already gotten a good way through writing and production.
When COVID struck, The Morning Show not only had to shut down production, but also had to rework the sequel season’s narrative to either work around the pandemic, or feature it. To keep the show topical, the writers decided to re-work the script, making the pandemic part of the storyline — which wasn’t easy.
“If you simply have to rewrite the first two episodes and re-break a giant portion of your season midstream that’s, from a production perspective, an earthquake,” says executive producer Michael Ellenberg. “And then the other thing we were managing is, can we actually make this thing safely?”
Executives from Apple TV also got in touch with the showrunners to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic be featured on the second season, and not an issue the narrative skirts around.
Following safety protocols like daily testing and contact tracing to a T, the cast and crew of The Morning Show worked tirelessly to film the second season, adding a global pandemic to the list of heavy themes (like workplace discrimination, sexism, racism, and more) the show explores.
This isn’t the first time the writers and producers have had to re-imagine a major portion of the show’s plotline — during season one, the crew made significant changes to episode scripts after the Harvey Weinstein scandal came to light and resulted in an uptick of the MeToo movement’s activity.
While the alterations made in season one were far from a “wholesale rewrite” according to Ellenberg, a number of changes were made to better highlight sexual misconduct through the show’s storyline.
The Morning Show stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, who play two morning TV anchors vying for a place in the cutthroat, social injustice-ridden world of morning news media. During the last awards season, Aniston and co-star Billy Crudup both nabbed Emmys for their roles on the show.