'The Morning Show' Season 3: Your Guide to Plot, New Cast Members and More as Filming Wraps
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The Morning Show is the Emmy-winning drama series about the cutthroat world of television news starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon as two anchors in the middle of the drama that's unfolding on and off-screen at the fictional network UBA. After a twist-filled second season that saw the series adjusting to and incorporating the ongoing health scare and social uprisings that unfolded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Apple TV+ renewed it for season 3.
As anticipation builds for its return to the streaming platform, with fans dying to know what comes next for Alex (Aniston) and Bradley (Witherspoon), the series has been busy filming on location in New York City and padding it's already star-studded ensemble with even bigger names, like Jon Hamm. Until The Morning Show debuts new episodes, here's everything to know about the upcoming season, from who's joining, where things are headed and when it will premiere.
How Things Ended in Season 2
Season 2's wild ride ended with many of UBA’s employees left at unexpected crossroads in their professional and personal lives. For Alex, that meant facing the reality of what happened between her and Mitch (Steve Carell), all of which was revealed as Maggie Brener (Marcia Gay Harden) promoted the release of her tell-all book, The Wrong Side of the Bed. While coming to terms with his unexpected death, Alex also tested positive for COVID-19.
During Alex's attempt to recover from the virus, Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) had Chip Black (Mark Duplass) produce a digital series for UBA+, the network's new streaming service. While documenting her health battle, Alex and Chip reconciled before it was later revealed that Chip lied about testing positive in order to work alongside her.
Worried about the seriousness of the pandemic given her heart condition, Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) fled New York City for Montana and invited Bradley to come live with her. While Bradley’s exploration of her sexuality led her on a path to discovering her authentic self, it’s also created a love triangle between her, Laura and Cory, who put his career on the line with the poorly timed launch of UBA+.
Elsewhere, Stella Bak (Greta Lee), Cory’s replacement as president of the news division, was left trying to salvage what she can when much of the TMS team was exposed to COVID by Alex. As a result, she turned to Yanko Flores (Néstor Carbonell) to man the show's desk after co-host Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry) unexpectedly quit and Bradley went off to search for her missing brother.
New and Returning Cast Members
Sadly, there are two people definitely not returning in season 3. One of them is Carell, whose character died in shocking fashion during season 2, when Mitch drove his car off a cliff in Italy. "I thought it was quite shocking and... it’s a gut punch to the heart and soul for Alex," Aniston said at the time, sharing that the whole situation is "tragically poetic."
Carell later added, "That was a lot of fun to work on. That was a great group of people and I enjoyed that."
The other is Harden, who told ET that she was busy filming her new CBS series, So Help Me Todd, and was unlikely to be available for season 3. "If we could work it in so that Maggie could come back for a day or two, I would love that," the actress offered. "She's got to drum up another interesting story. And I think because of how it was left off, she has to drum it up with a different kind of humanity."
Much of the expanded ensemble, however, is expected to return. "Obviously, Jen and I are back," Witherspoon told ET. "We still have the amazing Karen Pittman and Billy Crudup, and so many of the cast members that people love." Not only that, but Margulies is coming back. Initially, it wasn't clear if she would reprise her role as Laura, especially after her character planned to move to Montana. However, Apple TV+ confirmed that she will be part of season 3 -- with Laura presumably returning to UBA in NYC.
And like last season, there are several major stars being added to the cast. "There's lots of new characters," Witherspoon teased. Among them is Hamm, who joins as a corporate titan named Paul Marks, who "sets his sights on UBA, pulling Cory, Alex and Bradley into his powerful orbit." Witherspoon added, "He's playing this amazing character that I can't wait for people to see, because it's sort of pulled from real life a little bit."
While Mindy Kaling, who has made appearances as rival news anchor Audra, wouldn't confirm if she's returning for season 3, she did tell ET that Hamm "will be amazing on it."
Other new cast members include Tig Notaro as Amanda Robinson, the chief of staff to Marks; Natalie Morales as Stella's best friend from Stanford where they were part of a start-up incubator run by Marks; and Nicole Beharie as Christina Hunter, a charismatic and competitive millennial who joins the morning team as a new anchor, who knows how to work hard, play hard and spill the tea with some irreverence.
In a later interview, Witherspoon added that all the new additions "have just upped the game."
As for future guest stars, there are two that come to mind: George Clooney and Adam Sandler. When ET asked Margulies if her former ER co-star should join the cast in season 3, she responded by suggesting that "maybe he’ll come visit." And he's not the only A-list star who could swing by. Sandler, who has shared the screen with Aniston a number of times, said it "would be great" to appear on the series. His only caveat? "Their monologues are so long," he joked, before adding, "When we do press for [Murder Mystery 2] I'll bother her about being on her show."
Season 3 Plot and Timeline
Currently wrapping up production -- with much of cast seen filming around NYC -- season 3 will be led by executive producer and showrunner Charlotte Stoudt, who has taken over for creator Kerry Ehrin. Mimi Leder is expected to return as director and executive producer.
While no specific details about the plot have been released, the series is expected to make another time jump -- likely, moving beyond the shutdown and picking up at least one or two years later when things start to open up again. Witherspoon hinted to ET that the new episodes will take place "after the pandemic" but stopped short of confirming exactly when. "I can't tell you anything," she quipped. "But it's really juicy and good."
Later, Witherspoon revealed that "there is lots of romance this year."
Meanwhile, when it comes to Cory, Crudup says audiences can expect "more scheming, more operating, more weird intellectual charm and all the smarm that you can imagine."
"They took on everything they took. I mean, you imagine the past two years in this world," Crudup teased to ET about what from the real world might be incorporated into the new episodes. "The number of things that have gone on in the news and they hit on all of them. So, I hope the audience is ready for a ride."
Given the major developments that have happened, it's possible that the launch (and subsequent) demise of CNN+ will be reflected in the trajectory of UBA+ and Cory's future at the network. Meanwhile, there was also the 2020 presidential election and the events of Jan. 6, major shakeups at several news organizations and social media platforms, the release of Katie Couric's memoir, as well as the rise and fall of unicorn startups in Silicon Valley.
While it's unlikely that the romance revelation surrounding GMA3 anchors T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach that will make it into the new episodes, the series did go back and rewrite season 2 following the onset of the pandemic. So, anything is possible!
Season 3 is expected to return to Apple TV+ in 2023, but no release date has been announced yet. But Witherspoon did take to Instagram in February to reveal that she was on set for the "last days of shooting," before adding that "season 3 is on the way!"
When it comes to wrapping season 3, Crudup added, "It was such a whirlwind. It was incredible."
Seasons 1 and 2 of The Morning Show are now streaming on Apple TV+.
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