The actor opens up to ET about filming that awkward scene and going toe-to-toe with his co-star.
The Morning Show loves a musical moment, and season 2 is no exception. In episode four, “Kill the Fatted Calf,” weekend co-host Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry) serenades returning co-anchor Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) in a cringeworthy moment of desperation. But the scene was far from as awful to film, Terry reveals while speaking to ET about going toe-to-toe with Aniston.
“Well, I love to sing 'cause I'm a karaoke enthusiast,” he says. “I even love bad karaoke, like whenever somebody gets up in a karaoke bar and they start singing and it’s just terrible... I’m like, ‘I wanna watch this! I want to see this! And so, I just channeled some of those experiences.”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode four, which is now streaming.]
Constantly overlooked by his co-workers, including Alex, who convinced him to not leave for Your Day America by offering to make him co-anchor before backing out, TMS producers and UBA executives, Daniel finally reaches his breaking point when he doesn’t land one of the coveted debate moderator slots and fails to convince his producers to let him take on more stories of substance.
And this all comes after he failed to make an impression with his coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in China and as Alex makes her highly celebrated and publicized return to the show, which even includes a special performance by the Foo Fighters.
So, when another special guest, Bernadette Peters, falls through, Daniel takes it upon himself to fill in and deliver his own, out-of-tune rendition of Neil Diamond’s “America” live on air, much to the surprise of Alex and the rest of the TMS staff, who all watch in frozen horror.
The scene ends with executive producer Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman) berating him for his on-air stunt and Daniel taking solace alone in a dark room.
“The song choice is everything,” Terry says. “That’s one thing I will say about Daniel. Like, the song choice is everything, bro... It was a very interesting song choice. We were surprised, like, ‘Oh, Daniel, you like that song? OK.’”
He explains that everyone on set was also experiencing it in real time. “So, it was really funny to watch the crew members and the background actors all just looking at me, like, ‘Huh?’” the actor says.
And when it comes to his character, “I thought it was just a really cool and juicy moment to explore,” Terry says. Especially considering that it follows a huge blowup earlier in the season when Daniel lays into Alex for screwing him over for the anchor position.
“I shot that scene and it was sort of like, ‘I just stuck it to her and I walked away.’ I said to myself, ‘Dang, I was just really nasty to Jennifer,’” Terry says.
“Jen is such a sweetheart. Every time I see her, it is more of a melting because she is just so sweet and kind,” he continues, explaining that “it is kind of hard to be like, ‘First of all, you are adorable. Second of all, you are my boss. And also, this is kind of fun because you are paying me to be really mean to America’s sweetheart right now.’”
When it came to shooting that scene in particular, the actor recalls that it was the first time many of the cast members reunited onset. “There was a lot of awkwardness in the room at the time because that was our first group scene back together,” Terry says of getting used to the COVID-19 safety protocols. “We were learning a completely different dynamic of being together.”
Funnily enough, that’s the same scene where Alex suggests that Daniel should go to China to cover the growing coronavirus outbreak, which was incorporated into the series after the pandemic forced production to shut down weeks into filming season 2. “I admire [showrunner] Kerry Ehrin and the rest of the writers who took on that task and say, ‘Well, everybody’s life has been uprooted by the pandemic. Why shouldn’t our characters?’” Terry says.
New episodes of The Morning Show season 2 debut every Friday. Want to watch more? Both seasons are now streaming on Apple TV+. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)