Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup Join Apple Morning-Show Drama
Apple continues to add to its star-studded morning-show drama.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror) and Billy Crudup (Gypsy, Almost Famous) have joined the cast of the untitled series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, the project will offer an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by Michael Ellenberg.
Mbatha-Raw will take on the series-regular role as Hannah Shoenfeld, the whip-smart and charming head booker of talent. Tony-winner Crudup will play Cory Ellison, the forward-thinking president of the news division at the network. Carell, for whom the role marks his TV return following The Office, will play Mitch Kessler, a morning-show anchor struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape.
Production is set to begin next week in Los Angeles.
Aniston — for whom the Apple series marks her TV return following Friends — and her Echo Films partner, Kristin Hahn, are exec producing alongside Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine topper, Lauren Levy Neustadter. Ellenberg’s Media Res serves as the studio on the series. Mimi Leder (ER) will exec produce and direct. Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights) exec produces and serves as showrunner on the series. Stelter serves as a consultant. Echo’s Amanda Anka is a co-producer.
Mbatha-Raw, who counts Touch, Undercovers and A Wrinkle in Time among her credits, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Crudup, fresh off Netflix’s one-and-done drama Gypsy, is with CAA and Lighthouse Management + Media.
Still to be determined is how — and when — Apple will release its scripted original programming.
October 23, 2018 • Category: "The Morning Show", News & Gossip •
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Steve Carell Joins Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston in Apple Morning Show Drama
Steve Carell is set to join Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston the cast of Apple’s upcoming morning-show drama. The role will be Carell’s first as a series regular since he left “The Office,” the NBC single-camera comedy that elevated him to stardom.
In the still;-untitled Apple series, Carell will play play Mitch Kessler, a morning show anchor who is struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape.
Announced last year, the project was the first drama series to be ordered by Apple as the tech giant began to execute on its designs to into the television-series space. The drama hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio. It is exec produced by Ellenberg; Aniston and Kristin Hahn through Echo Films; and Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter through Hello Sunshine. The starry project was highly sought after by a number of outlets and landed a two-season order (10 episodes per season) from Apple. Media Res, Aniston and Witherspoon are the principle owners of the show.
The series is based on an idea from Ellenberg and will draw background material from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the recent rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” In April, Jay Carson departed the project as showrunner, replaced by Kerry Ehrin.
Apple’s Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon Series Adds Director Mimi Leder
Mimi Leder has signed on to direct and executive produce Apple’s untitled drama series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon through studio Media Res. Leder joins executive producer and showrunner Kerry Ehrin. The series provides an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the women and men who carry out this daily televised ritual.
Aniston also serves as exec producer through her Echo Films banner with Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter through Hello Sunshine; and Michael Ellenberg through Media Res. CNN anchor Brian Stelter consults on the project, with his book “Top of the Morning” providing additional background material.
A television veteran whose credits include “The Leftovers,” “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Shameless,” “L.A. Law,” and “China Beach,” Leder is currently in post-production on the theatrical features “On the Basis of Sex,” which will be released in December from Participant Media and Focus Features. Her other film credits include “The Peacemaker,” and “Deep Impact.” Leder is represented by by CAA, Fourward, and attorney Barry Littman.
Congratulations to Reese for her inclusion on eminent business magazine Fortune’s World’s Top 50 Greatest Leaders list:
The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders Our annual list of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges.
Though it seems unlikely, Tim Cook and Indira Jaising have something in common besides membership in Fortune’s 2018 ranking of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Cook (No. 14) is the wealthy CEO of Apple, the most valuable publicly traded company on earth; Jaising (No. 20) is an Indian lawyer who cofounded an NGO called Lawyers Collective, which promotes human rights issues. Yet they share this trait: Both have multiplied their organizations’ effectiveness by harnessing the power of unbundling. Following their example is a new imperative for the best leaders.
April 4, 2018 • Category: "The Morning Show" •
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Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston Apple Drama Replaces Showrunners
Apple has yet to launch a scripted series, but it has already replaced two showrunners.
Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel) is poised to sign Apple’s first overall deal and take over for Jay Carson (House of Cards) on the tech giant’s Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon morning show drama.
Apple and production studio Media Res have parted ways with Carson following “creative differences” on the drama that offers an inside look at the lives of two morning show hosts. Carson was poised to pen the script and serve as showrunner.
Following the end of her deal with Universal Television, Ehrin will move to Apple with an exclusive overall development and production deal that includes showrunning duties on the untitled morning show project starring Aniston and Witherspoon. (She most recently reunited with Jason Katims and served as a consulting producer on NBC’s midseason musical drama Rise.)
The morning show drama landed at Apple in a competitive situation with multiple outlets bidding. Apple handed out a two-season, 20-episode order for the series — marking its first order under new heads of video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV — which was previously in development at Lifetime as a TV movie — will provide additional background for the show, which is based on an original concept by Media Res’ Michael Ellenberg. Witherspoon and Aniston will also executive produce and co-own the show. Sources note the two stars are earning more than $1.25 million per episode for their starring and exec producing roles on the series and will also receive a cut of the show’s back-end. The project marks Aniston’s return to scripted television more than a decade after Friends.
For Ehrin, the move comes after she served as co-showrunner alongside Carlton Cuse on A&E’s Psycho prequel TV series Bates Motel. Sources say Ehrin landed at Apple in a competitive situation with other studios vying to sign the veteran writer, producer and showrunner, whose credits include Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.
The morning show drama becomes Apple’s second scripted original to change showrunners. Bryan Fuller (and Hart Hanson) exited Apple’s Amazing Stories anthology in February. A replacement has yet to be named.
Ehrin’s deal comes as streaming giant Netflix has been making an aggressive push to sign top producers to overall deals after forging nine-figure pacts with Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) and Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Crime Story). Rhimes and Murphy had both been in the broadcast studio system for more than a decade, at ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox Television, respectively. Netflix’s aggressive payday has only intensified the war for talent among broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.
Ehrin is repped by Rothman Brecher.
Since hiring Van Amburg and Erlicht from Sony Pictures Television Studios, Apple has been on an aggressive buying spree, landing series from M. Night Shyamalan, Outlander’s Ron Moore, La La Land’s Damien Chazelle and a couple more from Witherspoon, among others.
Reese can be seen on the cover of the new April issue of Marie Claire UK – it’s the same interview as the earlier US edition, but it has a couple of new photos from the shoot. I love this photoshoot, and I’m glad they’ve chosen a slightly different shot for this cover. Pick up a copy asap if you can, and find the scans in our Gallery:
Reese made an appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday to promote A Wrinkle In Time. She chatted about her recent visit to her Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Time’s Up, the importance of representing women in film, Big Little Lies season 2, Little Fires Everywhere with Kerry Washington, and her upcoming Untitled Morning TV Show with Jennifer Aniston. Reese also received a special message from Dolly Parton who had been on the show last week; Reese mentioned that she “has a show coming on in about a month” in which she interviews Dolly Parton, so we’ll keep an ear out for more information on that in the coming weeks! Watch the interview below, and find screencaptures in our Gallery:
Our beautiful Reese graces the cover of the March issue of US Marie Claire magazine! In the interview they talked about the familiar themes of ambition, sexual harrassment, female empowerment, and of course A Wrinkle In Time. Accompanying the interview is a brand new and beautiful photoshoot – I particularly love the softness of the cover, it reminds me of 2003/2005 photoshoots. I love seeing Reese on another big magazine cover, and this one will be available to purchase on US news-stands from February 20th. Find snippets from the interview below, and high quality photos in our Gallery.
The award-winning actress, producer, and activist sits down with Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief to discuss her upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time, diversity in the workplace, and the undeniable evolution of what it means to be a woman today.
I first fell in love with Reese Witherspoon when she strutted down the halls of Harvard Law School in 2001’s Legally Blonde as Elle Woods, proving so forcefully that a woman who cares about makeup and clothes can also be brilliant. I’ve followed Reese’s career ever since, from her Oscar-winning portrayal of June Cash in Walk the Line (2005) to her raw performance in Wild (2014), and I recently spent an entire Saturday binge-watching the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Big Little Lies. Reese produced the latter two projects, in addition to 2014’s Gone Girl, under the auspices of her relatively new production company, Hello Sunshine.
Her mom once told her that if you wanted a job done right, you’d have to do it yourself. So, realizing the alarming and persistent dearth of meaty roles for women, Reese set out to create her own opportunities, lifting up other women along the way. With 23 producing projects in the works, it’s kind of a miracle she’s running lifestyle brand Draper James and a killer book club on Instagram. When I heard she’d landed a role in Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, I volunteered to interview her myself.
Anne Fulenwider: You’ve talked about how you’re proud of your ambition. Where do you get that from?
Reese Witherspoon: I get a lot of support from my husband [Jim Toth, an agent at CAA], who cares deeply about equality and always tells me,“Why wouldn’t you call the person in charge of a company and have a personal relationship with them?” He’s encouraged me to be outspoken. Oprah has encouraged me before I ever met her to be the best version of myself, through her book clubs, the people I saw on her show. [She’s been] an incredible advocate for me as a businesswoman.
To celebrate our 16 years online, here we are spotlighting 16 of our favourite Reese things from the past 16 years. You will see a new one upon refreshing or changing the page.
"It took me years to be the woman my mother raised. It took me 4 years, 7 months and 3 days to do it, without her. After I lost myself in the wilderness of my grief, I found my own way out of the woods."
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