When Apple TV launched a couple of years ago, it served up The Morning Show as gleaming bait to potential subscribers.
It seemed to have the lot: an all-star cast in Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon and Steve Carell, a glamorous setting inside the cut-throat world of morning TV and a zeitgeisty theme in the post-#MeToo storyline.
I’d originally given it a swerve not because of what the critics said but because I find dramatisations of newsrooms corny.
They always make the journalists seem more calculated than they really are. Newsrooms are chaotic places where there is no time for many grand statements to be made beyond: “Just get the fucking thing out on time.”
I’ve worked in many fast-moving newsrooms and have never seen those long, nuanced, ethical debates that are portrayed on shows like Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom.
Few hacks have the grandiose political agendas that TV shows (or media conspiracists) would have you believe. They are just people who gather stories, get them out on time and fuck off down the pub until it’s time to start the next shift.
I know of one TV star who sent herself a gun in the post to create publicity
But The Morning Show offers something more rooted in reality. I’ve come to it two years late (because I needed something to watch with my daughter and she loves the three main cast as much as I do). Its portrayal of TV news mechanics is fine.
Its commentary on the demise of traditional broadcast journalism is depressingly accurate. But it’s the depiction of fame and celebrity that is really on the money.
I’ve been in and around the entertainment industry for 20 years. I’ve worked with TV faces of all flavours, from the serious and credible to the fluffy and absurd. I’ve scrutinised them as the editor of a showbiz magazine and I have dealt with them first-hand as a colleague.
I have come to regard the lives of these stars as something to pity as much as admire. The fragility of their status, the constant neurosis they carry around with them, the volatility with which they often express these muddled emotions. It is a tough life being famous.
People think the money offsets the trauma but that’s trite and superficial. Most of them are all too aware that their financial security hangs by a thread and that their destiny is dictated by the whims of others.
I think it’s really hard to stay sane if you’re famous. I know of one TV star who sent herself a gun in the post to create publicity. She was so afraid of losing her sense of relevance that she was prepared to contrive her own death threat. That sort of shit is more common than you ever hear about.
The Morning Show encapsulates that frantic and unstable world with a beautiful, empathetic and often hilarious accuracy. This is an underrated gem of a show: perfectly written and superbly performed.
Season two of The Morning Show is on Apple TV+ now
This article is taken from the latest edition of The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach local your vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.
Urgent action is needed to prevent even more people being pushed into homelessness. A secure home is the first step in addressing the cruel cycle of poverty to ensure people can fulfil their potential. Join us to keep people in their homes.