The Morning Show will debut this fall on Apple TV+ and stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell

By Eric Todisco
August 20, 2019 05:04 PM

Apple TV+’s upcoming drama, The Morning Show, may be based on a book published six years ago, but the plot seems to mirror the 2017 scandal that rocked Matt Lauer and the entire Today show.

The Morning Show explores the fallout of newscaster Mitch Kessler’s (Steve Carell) termination for what seem to be sexual misconduct allegations as his broadcast partner of 15 years, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), fights to be the top newsreader — despite competition from newcomer Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon).

Debuting on Apple’s new streaming service, the comedy-drama cites journalist Brian Selter’s nonfiction book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV., as source material.

Published in 2013, the book covered daytime TV drama like Ann Curry’s time on the Today show and the ratings rivalry between Today and Good Morning America.

Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy
Apple TV+

After the show’s trailer dropped Monday, Carell’s plot line drew comparisons to the sexual misconduct allegations that led to Lauer’s termination from Today.

“Am I the only one who watched this and went, “oh, so this is the NBC/Matt Lauer story”? #TheMorningShow #Today,” one Twitter user wrote.

RELATED: Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon Star in First Trailer for The Morning Show

“Well, we know Matt Lauer won’t be watching #TheMorningShow,” joked another. 

Said another user about the trailer, “.. is this following a similar story to what happened with Matt Lauer??? Here for ittttt.”

In November 2017, NBC News announced that Lauer had been fired for alleged sexual misconduct.

Several months later, the network released a report about Lauer’s firing. The internal investigation team stated that Lauer “admitted to engaging in sexual activity” with the anonymous woman whose allegations prompted his firing.

Lauer has also admitted to — and apologized for — seeing NBC staffers romantically during his tenure at the network, although he denied other allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Matt Lauer 
Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

RELATED: Matt Lauer Turns 61: Inside His Quiet Life 1 Year After Today Show Firing

“Five months ago I was terminated by NBC after admitting to past relationships with co-workers. A day later I took responsibility, apologized to the people I had hurt and promised to begin the process of repairing the damage I had caused my family. I have worked every day since then to honor that promise,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE in April 2018.

“I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months — including a claim that I would, or even could, lock someone in my office. I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost,” Lauer continued.

“But defending my family now requires me to speak up. I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC. However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false,” he concluded.

Last month, his wife Annette Roque, 52, officially filed for divorce after 20 years of marriage. The couple share sons Jack, 17, and Thijs, 12, and daughter Romy, 15.

Annette Roque and Matt Lauer
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Lauer has kept out of the spotlight, mostly staying at his home in the Hamptons  and focusing on his kids. The whole family had lived on the property together since the scandal broke. But in June, he put Strongheart Manor — his 12-bedroom, 12-bath compound featuring a 14,000-square-foot main house with two guesthouses and a basketball court on six acres — on the market for $44 million.

The Morning Show (which also stars Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) will debut on Apple TV+ this fall.

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