"We're just now sort of figuring out what that looks like, because it's not such an easy thing," Jennifer Aniston tells PEOPLE

By Eric Todisco
October 29, 2019 12:28 PM
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While The Morning Shows first season does not debut until Friday, viewers have already begun to wonder if the series’ second season will tackle the rape allegation against Matt Lauer featured Ronan Farrow‘s new book.

PEOPLE caught up with stars and executive producers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon at Monday night’s premiere for the Apple TV+ series in New York City. On the red carpet, they said they are not sure if the bombshell allegation — which came to light after The Morning Show season 1 had been filmed — will play a role in future episodes.

“We don’t know yet,” said Aniston, 50. “We’re just now sort of figuring out what that looks like, because it’s not such an easy thing. Everybody has kind of had to step back, take a break, refocus, and now we will start those conversations.”

The show, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+, will highlight Witherspoon and Aniston as TV journalists in a cutthroat environment while also depicting how Steve Carell‘s character, Mitch Kessler, is affected by the sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Matt Lauer
Credit: Hilary B Gayle/Apple TV; Ray Tamarra/GC Images

Viewers have drawn comparisons between Carell’s character and Lauer, 61, who was fired from his anchor role at NBC News in November 2017 after he was accused of sexual misconduct. (In Farrow’s new book, Lauer was accused of raping a former colleague, which he has denied.)

Despite the eerie similarities, Aniston recently insisted on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show that the series wasn’t written with Lauer in mind.

“It’s hard for me to believe when I watch the first two episodes that this is not based on what happened to Matt Lauer on the Today show,” Stern said to Aniston, who replied, “No.”

“And by the way, it’s fascinating because it’s about a guy who’s one of the biggest morning star guys and he f—s up and he gets thrown out,” Stern said.

But according to Aniston, the storyline doesn’t just mirror Lauer. “It’s a lot of people,” she said. “He is the archetype for those, unfortunately many men who were — it was more than just Matt.”

On Oct. 9, Variety published details from Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, in which Lauer’s former NBC News colleague Brooke Nevils alleges that he anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In a statement read on-air on the Today show after Nevils’ rape accusation was first publicly reported, NBC News said, “Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

His former colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, said on-air that they were “disturbed to our core” by Nevils’ claims.

Matt Lauer, brooke nevils
Credit: Annie Watt Agency; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Lauer penned a lengthy letter to Variety and denied Nevils’ claim.

“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” he said. “I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014,” he said. “It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual.”