Jennifer Aniston is Alex Levy, a Katie Couric stand-in who in the series’ opening moments learns that her beloved co-host Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) has been fired overnight for sexual misconduct. As Alex's day gets worse in New York, somewhere in West Virginia a spitfire reporter working for a conservative network goes viral when she tells a man what’s what at a coal mining protest. That spitfire is Bradley Jackson, played by none other than Reese Witherspoon, for whom the word “spitfire” was coined. Bradley is eventually invited to do an interview on the titular "Morning Show," and eventually, though some labored plot mechanisms, finds herself tapped to replace Mitch.
For a series that would seemingly ride or die on the chemistry of its two leads, The Morning Show keeps Aniston and Witherspoon separated for most of the early episodes. It is, for now, fun to see Aniston in this mode. Her public appeal has always been her likability, but even in her most famous role, Friends' Rachel Green, she exudes a spikiness that she rarely gets to fully explore. As Alex she's trading on both sides of this persona, while also offering some meta commentary on life as a woman in the public eye. Here's hoping the scripts allow her to slow down a little; Alex is in crisis, and that crisis is rarely exhibited in quiet moments.
It's Witherspoon who seems more oddly matched to Bradley, who's a broad collection of tics that feel plucked from her repertoire but don't quite gel together. It's hard to lose sight of the fact that we're watching Reese Witherspoon up there, partially because she seems so ill at ease in the role of neophyte.