Jennifer Aniston returned to the television scene in 2019 with a drama about what goes behind the scenes at a popular daytime news program. The superstar committed to a TV show for the first time since the end of her iconic sitcom in 2004.
This also reunited the sisters, Rachel Green (Aniston) and Jill Green (Reese Witherspoon). The latter appeared on the sitcom for just two episodes but struck a life-long friendship with Aniston. The two not only star as leads in , but they are also producers for the same.
Having said that, more than their friendship, it was a scandal involving Matt Lauer, who’s certainly not Tom Cruise’s favorite news personality, that inspired Aniston and Witherspoon’s show.
In , plays Alex Levy, an anchor of a morning talk show who finds herself in a pickle after her co-presenter, Mitch Kessler, portrayed by the very brilliant Steve Carell, faces accusations of s-xual misconduct.
However, the show, which is now in its third season, might’ve played out a lot differently had the makers not witnessed a scandal involving Matt Lauer.
It was originally planned to take the form of a TV drama about breakfast TV, but during the early days of its development, s-xual allegations came to light against the famous presenter of NBC’s breakfast program, . This put Aniston and Witherspoon in a difficult situation, but instead of dumping their planned show, the producers rejigged their story.
Witherspoon explained to :
The idea is brought up in the very first episode and after Carell’s character is fired, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) is brought on to take his place. star isn’t explicitly playing Lauer, but he does well to represent an individual with a charming on-screen presence that overshadows a very different reality.
Lauer was one of the biggest television stars, who frequently made headlines with his high-profile interviews. In particular, his infamous showdown with in 2005 still gets talked about.
During the interview for , Lauer touched on fiery subjects like Scientology and Cruise’s criticism of Brooke Shields’ medication (antidepressants), as the superstar insisted on his disagreement with psychiatry. He said:
“I’ve never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry, and when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn’t believe in psychology.”
The back and forth eventually led to the latter saying,
The star later apologized in person to Shields, and even invited her to his wedding to Katie Holmes, who was interestingly present on the set during his interview with Lauer.