11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup Join Apple Morning-Show Drama
Apple continues to add to its star-studded morning-show drama.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror) and Billy Crudup (Gypsy, Almost Famous) have joined the cast of the untitled series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, the project will offer an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by Michael Ellenberg.
Mbatha-Raw will take on the series-regular role as Hannah Shoenfeld, the whip-smart and charming head booker of talent. Tony-winner Crudup will play Cory Ellison, the forward-thinking president of the news division at the network. Carell, for whom the role marks his TV return following The Office, will play Mitch Kessler, a morning-show anchor struggling to maintain relevance in a changing media landscape.
Production is set to begin next week in Los Angeles.
Aniston — for whom the Apple series marks her TV return following Friends — and her Echo Films partner, Kristin Hahn, are exec producing alongside Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine topper, Lauren Levy Neustadter. Ellenberg's Media Res serves as the studio on the series. Mimi Leder (ER) will exec produce and direct. Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights) exec produces and serves as showrunner on the series. Stelter serves as a consultant. Echo's Amanda Anka is a co-producer.
Mbatha-Raw, who counts Touch, Undercovers and A Wrinkle in Time among her credits, is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. Crudup, fresh off Netflix's one-and-done drama Gypsy, is with CAA and Lighthouse Management + Media.
Still to be determined is how — and when — Apple will release its scripted original programming.