Sunday, January 19, 2020 will forever be a red letter day in Apple history, marking both the first time the tech giant hosted a day of panels at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, as well as the first major award victory for Apple TV+ — in the form Jennifer Aniston’s Screen Actors Guild Award win for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, thanks to her work on “The Morning Show.”
Strange as it may sound, the accomplishments mark two benchmarks for the fledgling streaming service, expediting its journey toward legitimacy and bringing it one step closer to becoming a major player on the ever-expanding television landscape.
That said, the path so far hasn’t been without its bumps, specifically related to “The Morning Show.”
The streamer opted to panel its flagship original series at TCA, despite not having new material to share or a willingness to discuss the upcoming second season of the show, which is still in pre-production. Instead the event served more as a referendum on the failures of the first season, with a distinct divide between critics and creatives.
The conflict was inevitable given the pre-existing tensions between the groups, after lackluster initial reviews for “The Morning Show” sparked executive producers Kerry Ehrin and Mimi Leder to cast aspersions on reviewers for not appreciating the show.
“When those reviews came in, I didn’t know what show they were watching. And I just kind of thought they were nuts,” Leder said during a panel at Recode’s Code Media conference in November. “I just felt there were a lot of Apple haters and wanting Apple to fail.”
When the legendary TV director (“The Leftovers,” “ER”) was pressed on the comments at press tour, she attempted to sidestep the questions, commenting, “I think that was really blown out of proportion.” She added later, “I think that obviously journalists, everyone has a right to their opinion. And I think there was a lot of expectations for this series, for this Apple streaming service in the beginning. We welcome all input. And I think, of course, some people are rooting you on and some people are wanting you to fail. It’s just kind of the nature of the beast.”
Despite how uncomfortable it was, it was likely a necessary evil to weather if the series wants to start fresh with critics in Season 2. Coupled with Aniston’s win later that evening, Apple TV+ found itself well on its way to bigger and brighter headlines.
For more on the Apple TV+ of it all, as well as the last days of press tour, check out this week’s episode of “Millions of Screens,” with TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, TV Deputy Editor Ben Travers, and Creative Producer Leo Garcia. Plus, stay tuned for tales from the awards shows, after Libby spends an entire weekend with the industry’s editors, producers, and actors in her attempt to figure out where the beef was, figuratively and literally.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia