The hit Apple TV+ series The Morning Show is at the center of a $44 million insurance lawsuit. The main production company behind the show is suing Chubb National Insurance Company for allegedly refusing to pay millions of dollars in coverage after production on the series was shut down last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Morning Show stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell.
Production on The Morning Show was first paused in March 2020, after only 13 days of filming on Season 2 were complete, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Always Smiling Productions, the plaintiff in the case, took out $125 million in cast coverage and more for imminent peril to the studio. Chubb agreed to pay $1 million under the producers' civil authority coverage, which covers them if government orders make it impossible for work to continue. However, Chubb is refusing to cover cast policy that covers "death, injury, sickness, kidnap or compulsion by physical force or threat of physical force." The insurers argued that none of this happened.
The plaintiffs in the case argue that Chubb is not paying out the policy to save hundreds of millions. Always Smiling claims it is owed $44 million. The suit also accuses Chubb of being aware of the seriousness of the pandemic and that there could be a COVID outbreak on the set. Chubb's own position on COVID is that it does not constitute "direct physical loss or damage," according to the court documents obtained by THR.
The Morning Show debuted on Apple TV+ in November 2019. Filming on Season 2 resumed in October and finished in May. In a recent interview with Harper's Bazaar, Aniston said it was a "challenge" and "hard" to film in the middle of the pandemic. "We were all a bit nervous to be going out there, even though we had an incredible epidemiology team to educate all of us on how this is going to work, how this is going to look, and testing and the protocols," Aniston recalled.
The cast wore masks and face shields when rehearsing, Aniston said, adding that she could not even see her crew members' faces and they could not greet each other with hugs. "You'd get the [COVID-positive] false alarms," Aniston said. "It'd have to shut down for an hour to find out who, and you contact trace, and all this stuff. When we shut down [production in March 2020], we'd shot almost two episodes. Then basically, the whole season had to be reimagined incorporating COVID into it, because it turns out our show is topical."
The Morning Show was created by Jay Carson and centers on the crew of a fictional morning show. Aniston plays co-host Alex Levy, while Witherspoon plays her rival Bradley Jackson. Carell stars as a recently fired co-host. The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies joined the show for Season 2, which will premiere on Sept. 17.