After a twist-filled second season that saw the series adjusting to and incorporating the ongoing health scare and social uprisings that unfolded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Apple TV+ renewed the Emmy-winning drama series for a third season, which is set to premiere on Sept. 13. As anticipation builds for its return to the streaming platform — with fans dying to know what comes next for Alex Levy (Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) — the series has filmed on location in New York City and padded it’s already star-studded ensemble with even bigger names, like Jon Hamm.
In ET’s exclusive clip, we see Alex offering something of a pep talk to Bradley as she struggles to adjust to her new role with UBA. Bradley expresses frustration over her inability to report on local stories that she believes are important.
“You’re evening news now, honey,” Alex says. “You know, you’re Dan Rather, you’re Diane Sawyer. You’ve wanted this chair since you landed at UBA. Why don’t you try just sitting in it for a while?”
See the clip in the player above.
Season 2’s wild ride ended with many of UBA’s employees left at unexpected crossroads in their professional and personal lives. For Alex, that meant facing the reality of what happened between her and Mitch (Steve Carell), all of which was revealed as Maggie Brener (Marcia Gay Harden) promoted the release of her tell-all book, The Wrong Side of the Bed. While coming to terms with his unexpected death, Alex also tested positive for COVID-19.
During Alex’s attempt to recover from the virus, Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) had Chip Black (Mark Duplass) produce a digital series for UBA+, the network’s new streaming service. While documenting her health battle, Alex and Chip reconciled before it was later revealed that Chip lied about testing positive in order to work alongside her. Worried about the seriousness of the pandemic given her heart condition, Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) fled New York City for Montana and invited Bradley to come live with her. While Bradley’s exploration of her sexuality led her on a path to discovering her authentic self, it’s also created a love triangle between her, Laura and Cory, who put his career on the line with the poorly timed launch of UBA+.
Elsewhere, Stella Bak (Greta Lee), Cory’s replacement as president of the news division, was left trying to salvage what she can when much of the TMS team was exposed to COVID by Alex. As a result, she turned to Yanko Flores (Néstor Carbonell) to man the show’s desk after co-host Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry) unexpectedly quit and Bradley went off to search for her missing brother.
Sadly, there are two stars definitely not returning in season 3. One of them is Carell, whose character died in shocking fashion during season 2, when Mitch drove his car off a cliff in Italy. “I thought it was quite shocking and… it’s a gut punch to the heart and soul for Alex,” Aniston said at the time, sharing that the whole situation is “tragically poetic.”
Carell later added, “That was a lot of fun to work on. That was a great group of people and I enjoyed that.”
The other is Harden, who told ET that she was busy filming her new CBS series, So Help Me Todd, and was unlikely to be available for season 3. “If we could work it in so that Maggie could come back for a day or two, I would love that,” the actress offered. “She’s got to drum up another interesting story. And I think because of how it was left off, she has to drum it up with a different kind of humanity.”
Much of the expanded ensemble, however, is expected to return. “Obviously, Jen and I are back,” Witherspoon told ET. “We still have the amazing Karen Pittman and Billy Crudup, and so many of the cast members that people love.” Not only that, but Margulies is coming back. Initially, it wasn’t clear if she would reprise her role as Laura, especially after her character planned to move to Montana. However, Apple TV+ confirmed that she will be part of season 3.
Season 3 will be led by executive producer and showrunner Charlotte Stoudt while Mimi Leder has returned to direct and executive produce.
Apple TV+ has said “the stakes are high” in the third season “as the future of the network is thrown into question and loyalties are pushed to the brink when a tech titan takes an interest in UBA. Unexpected alliances form, private truths are weaponized, and everyone is forced to confront their core values both in and out of the newsroom.”
In the official trailer, viewers see the newsroom get locked down by hackers as UBA faces a cyber attack. With the threat of secrets coming out, Bradley admitting to a “huge mistake,” and Paul taking a financial interest in UBA — and Alex — it looks like the network is far from steady footing.
Witherspoon hinted to ET that the new episodes will take place “after the pandemic” but stopped short of confirming exactly when. “I can’t tell you anything,” she quipped. “But it’s really juicy and good.”
Later, Witherspoon revealed that “there is lots of romance this year.”
Learn more about the new season at the links below.