Move over ATN and the Roy family; a hot new fictional conservative news network is in town.
In one of the most surprising Easter eggs I’ve discovered while watching TV this season, it turns out that the same conservative, Fox News-inspired fake network is being used in background footage in two of Apple TV+’s biggest—and, until now, unrelated—TV shows. Not only does Eagle News, the aforementioned Fox stand-in, exist on The Morning Show, but it is also the go-to right-wing cable news choice for the alt-history series For All Mankind.
The Morning Show aired its Season 3 finale this week, while For All Mankind premiered Season 4. Both seasons have scenes that involve this fictional Eagle News network. Talk about Apple TV+ synergy.
This crossover begs the question: Does The Morning Show and For All Mankind exist in the same universe? If that’s the case, what other networks from The Morning Show appear in For All Mankind? And do the characters from the respective series also exist in the other? Should we be prepared for the Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) scandal to make its mark on the For All Mankind timeline? Will Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) get sent to Mars instead of briefly floating above the Earth in an extra penis-y-shaped rocket? These are only a handful of queries that popped into my mind when I clocked that the two shows share the Eagle News connection.
Set nearly 20 years apart—For All Mankind has just hit 2003—the Eagle News logo is unsurprisingly flashier on The Morning Show. Whereas For All Mankind has a whiff of a feathered wing, The Morning Show takes a Fourth of July approach to its ultra-patriotic red, white, and blue branding. Both versions of this news organization fit the world it comes from, and going full bird is exactly what I want from a show that uses the Jan. 6 insurrection as the backdrop for siblings who should go to family therapy.
While the network names like UBA (United Broadcast Association) on The Morning Show or For All Mankind’s NNC (National News Channel) differ, the Fox News stand-in, Eagle News, is the same on both series. What excites me about this particular choice is the overlap potential, even if the two shows don’t actually exist in the same universe…or do they?
Let’s clear some things up for those not fluent in everything For All Mankind. (Now is your time to catch up—I promise, you won’t regret it!) Instead of the United States landing on the moon in 1969, the Soviet cosmonauts beat them to the punch, and by the fourth season, a mix of global nations and a private corporation is running a Mars mining colony. Yep, a lot things changed throughout history based on who won the space race.
For All Mankind takes several giant leaps (pun definitely intended) in its timeline between seasons. A montage opening the Season 4 premiere reveals the political, pop culture, and plot developments on the way to the year 2003, continuing fans’ fun tradition of spotting the differences between history and this fictional reality. Archival footage from fictional news networks is intercut with actual magazine titles covering alt-history stories (Bill and Hillary split, as per a 1998 Newsweek cover), newspaper headlines (Harvey Weinstein is charged with sexual assault in 1999), and movie clips, showing that Jerry Maguire and Castaway still exist in this version.
In For All Mankind’s ’90s-set third season, the Eagle News Channel is introduced, arriving a little earlier than the 1996 launch of Rupert Murdoch’s US news operation. Its name is not meant to be a subtle reference, nor is the perpetually outraged anchor, Bill McGann (Larry Clarke), who gives strong Bill O’Reilly vibes. However, For All Mankind isn’t quite offering the same parody tone as The Morning Show’s Season 3 Eagle News introduction, in which guest star June Diane Raphael’s news anchor takes great pleasure in celebrating the ongoing downfall of the hypocritical UBA leadership—whether the culprit is racist leaked emails or charges of grooming in the recent finale.
Raphael’s comedy background elevates this interpretation, and the actress seems to be having a blast as she tosses in a “y’all” to make sure the Eagle News audience knows she is just like them. There is a winking self-awareness that matches how The Morning Show has found its footing this season, juggling references to real events and finding inspiration in SpaceX and the infamous Sony email hack. The Morning Show meshes as much truth and fiction as For All Mankind (which also has a tech billionaire) and even sent one of its anchors into space.
Returning to the Mitch Kesseler elephant in the room…so far, morning TV is represented by Morning USA on For All Mankind, not The Morning Show’s show-within-a-show. But there is still time! When The Morning Show debuted in 2019, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) had been paired with Mitch for 15 years, putting their start date on the program at 2004. That still gives For All Mankind a window to open its doors to new morning TV possibilities. Maybe this time, it’s Alex who will get to go to space.
Either way, Eagle News will find a way to swoop in and mock the mainstream media elite.