The Apple TV+ Series The Morning Show has been a revelation as far as TV shows go. Revolving around a team of personalities of a TV news show, it brings viewers into the machinations of how a network newsroom operates. One of the most interesting characters of the series is Daniel Henderson played by the talented Desean Terry.
Although most of the central focus revolves around the lead characters of the series, Henderson is undoubtedly the character more would resonate with. As a co-anchor of this fictional newsroom, he aspires to move up the ladder so to speak. However, he is often overlooked despite his talents and loyalty to the network he works for.
Desean Terry brings to life the character of Henderson and fans of the show will be glad to know that in the second season of the Apple TV+ series, the character gets his chance to shine. In season 2 of the series, we’ll see his character Daniel Henderson report on the start of the global pandemic.
As the season is set against the backdrop of the beginning of COVID times, the storyline is especially meaningful to the actor, as his character showcases the importance of diverse voices in the television newsroom.
Beyond The Morning Show, Terry is also currently working on directing a production of ‘The Central Park Five’, the Pulitzer Prize winning opera, at the Long Beach Opera. He also divides his time as the Artistic Director Collaborative Artists Bloc, a theatre company he founded, which is dedicated towards bringing art focused on social impact into underserved communities in Los Angeles.
Speaking to the actor, writer, and director, we discuss his character development in The Morning Show season 2, along with his projects off camera.
Daniel Henderson is one of the more intriguing characters on The Morning Show, especially as he is torn between ambition as well as loyalty. What’s in store for the character in the new season?
Season 2 starts with Daniel at a very vulnerable place. He gave up the anchor position at the rival network, feels betrayed by Alex (Jennifer Aniston), and he’s been passed over for the anchor position at UBA, yet again. He becomes more vocal and confrontational this season regarding the systemic issues he sees at UBA.
How more developed is the character in this new season, especially with the changes revolving around the show and its characters?
We definitely spend more time with Daniel this season. We get a greater sense of who he is. He is the first journalist at the network to express concerns surrounding COVID-19. It leads to quite a journey. While the network ignores it, he keeps pushing for it to get coverage.
We understand that the character will be reporting about the global pandemic, which is something audiences can resonate with. How do you feel about being in the centre of such an important storyline?
I think it’s great that Daniel is the centre of this storyline. We know from the first season that he is a dedicated journalist and a hard worker, so it makes sense that his instinct leads him to COVID-19 first. I hope the audiences relive the eeriness of seeing this virus develop into a global pandemic.
Was the COVID storyline something that was written up to be incorporated into season 2 as events around the world unfolded?
COVID was not initially a part of season 2. We even shot a few episodes without that storyline. Then, the shutdown happened, and the writers pivoted, much like they did in season 1 to include the Me Too movement storyline. So yes, it was very much a decision aimed at acknowledging what was happening in the real world.
How does it feel to be a part of a team of impressive talents for this show?
It feels great. I’m learning so much from everyone. The roster is impressive both in front of and behind the camera. I also direct, so It’s been a real gift to watch such amazing storytellers build and guide this behemoth of a show with such nuanced storytelling.
Beyond The Morning Show, you’re also directing ‘The Central Park Five’. Tell us about the inspiration behind that?
It’s going to be an adventure. I have limited experience in opera. I view the project as a part of my activism work, but this is art-activism. The world of opera remains a predominantly white space, but ‘The Central Park Five,’ composed by Anthony Davis with libretto by Richard Wesley, is now a Pulitzer Prize winning opera. It gives BIPOC artists an opportunity to be custodians of our own stories in a space that has historically shut us out. It’s a fascinating mission. So, I’m really excited.
Is there a reason why this opera resonates with you?
I see myself reflected in those five men. This story identifies a very specific experience in America that is very personal to me. I was 16 years old when I was first mistakenly placed under handcuffs. Unfortunately, that experience is so common it almost feels like a rite of passage for Black men in America. For many Black men, there is a shared sense of awareness that we could easily become the next George Floyd. And we could have, just as easily, been a member of the Central Park Five. That’s why the story resonates.
You’ve founded the Collaborative Artists Bloc. What inspired you to create this important initiative?
I grew up in South Los Angeles and I know how much art shaped my development. Every community deserves to see themself at the centre of narratives. We are fed way too many stories where whiteness exists in the centre. That makes you feel less than, or that your experience doesn’t matter. We need more stories that delve into our specific experiences. I hope that what we do at Collaborative Artists Bloc helps to shape our communities in ways that my early experiences in the theatre impacted me.
Catch Desean Terry in season two of The Morning Show exclusively on Apple TV+
(The Morning Show images: courtesy of Apple)