Well. We have heard of a “mysterious respiratory illness” before. And then Cory spots something on the ticker: Hannah’s family, a young employee who slept with Mitch and later died of an overdose, filed a wrongful death complaint against the network. And then there’s perhaps the most disturbing development of all, when a woman standing behind Cory sneezes and the episode ends with a thud.
“Are we just going to ignore this?” “
The shutdown forced the show’s writers, led by Kerry Ehrin, to go back and rework everything.
“For a news show that looks at the world as it is, the question was, ‘Are we just going to ignore this? “” said Michael Ellenenberg, executive producer and general manager of Media Res, the studio behind the series. It would be impossible, they decided.
“We had to tackle the moments we were in, so our first conversation was how to do it. Kerry was adamant that we didn’t want to speculate on the future – how long the pandemic would last, would it end, what it would look like after, ”he added. “And so we quickly settled into this idea of, let’s look at the liquidation of the pandemic, when things are building up and all the time there’s this bomb under the table. “
Season 2 takes place in the first three months of 2020. The virus has hit China and is slowly gaining strength to overtake the rest of the world. At the same time, many characters are taking their toll, as they struggle with their own identities and with a shifting understanding of power, race, and privilege in and out of work.
Angry at being ignored to host a presidential debate, Danny (Desean Terry), a show-on-show reporter, demands to know what it is – to be gay? To be black? – which hampered his career. Stella (Greta Lee), the outspoken new president of UBA’s news division who is Asian American, wonders if she was hired symbolically, despite being subjected to racial Trump-style slurs on the coronavirus on the street. Beloved Cuban-American meteorologist Yanko Flores (Nestor Carbonell) is accused of appropriating Indigenous culture after using the phrase ‘spirit animal’ on the air, then attacked again when his apologies are ruled insufficiently sincere.