The actress opens up to ET about Mia's journey in season 2 of 'The Morning Show' and working on 'And Just Like That.'
To say Karen Pittman is enjoying a moment is an understatement. The actress, who first garnered attention for her roles on The Americans and Marvel’s Luke Cage, is now starring in several of TV’s hottest and most anticipated series, from the Apple TV+ original The Morning Show, which is back for season 2, to the breakout Paramount hit Yellowstone, to HBO’s anticipated Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That, which debuts this fall. “It really is extraordinary,” Pittman says. “I just feel really, really fortunate to be doing what I am doing.”
While speaking to ET’s Rachel Smith, the actress opened up about her character’s journey on The Morning Show while also teasing what’s to come from a sex-filled season of And Just Like That.
Back with season 2, the Emmy-winning drama continues to follow the chaotic lives of people in front of and behind the camera at a major news network where things are anything but stable. Starring opposite the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Billy Crudup, Pittman plays Mia Jordan, a producer on UBA’s morning news program who moves up to executive producer after the explosive events of the season 1 finale.
As with season 1, the show went through several rewrites and changes during season 2 after production was forced to shut down just weeks into filming new episodes. Because of that, the writers were able to figure out how to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic while also tackling other relevant issues, like cancel culture and racial injustices.
For Pittman, the real-life events of the past year provided an opportunity to open things up for her character. “I felt that it was important to advocate for the character as an African American female on the show and, really for the first time, try and share my personal experience and see if it could influence the storytelling,” she says, inspired to speak up “in a way that I probably wouldn’t have if we hadn’t gone through all of that -- the pandemic and the protests.”
She adds, “It was a challenging season 2, but I saw it as an opportunity to tell a more bold and daring story.” As a result, “the story got bigger as we got deeper,” she says, pleasantly surprised that the writers were open to taking on those challenges. “So yeah, I appreciate that.” And this season, fans will see Mia challenging the status quo, especially when it comes to having two white anchors, UBA overlooking its talent of color and people like former executive producer Chip Black (Mark Duplass) being brought back into the fold.
While real-life events led to changes in the story, new characters played by Greta Lee, Julianna Margulies, Hasan Minhaj present challenges for Mia and other longtime staffers. And for Pittman, that was a welcome development. “The great part about having new actors on is they bring in this new flavor and bring in new blood,” she explains.
“And it’s always great to feel like you need to raise your game,” Pittman continues. Especially when it comes to someone like Margulies, who she’s been a longtime fan of after watching her on The Good Wife. “It was great to be like, ‘Hey, welcome to my show, Julianna.’ She does extraordinary work.”
And when it comes to being welcome on the set of And Just Like That by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, Pittman says she sometimes had to pinch herself. “It’s so great to go from these extraordinary women on The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to work with these extraordinary women on this comedy,” she continues.
On the revival from Michael Patrick King, Pittman plays Columbia Law professor Dr. Nya Wallace. “I think people will really like [her],” the actress says, adding that costume designer Molly Rogers has given her character lots of “great fashion” to wear on the series. I think that Molly is doing a great job at conjugating what that looks like. I think the sisters will really, really adore her fashion.”
While she wouldn’t spill on which of the main stars her character spends the most time with, Pittman did gush about working with LeRoy McClain, who plays her onscreen husband and musician, Andre Rashad Wallace. “There is plenty of sex in the city happening with him,” she teases.
As for the show itself, it promises to be very reflective of the diverse and inclusive nature of New York City today, with Pittman one of several new cast members of color, gender and sexual identity alongside Sara Ramirez, Sarita Choudhury and Nicole Ari Parker.
“They are interested in telling complete stories, you know, not just about the women who are on the show but the women who are coming into the show,” the actress says, adding that “the writers’ room is very diverse.”
Although there have been several changes to the show, Pittman says that “what remains in And Just Like That from Sex and the City is that a story about love and friendship and womanhood and sisterhood… It really is a love letter to women and New York City.”
She concludes, “It is so great to be a part of it.”
The Morning Show season 2 is now streaming with new episodes debuting Fridays on Apple TV+.