Mitch Kessler was the charismatic former co-host of UBA's The Morning Show. His career came to an abrupt end when his sexual misconduct was brought to light, causing his luxurious life to fall apart completely.
50th Birthday and Vegas Shooting
The day of the last TMS episode before his birthday, Mitch woke up and got ready to go to work. Once he arrived, several people wished him a happy birthday as he walked in. While waiting to film, Mitch overheard Chip talking to Jared, the head booker, for getting a representative they'd had on the show before instead of a senator like Chip had asked. Jared said it was too late to get a senator, but Hannah said she had a contact at Sadie Worthington's office and could try that. Mitch said that Hannah was a go-getter. Once they were on set, Mitch joked with Alex as they waited for the show to start. During the show, Alex announced that it was Mitch's birthday and confetti fell from the ceiling.
On Sunday, his actual birthday, Mitch played soccer with his sons until Paige told him he needed to get ready as they were meeting Fred and Geneva Micklen for dinner to celebrate. On their way to the restaurant, Mitch got a call from Chip, saying he had new materials Mitch needed to prepare for some interviews. Chip offered to have it messengered over, but Paige said they could stop by and pick it up. They went by the studio, where Mitch realized it was a ruse to get him back to the studio so they could surprise him with a birthday party.
At the party, Dick Lundy popped out of a cake and sang for Mitch. Mitch then tried out his new motorcycle, a present from UBA. He also talked to Hannah and told her she did a great job getting a senator for a segment. He told her it made the show better and to keep up the good work. Mitch then gave a speech thanking everyone for coming.
As the party died down, Mitch ended up at a table with Dick, where they talked about their legacies. Mitch wasn't sure his would be good, because no one re-watches the news unless it's a tragedy. After they talked, Mitch decided just to stay at the studio because he had to be back in a few hours to do the show anyway.
Soon after, they learned there was a shooting in Las Vegas, so Chip sent Mitch and Alex with a team to do the show from there. Mitch tried to keep Chip from sending Alex, but Chip insisted. Mitch then asked for Mia to be moved from his team to Alex's and Chip agreed to do that.
In Vegas, Mitch and Alex prepared to go on camera. After doing a segement, they talked about how the job involved being repeatedly exposed to other people's traumas and how it affected them. After they talked, Alex went to bed while Mitch went for a walk on the strip.
While he walked, he ran into Hannah and the two of them talked about their jobs. Mitch then invited Hannah up to his hotel room, where they watched Caddyshack. Mitch was enjoying it, but noticed Hannah wasn't, so he turned the TV off and hugged her while she cried. He then started kissing her and telling her she smelled good and he liked her, much to her surprise. Ignoring her obvious discomfort and lack of reciprocity, he slid his hand between her legs and began undressing her. Then he moved them into the bedroom, where he raped her.
When they returned to New York, Mitch barely acknowledged Hannah when he saw her in the hallway. When he and Alex watched a report on Harvey Weinstein, Mitch called him a creep.
Mitch woke up one morning to a call from Chip, the executive producer of The Morning Show. The call informed him that he was being fired because The New York Times was reporting on leaked reports that he'd sexually harassed members of the staff of The Morning show. Throughout the day, Mitch repeatedly tried to call his co-host, Alex, but she ignored all his calls. Mitch watched as, later that morning, Alex addressed the public on the show, saying the Mitch she thought she knew was gone and she'd grieve him along with all of them. Mitch took her remarks as her throwing him under the bus.
Mitch met with his team to go over his options. He was angry that he was being ruined over what he said was consensual sex. As he finished his rant about it, his wife, Paige, told him she'd be picking their kids up from school and then taking them to the Hamptons, declaring that she was divorcing him. The next night, Mitch heard someone coming into his house. He got his gun and went downstairs, where he found Alex, who had come in through the woods to avoid the reporters. She was angry with him for ruining what they had, though he maintained that it was all consensual. He thought she was jealous, because they had a brief thing themselves, though she said that wasn't true. Mitch tried to get Alex to stay when she said she had to leave. He then told her they were going to replace her at TMS, which she refused to believe. She then left.
Mitch met with Lisa Pauschter, his business manager, who told him UBA wouldn't be paying out his contract because he'd violated his morality clause. Because of that, she said he'd need to think about selling some of his property because he wouldn't have income for the foreseeable future.
Mitch continuously called reporters, looking for someone to tell his side of the story. Chip visited him to tell him to stop calling. Mitch told Chip he was planning to fight back and not just roll over and accept his fate.
Mitch then met with his agent, Neal, and told Neal about his plan for what to do next. While they were meeting, Mitch got a notification telling him that Bradley Jackson was the new co-host of TMS. Neal then told Mitch he wouldn't be able to represent him anymore because he had a lot of female clients and Mitch wouldn't be working for a while.
Next, Mitch went to Dick Lundy, who had also been accused of sexual harassment. He was shocked by some of Dick's statements, but said he wanted them to do a documentary together. Dick wanted to be very aggressive with accusers and surprised Mitch by revealing that he was being sued because one of the women he'd assaulted was underage. Mitch suggested just interviewing the men because the women might not want to participate. Mitch then told Dick he was a predator.
Visiting the Studio
Desperate to find someone to speak on his behalf, Mitch came to the TMS studio and asked if anyone would speak on his behalf. When security came to remove him, he waved them off and asked Alex directly. She said nothing, so he left with security. On his way out, he ended up in the elevator with Bradley Jackson, who asked him who else knew what was happening. He just asked her who she thought knew.
Despite her publicly rejecting him, Alex later left her own fundraising party to meet up with Mitch. They talked about Bradley and their relationship. Then he asked her out, saying they were both single for the first time since they met. They kissed, but she pulled back. Just as she did, a NYT article about the show was posted and they both read it. It included a portion about Mitch's visit to the set. After dropping Alex off, Mitch called Fred and said if he was going down, Fred was going down with him.
Reaching Out to Bradley and Hannah
While Bradley was in California reporting on the wildfires, Mitch sent her an email saying he wanted to meet and that he had information he thought she might be interested in.
After considering his offer, Bradley decided to meet Mitch. He said he wanted her to interview him on TMS, to give him the platform to tell his story. He said it would be great for ratings. He said he had proof that he wasn't the only guilty party there. There was a woman who slept with him to bump her career and didn't hate him. He said it might be a risk worth taking for her and said to let him know soon as he was going to tell the story with or without her. After thinking about it, Bradley told Alex she might consider it if he could find someone to coroborate his story.
Mitch went to Hannah and said she got something from him and it was time to repay the favor. He asked her if she remembered sleeping with him and leveraging it to get the head booker job. He wasn't angry, but said it was time for her to repay that. He said he needed her help getting proof that Fred had swept his actions under the rug. He said she could he anonymous, but he needed someone. She said she wasn't sure she could. He told her the story was coming out one way or another, but if she helped, she could control the narrative.
Alex later came to see Mitch and told him that the interview wasn't going to happen. He said he was fighting for his own legacy and she would be fine because he wasn't coming for her. She insisted it wouldn't happen on her show, he said he'd go elsewhere, but that would make it harder to keep her out of the narrative. Alex then weaved a story about waking up in Mitch's bed with no idea how she got there. Mitch said she wouldn't dare tell that story, but she told him not to try her.
Mitch called Hannah, saying he needed her help sooner than later, so she met him outside his apartment. She told the events of Vegas from her point of view, but he refused to believe it, saying she had to know what was going to happen when she agreed to come up to his room. Then she said she'd cororborate his story, but she wanted to remain anonymous and wanted him to leave her alone. He said he was fine with that.
Mitch met with Cory, Bradley, and Chip to talk about their plan for the interview. He told them about Hannah and said she could cororborate his story. He told them Hannah had used him to get the promotion and Chip remembered pushing that promotion through, but didn't question why at the time. There was urgency in their discussion, as they all knew if they didn't do it soon, they wouldn't be able to. Bradley said he had to talk to Hannah before she would do the interview.
When Chip was fired, Mitch asked Cory how they were doing it and Cory said to leave it to him. Cory told Mitch not to mess with Bradley. He reminded Mitch about the way he'd spoken about what happened with Hannah, so he knew that Mitch didn't really understand. He didn't want Mitch to play the victim. He also said he could help Mitch get a new audience if he were willing to change things.
The next morning, Mitch woke up at 3:30 AM to get ready. However, when Bradley learned that Hannah had died, she said she couldn't do the interview. Chip came to Mitch's apartment to tell him this and the two of them got in a physical fight after Chip told him they weren't doing the interview because Hannah was dead. During the fight, Chip admitted that he was the one who leaked the story to the Times.
During the show, Alex and Bradley decided to go off script and reported on Fred's complicity.
Trip to Italy and Working with Paola
After Alex and Bradley's eventful broadcast, Mitch took a trip to Italy to get away from the scandal. While he was there, he learned of Hannah's family suing UBA over her death. When Fred tried to call him, he ignored it.
Another day, while he was eating gelato outside a Gelateria, a young woman came up to him and yelled at him for ruining her gelato by his presence. She continued to yell at him until Paola Lambruschini came up and told her off, saying it seemed that no matter what Mitch did, it wouldn't satisfy her. Mitch tried to leave, but Paola insisted that he stay and enjoy his gelato. She continued to defend him, saying the other woman was just trying to kick him while he was down to feel better about herself. At that point, Mitch got up and walked away. Paola followed him and said she didn't like that no matter what he tried to do, he couldn't satisfy people. She asked him if she could pick his brain and talked him into giving her his number.
Later, while Mitch was watching TV, Fred came to his door with a bottle of wine. Mitch knocked the wine out of his hands and reminded him that the network paid him $119.2 million to go away. Mitch then shut the door in his face.
Despite this, Fred continued to try to talk to Mitch, but to Mitch's annoyance. Fred was insistent that Hannah's family didn't have a case and wanted Mitch to go with him to ask the network to fix a motion to dismiss. Mitch told Fred to leave him out of it.
Mitch met with Paola, who told him she was a documentarian and wanted more consistency in her life. When Mitch's phone rang repeatedly, Paola encouraged him to answer it in case it was his kids, though he was sure it was Fred. When he checked his phone, he saw that Alex was returning to The Morning Show. He became upset and tried to leave, but Paola grabbed his phone from his hand and told him it wasn't worth being upset over as Alex was choosing to live in the past while he could live in the present. She encouraged him to move on and focus on something else. Then she told him about a rape case in Italy that was overturned because the defendant said the victim was too ugly to be raped. Paola wanted to do a documentary on it and asked Mitch to help her. Mitch said he couldn't do it and left.
Later, while watching The State of the Union, Mitch reached out to Paola and told her he'd do it.
Helping Paola and Defeating Fred
Mitch and Paola drove to the university so Paola could interview a professor there for her documentary. While she was inside, he got a call from Paige telling him that someone had launched a smear campaign against Hannah and it was only a matter of time before someone was willing to publish on it. She believed Mitch was behind it, even when he promised it wasn't him. Mitch called Cory and asked him to kill the story, but leave Mitch out of everything else. He wanted to live whatever was left of his life.
After the interview, Mitch and Paola reviewed the footage back at her apartment. Paola translated portions of it for Mitch and told him there was a lot of good stuff in it. She also cooked dinner, but things became strained when Paola kissed Mitch on the cheek, causing him to freeze and ask her not to do that.
The next day, Paola called Mitch to tell him the professor had the novel coronavirus and since she'd been with him for hours and then spent several hours with Mitch, they both needed to quarantine. She suggested they do so together so they could work on the documentary.
As they waited out their quarantine, Mitch filmed Paola speaking for her documentary. As she finished the final segment she needed, she asked him why he chose to quarantine together. He admitted that he enjoys her company. Then he told her they wouldn't be sleeping together, even though she is beautiful. He was just too damaged. She said she knew that, which made Mitch ask why she stayed. Paola explained that damaged made her feel at home.
Later, Paola asked Mitch to let her interview him on camera, just for practice. He refused because of what happened the last time he was supposed to be interviewed. Despite this, he later sat down and began to talk about what he did wrong, from his perspective. He knew he shouldn't have done any of what he did. He didn't want to be the person he was. He didn't want to hurt anyone. He didn't want people to think he was the kind of person who could hurt someone. Now one of those women is dead: Hannah Shoenfeld. That shouldn't have happened, but he was self-absorbed and ignorant and he thought it was what she wanted. If she'd been able to tell him she didn't ... It's easy to say right now, but if they don't believe him, no reason to spend any time speaking to him. That guy is a monster. As bad as it was, sleeping with Hannah wasn't his worst mistake. A year ago, during the unpleasantness, he was scared and trying to claw his way back. So he asked Hannah to help him, which was stupid. But he did it. And she told him how she felt and how it had hurt her. It was so obvious that she was in pain, but he still couldn't see it. He didn't understand why she felt that way. He pressed it and said horrible things. And to him, that's his real crime. Because he can't write that off as ignorance. He knew what he was doing and did it anyway.
Alex's Visit and Mitch's Death
With Maggie Brener's tell-all book about TMS coming out, Alex came to Italy to visit Mitch to ask him to make a statement that they never slept together, which was a lie, because she didn't want her reputation ruined by her connection to him. He initially refused, but ultimately agreed to make the statement and gave Alex his new number so she could make sure he did that. Once Alex had left, Paola told Mitch not to leave things like that with her, so Mitch followed Alex out and asked her to stay and talk.
They walked around the property and talked about their time working together. He said he couldn't see them as a team and only saw her as the competition, which is where he went wrong. She became upset and said she had to leave to catch her flight.
On Mitch's request, Paola showed him that she'd deleted his interview. Then she left, despite them having a few days remaining on their quarantine. She also told him that the professor had died and said she'd send flowers from both of them.
Alex returned the next day after having fallen asleep at the side of the road. He'd left a note for her that he was going to stay out of her way and an envelope with the statement she'd asked for. Despite this, when he heard her crying, he came and comforted her. He then helped her book a flight home. Once that was done, they spent the time playing games and talking. He also asked her to use her connections to help Paola, as he didn't have the required capital himself. The next morning, he tried to get Alex to stay, but she said she had to leave. Once she was gone, Mitch went to Paola's, where they ended up having sex. After they were finished, Paola realized she was out of cigarettes, so Mitch went to get her some more. As he drove, Mitch was nearly hit by an oncoming car. When he swerved to avoid it, Mitch ended up off the other side of the road, where he crashed.
Mitch was taken to the hospital, where Paola came to see him and stayed with him while he died.
He was the guy-next-door with all the brains, charm, political intelligence and hubris of a TV star.
He and Paige were married for many years. They grew apart and she tolerated his numerous affairs over the years until she finally divorced him and took their kids when the news of his sexual misconduct got out.
He and Alex slept together twice, long before his actions came to light. After they separated from their respective spouses, Mitch asked her to go out with him for real, saying it was their shot.
He and Mia had an affair which she broke off. When Fred started an investigation, trying to figure out who leaked Mitch's actions to the NYT, the investgiator believed Mia had been the one becuase of this relationship.
He had two sons with his estranged wife, named Teddy and Jeff. He also had a male Neapolitan Mastiff named Fido, who was adopted by Paola after Mitch's death.
He mentions his mother in passing at one point, citing one of his director friend Dick's films as her favorite movie.
He was liked and admired by many of his colleagues. Several of the younger ones in particular saw him as a mentor/father figure, including Hannah Shoenfeld. While on location covering the 2017 Vegas mass shooting, he took advantage of this and sexually assaulted Hannah.
In the first episode of Season 1, In the Dark Night of the Soul It's Always 3:30 in the Morning, it is revealed that he was the Chief White House correspondent, a Presidential debate moderator and a field correspondent prior to being named co-anchor of TMS. Kessler was on the network for a total of over 20 years, meaning he was a correspondent for over 5 years as their era of the show has been running for 15 years.
Notes and Trivia
- Mitch turns 50 on the same day as the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, meaning that he was born on October 1, 1967.
- In No One's Gonna Harm You, Not While I'm Around we get a quick glimpse of some of his mail, which reveals his full first name (Mitchell, as one might guess) and his place of residence (Rye, a town just outside of NYC).
- In addition to his main house in Rye, he owns three additional properties (an apartment in NYC and vacation homes in Aspen and the Hamptons) and a yacht.
- "Since the dawn of time men have used their power to attract women."
|The Morning Show, Season 1|
|#01||"In the Dark Night of the Soul It's Always 3:30 in the Morning"||#06||"The Pendulum Swings"|
|#02||"A Seat at the Table"||#07||"Open Waters"|
|#03||"Chaos Is the New Cocaine"||#08||"Lonely at the Top"|
|#04||"That Woman"||#09||"Play the Queen"|
|#05||"No One's Gonna Harm You, Not While I'm Around"||#10||"The Interview"|
|The Morning Show, Season 2|
|#01||"My Least Favorite Year"||#06||"A Private Person"|
|#02||"It's Like The Flu"||#07||"La Amara Vita"|
|#04||"Kill the Fatted Calf"||#09||"Testimony"|
- Lonely at the Top, 1x08
- In the Dark Night of the Soul It's Always 3:30 in the Morning, 1x01
- A Seat at the Table, 1x02
- Chaos Is the New Cocaine, 1x03
- No One's Gonna Harm You, Not While I'm Around, 1x05
- The Pendulum Swings, 1x06
- Open Waters, 1x07
- Play the Queen, 1x09
- The Interview, 1x10
- It's Like The Flu, 2x02
- Laura, 2x03
- Kill the Fatted Calf, 2x04
- Ghosts, 2x05
- La Amara Vita, 2x07
- Confirmations, 2x08