‘Good Morning America’: How 2 Big Cast Changes May Change the Show
The morning television landscape is continuing to completely change, and the latest shake-up has come to Good Morning America. ABC is making some key changes to the talk show, meaning we’re going to be seeing a lot less of two stars going forward.
Here’s a look at why the network decided to change things up and how that will affect Good Morning America going forward.
1. Good Morning America has been battling Today in the ratings
For the past six years, Good Morning America has traditionally been the highest-viewed morning show on TV. Last fall, GMA‘s main competitor, Today, was embroiled in scandal after Matt Lauer was fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct. NBC replaced him with Hoda Kotb, and something funny happened: In the subsequent weeks, ratings actually went up without Lauer, and Today started beating Good Morning America.
This wasn’t just a case of viewers tuning in for a few days out of curiosity to see how the anchors addressed the Lauer scandal. No, Today won in the ratings for weeks and weeks. Today ended up finishing ahead of Good Morning America in the ratings for Q1 2018, according to Deadline.
Next: ABC has made this decision about the future of GMA.
2. ABC wants to focus more on its ‘winning team’ of anchors
As ABC struggles to ensure that Good Morning America continues to be the nation’s highest-viewed morning talk show, the network has evidently made a decision to focus even more on the winning team of anchors, and less on everyone else.
According to Page Six, ABC considers their winning team to be Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, and Michael Strahan. This means that two other Good Morning America stars who don’t belong to that core group will have a reduced role going forward.
Next: The first of two GMA stars whose role is dramatically changing.
3. Amy Robach is replacing Elizabeth Vargas on 20/20
The first of two Good Morning America staff members getting a different role going forward is Amy Robach. Robach has worked as a news anchor for Good Morning America since 2014. However, ABC has a position to fill over on 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas stepping down.
Vargas announced she was leaving in December and said that she would officially step down in May. In April, ABC announced that Robach would be her replacement.
Next: How Robach’s move to 20/20 will affect Good Morning America.
4. Robach will have a reduced role on GMA as a breaking news anchor
So now that Robach is moving to 20/20, will we still see any of her on Good Morning America? Robach isn’t leaving the morning show entirely, but she will have a reduced role.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Robach will continue to work for Good Morning America during coverage of breaking news stories. Page Six had previously reported that Robach will “cover major news, such as natural disasters, in the field.”
Next: The second GMA cast member who will be spending less time on the show now.
5. Lara Spencer will now spend less time on the show too
Going forward, you’ll be seeing a lot less of Lara Spencer on Good Morning America as well. According to Deadline, Spencer’s role has been cut back from five days a week to three days a week. She’s only going to be there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays going forward.
This evidently came as Spencer signed a new contract with ABC. And it doesn’t sound like the network is particularly worried that this change is going to impact ratings. An insider told Page Six, “Lara’s good at her job, but it’s not like the [ratings] are affected when she’s not on [the show].”
Next: There’s a bit of disagreement over whose decision this was.
6. ABC says it was Spencer’s decision, but that may not be true
So did Spencer decide she wanted to have a reduced role on Good Morning America? Or did the network make that decision because they wanted to focus more on their “winning team”?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Some sources indicate that Spencer wanted to step back in order to have enough time to focus on her lifestyle brand and production company; she produces shows for HGTV and the Cooking Channel, including Flea Market Flip. A GMA rep also said that cutting back hours was Spencer’s decision.
However, other sources suggest that it was entirely ABC’s choice and that she’s being “quietly sidelined” by the network. Page Six characterized this all by saying that Spencer is now “frantically trying to make it appear that her absence from the show is by choice.”
Next: One report suggests there’s a surprising reason the GMA staff is celebrating this news.
7. The GMA staff is reportedly ‘relieved’ she won’t be there as much
Apparently, Spencer’s colleagues on Good Morning America aren’t devastated that her role is being reduced — at least, according to one report. A source told Page Six that the staff is actually thrilled to be seeing less of her.
“Staff are relieved that Lara’s schedule is being cut back,” the source said. “She treats staff badly, she yells at people and she makes a lot of extra work for people.”
A GMA rep disputed this, though, saying it’s ridiculous and that Spencer is the ultimate team player. A source also suggested to Page Six that this is all great for Spencer. “She’s still a key part of the show, and she has more flexibility,” the source said. “She’s been telling people about it for a couple of weeks at least.”
8. Did Spencer and Strahan have issues?
According to some reports, ABC treats Strahan a little too well. Page Six says he has received special treatment from the network, due to his further rise to fame as a television host, and this has left his co-stars feeling under-appreciated.
An insider explained, “They roll out the carpet for [Strahan] while seasoned talent is treated like dirt. He’s been given a lot of opportunity, flexibility, when the others who have been working there longer don’t get that kind of treatment.”
One person in particular who feels her “role has been minimized” thanks to Strahan is Spencer. According to a source, “There’s not a lot of love between the two. They know how to put it on for the cameras, but he’s doing a lot of what Lara should be doing [on the show] and she’s not happy.”
Next: Strahan isn’t the only one ABC is willing to stick by
9. George Stephanopoulos gets a pass
George Stephanopoulos landed in hot water back in 2015, after the co-anchor said he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Because Stephanopoulos is also a political commentator, many feared his reporting may not be objective. He ultimately apologized twice to the public, and removed himself from moderating a Republican debate to help put the issue to the rest. That was apparently enough for ABC, as no further repercussions took place and the network continues to rely on Stephanopoulos.
Additional reporting by Eric McWhinnie.
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