George Stephanopoulos’ ‘Good Morning America’ Secret: ‘You Can’t Act’

You have to wonder how George Stephanopoulos is going to do it: Here’s a guy that by his own account gets up most days at around 2:30 in the morning to prepare himself not only for hosting duties on ”Good Morning America,” but also the possibility a “crisis” moment could happen that will require him to anchor an ABC News special report for hours.

Stephanopoulos already had a pretty rigorous schedule as co-anchor of “GMA,” and anchor each week of the Sunday-news program “This Week.” Now he will have to stand ready beyond early-morning hours and weekends, part of a strategy put into place by ABC News in June that makes him the “face” of the division when truly momentous events take place, whether they be a big election or a terrorist attack.

ALSO SEE: ‘Today’ vs. ‘Good Morning America’: Morning-News Race Heats Up

One way to keep on track: Never let a moment go to waste. In the below interview, Stephanopoulos used the spare time he had during a commercial break on “Good Morning America” to tackle a few questions about his new duties and how he views his early-bird responsibilities:

Variety: How might your new duties affect the tone show or your presence on the show?

Stephanopoulos: I actually don’t think it’s going to change at all… I just have to be tethered pretty close by in case something happens. I was already doing special events like the inaugurations and Election Day. I’ll just be doing it a lot…It really does depend on events. As events happen, we’re going to cover them.

Variety: What do you think the brand of “Good Morning America” is compared with“Today”? How are the shows different from each other and what makes each stand out?

Stephanopoulos: don’t want to talk about them. I just think that what we have found over the last few years is we have started to have this momentum. We have a team that just has gelled and come together in a way that I think makes for an enjoyable, fun kind of happy morning as people are getting their news and getting the day started.

Variety: Some of your colleagues have been very candid with viewers about what is happening in their lives. How important is that to the show?

Stephanopoulos: I think that is sort of driven by events. That’s part of what morning television is – bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens. The connection is personal….What I personally try to do to is not to force it, but if something comes up organically, you just talk about it as if you would to somebody across the kitchen table,

Variety: But should the chief anchor of ABC News be talking about morning problems or medical issues?

Stephanopoulos: We are all human beings. It’s what’s appropriate in the moment. What’s great about having a big team is that I don’t feel forced into uncomfortable situations that aren’t organic to who I am. I would be faking it. It’s one of the big rules that I have, and one of the most important rules about morning television is you can’t act. You just have to be.

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