By allowing viewers of ABC’s “Good Morning America” to witness many of her struggles – including a months-long grapple with the bone-marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome – Robin Roberts has become something much more than a morning-show anchor. Now she hopes to create programming that emulates some of the qualities she brings to the air.
Roberts will serve as president of Rock’n Robin Productions, an independent company that will create original broadcast and digital programming for ABC and other networks. The firm will create everything from informational shows to documentaries to lifestyle-themed reality series and live special events. Projects currently in production include a news-driven documentary, a digital series for espnW, ESPN’s women-in-sports-focused digital media outlet, a Thanksgiving-themed special for ABC and two reality pilots.
Roberts will continue co-anchoring “Good Morning America.”
The new company will aim to produce content that “will inspire, inform and entertain people,” Roberts said in a prepared statement. ”“I’m very excited to get involved in the business and development side of production, and will spend a lot of time working with the team on the creative,” she added.
Roberts isn’t the first big morning-TV personality to test this path. Al Roker, the veteran “Today” meteorologist, launched Al Roker Entertainment in 1994, and has gone on to produce shows for Food Network, Weather Channel, Lifetime and other outlets.
John Green, currently executive producer of special programming at ABC News, will serve as executive vice president of programming and development of the new Roberts venture, while continuing his duties at the Walt Disney-owned network. He will supervise the day-to-day operations of the company. “The programming we create will, in many ways, reflect who Robin is: smart, inspiring, and fun,” he said in a statement.
“In the Game with Robin Roberts” will premiere on espnW on Thursday, September 4 as Rock’n Roberts’ first production. In this first episode, Robin will speak with Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. Now in its third season, “In the Game” is a series of intimate interviews with top athletes in sports today and is featured online at espnW.com and abcnews.comn as well as on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
The production company has also launched web site rocknrobin.tv, which will feature behind-the-scenes footage and photos from all of Roberts’ various projects as well as a new blog, “N’Courage,” where Roberts and her staff will recognize individuals in America who motivate others despite extraordinary odds.