‘Good Morning America’ Will Launch New Era With Michael Strahan, Live Audience (EXCLUSIVE)

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Courtesy of ABC News

Live, from New York – it’s “Good Morning America”?

ABC is set to launch a new era at its flagship morning program as it seeks to differentiate itself from rivals and grapples with viewership declines.  When Michael Strahan, the seemingly ubiquitous talk-show host and sports commentator, joins “GMA” full time on September 6th, the program will add a live audience to its last half hour and also potentially use some of its hosts in new ways.

“GMA” remains the nation’s most-watched morning program, but NBC’s “Today” now dominates the audience most coveted by advertisers and CBS’ “CBS This Morning” has notched ratings gains.  “This is the longest race in the world. There is no finish line in this race,” said Michael Corn, senior executive producer of “Good Morning America,” in an interview. The program brings in millions of dollars in advertising revenue to ABC, and fetched nearly $405.5 million for the network last year, according to Kantar Media. “We are always looking to make the show more informative, more interesting, more entertaining to our viewers,” said Corn.

Starting next Thursday during the last half hour of the program, “GMA” hosts will move to a new set that has been constructed on the second floor of the show’s Times Square studio, and interact with approximately 100 audience members. The format will allow “GMA” hosts like Lara Spencer, Strahan and others to interact with a crowd, and create a more energetic atmosphere, said Corn. “With an audience, it’s a lot looser in terms of how we can use our anchors.”

Imagine, he suggested, chef Emeril Lagasse cooking for 100 people instead of two or three hosts. The live crowd, he said, is designed to help “GMA” capitalize on the types of stories it typically presents as it moves away from a harder news focus in its 7 a.m. hour. “It’s a little more news you can use, a little more lifestyle, and those are the subjects that lend themselves to a live audience,” he said.

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Viewers may notice other possible tweaks to the program as Strahan, who has been a semi-regular member of the “GMA” team since 2014, joins the morning franchise full-time after a controversial departure from his duties co-hosting the syndicated program “Live” with Kelly Ripa.

Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Strahan are likely to open “GMA” most mornings. News anchor Amy Robach could appear more frequently in the show’s first hour, when a focus on news is more dominant, while co-anchor Lara Spencer could be featured during the program’s second half, where producers hope to build a rapport between her, Strahan and the new live audience. The whole on-air crew will appear across the program, said Corn, and the show will continue to test new ideas and new ways to deploy its anchors.

The moves suggest ABC is relying on “Good Morning America’s” populist roots to help it gain an edge over the hard-news branding touted by CBS’ morning program and the multiple hats worn by NBC’s “Today.” The ABC program was always meant to stretch beyond news updates, and since its launch in 1975 has placed a greater emphasis on topics like health, travel and entertainment. On the set, “GMA” can be a raucous affair: Music is piped in over speakers, even when the show is on the air, while dozens of crew members and guests ranging from Robin Roberts’ stylist to fans right off the street mill about behind the scenes. In contrast, “Today” and “CBS This Morning” sport more austere trappings.

After usurping NBC’s years-long dominance in the time slot in 2012, ABC has seen its lead erode. Season to date as of the week of August 16, the overall viewership for “Good Morning America” has fallen 9%, while viewers between 25 and 54 are off 13%, according to Nielsen. During Corn’s tenure, which commenced in 2014, the show has burnished efforts to show viewers things they can’t see elsewhere, like meteorologist Ginger Zee jumping out of a plane 13,000 feet over the ground, or a 24-hour live stream showing 100 different couples getting married around the globe. Strahan’s arrival and the addition of a live audience will augment that, Corn said.

There will be times when “GMA” will not use the live crowd. When the nation is focused on difficult news or serious stories, “GMA” will do what it normally does, presenting two hours of ABC News reports on the topic at hand, whether it be a terrorist attack or Presidential election, Corn said. Stephanopoulos, who also serves as ABC News’ chief anchor, would likely handle much of the on-air duties related to such stories, but Roberts and Strahan will have responsibilities as well that suit their strengths. On Mondays, during football season, Strahan is likely not to be on set, giving him time to travel back to New York from sports-broadcast duties he continues to perform for Fox Sports.

“GMA” has long had a live audience of sorts, but it usually consisted of people glancing at the broadcast through the ground-floor windows of its Times Square facility. Occasionally, passers-by and fans are invited in to watch the show on set. And “GMA” has occasionally held “town halls” that let audience members interview politicians, or contests or musical performances that depend on the energy of a live crowd to lend the show a visual boost.

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Viewers can continue to see “GMA” venture outside the confines of its Manhattan broadcast, said Corn. Robach and Zee will still travel to interesting places around the world and the show will still make us of the crowds outside its facility in New York City’s midtown. “The more live, the better,” he said.

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  1. Bob says:

    The sooner Lara leaves the better, tired of hearing about her hip replacement, I have had 2 hips and 2 knees replaced in the last year, no pain,no problems, please hide her legs.

    • Karen says:

      My opinion is Lara’s hip is a health education message. Whereas Micheal Strahan doesn’t know how to interview and when he does he turns everything around to his life. I no longer watch GMA M-F, only on the weekend. They need to get rid of Michael Strahan!!!

  2. Karen says:

    GMA, 6 months of Michal Strauss has caused me to stop watching M-F, love weekend edition. Please take Strahan off so I can enjoy GMA again. BTW, not the only one that feels this way!
    Missing George, Robin, Lara, Amy and Ginger!

  3. Sandra Clements says:

    Very sad that GMA was badgered into hiring the sports broadcaster to sit at the desk with professional news people. He moves his head as if watching tennis while the news goes on around him. Then, in his insightful way, he turns the camera over to the weather person. Just two-three sentences of major intelligence. Pitiful.

  4. Howard Little says:

    GMA has been ruined by putting Strahan on the show..He is worthless is being a co-host…What is wrong with you folks? I used to like the GMA, now with Strahan..he doesn’t line-up with the rest

    • Barbara Hendricks says:

      AMEN to the last person who said Strahan is a hindrance. I loved Strahan and prayed for a hug from Michael on Kelly show but now he thinks he is Mr. Big “S___” and its because of Robin who controls his every move, so please let Robin go and GMA will look much better, and let Lora go because she is such a put=on and a loser for morning time. She should go back where she came from. I cannot look at GMA any longer as long as Robin and Lora are there.

      • Damaris jonas says:

        Yea I wish amy can replace robin Robert she just fake and diva trust me I seen her in person michael strahan he lose case they need to take gma audience off go back to the old days the the it trash now they want this show be like the view

  5. Norma Hawk says:

    We have given Strahan a chance but do not care for him at all. He doesn’t have an enjoyable on air appearance, his personality is not in line with the others on the show. Please put Amy & Lara back where they were, it was a terrific combination. This was my husband’s favorite show but he hates watching the first hour now (he is a disabled vet).

  6. Lynne says:

    I have switched to CBS, don’t like Michael on this show, he’s hard to understand.

  7. Margo Lum says:

    The day the Today show viciously kicked Ann Curry off the show is the day I began to watch GMA regularly. I enjoyed the team of Amy, Robin, George & Lara. When you brought Michael in, a non-professional news anchor, and kicked Amy and Lara off the main desk, is when I made CBS News my main morning show. The reason for watching GMA was Amy Robach – professional, funny, witty, nice to look at, always nails it with her commentary. Now I DVR GMA, scroll through to see Amy, and if she’s not on, “delete”. (is it true Robin didn’t like Amy, as competition?) (is Robin the reason Michael is there?) Too bad. CBS News with Nora, Gail & Charles have serious discussions and commentary AND camaraderie. I used to DVR GMA and CBS, and watch both. But now I really only watch CBS unless Amy is on.

  8. phyllis dickson says:

    GMA has become so blatantly liberal and unfair and unbalanced, i now dont watch it anymore!! george has no business even commenting after we know how close he has been to the clinton’s. this show used to be top notch, but has become so politically biased, its disgusting.

    • Kimberly Sherwood says:

      I think what you did to Amy,Ginger and Lara is wrong when Strahan just started the show. They are not even mentioned in the beginning, shame on you people. Amy doesn’t even get to sit in the chair on the right of Robin. Plus you have it black on the right and white on the left when we are trying to still be all together.

  9. Joan Mayer says:

    Miss Amy and Lara!! Michael Strahan uncomfortable as news anchor and it shows. He is hesitant when speaking lines – Amy always spot on and clear speaking projected professionalism as a news anchor that I do not see in Michael. He is not ‘the icing on the cake”. In the place that ABC put him, will just turn off loyal fans of the show and they will change the channel…..as I will do. Sorry….bad moves on your part ABC.

  10. Carol Bell says:

    Hate michael strahan and do not like that Amy has been pushed off! Love Amy, hate Michael! Lara is a delight!

  11. Marilyn says:

    I’ve started my day with GMA for years but not anymore. They have ruined it with bringing on Stahan and changing the format. It’s time to turn the channel and switch to the Today show. I’m interested in knowing about what is going on in the world not empty content especially with Strahan delivering it. He can’t even talk clearly. How does someone get a job like this! ABC you really blew this one.

  12. Marjorie Oberle says:

    I am so disappointed that they have put Michael Strahan out front with Robin and George and that we hardly see Amy Robach, she is the reason I watch Good Morning America and now we hardly see her on air, get her back in the viewing or I will be forced to watch another morning show and I think I am not alone in my thinking.

  13. Helen says:

    I’ve been a GMA watcher my whole life, but yesterday I switched to Today during the second hour. The new live audience format is simply painful to watch. And while I actually loved Michael on Live with Kelly, he is not a good fit on GMA. AND, I agree with the other commenters — Amy Robach is so good. Hate that they’ve diminished her role.

  14. Andrea Byrnes says:

    Don’t care for Michael in this role. Would like to see more of Amy Robach again. Where is the weather with Ginger?? The second half of the show is annoying. What was ABC thinking? This surely won’t improve ratings. Watched this show every day; now I don’t care if I miss it. I even change the channel to the Today show! Please fix this mess.

  15. Kathy says:

    Michael has ruined that show. He doesn’t speak clearly and looks so very uncomfortable in that chair. They lost a viewer.

  16. Mac says:

    He is terrible! No one looks comfortable. Robin does not look happy. Flow of the show is awful. I don’t watch anymore its so boring now.

  17. Suzan says:

    Agree. Why is Michael there? Everyone looks so uncomfortable and awkward on the set now and nothing flows. I have been a longtime loyal viewer, but after 3 days of this I am now watching CBS in the morning, GMA you blew it this time.

    • Jacque says:

      I agree..everyone looks uncomfortable…there’s no flow..whatsoever..( and I like all of them..it also comes across that there trying to overplay things that they say )..( need to do something fast or will lose a lot of viewers ( & bring Amy Robach back to being present more ).

  18. Herb says:

    Just why is Michael on gma? What does he have that he would get this job? He should stay in the sports shows.

    • Judy Ridley says:

      M Michael might shine over Kelly but does not shine on good morning America where is our Laura Spencer she added a great deal

  19. KSM says:

    When we went to the show, Lara was extremely unfriendly. Robin, Ginger & Amy were great. So not sure why they think putting Lara with a live audience is a good idea. Even police officers & people who attend the show regularly told us not to expect any interaction with Lara, but everyone had wonderful things to say about Robin! And Ginger was great with the children in attendance!

  20. Dolores Garza says:

    I think it is a mistake to give Michael this much power. He is arrogant
    , an opportunist and you had better look out for your own jobs! To take away from the people that have been with GMA so long what they had just to make room for Michael is wrong, they deserve it more then he does.

  21. deb says:

    The show is getting to Hollywood. Too much about celebrities! who cares about half of what they put on. And the weekend part with Sarah…. please remove her permanently. She acts like a teenager on red bull. Lara Spencer isn’t much different, although I do like her on HGTV flea market flip. That show is more for her.

  22. kim says:

    Would like to know where is Robin Roberts?? Can’t be having that much vacation time get rid of her Amy robach is so much better

  23. Cathy says:

    Don’t care, don’t like Michael Strahan, won’t watch.

  24. Mary O'Dwyer says:

    I have watched GMA for many years., What irritates me is at times everyone talks at once.
    It makes me think every one wants to be front and center., Calm down. You know just don’t.
    get rid of George., I have to make up my mind about Michael., but I still will watch the show
    while drinking my coffee, between 7 and 8. MOD

  25. Fan24PA says:

    This kind of takes them full circle, in reverse. The old setup had the main show on the second floor (when the backdrop of Times Square from above street level made sense, not the bizarre thing they have going on now on the ground floor), with the first floor welcoming an audience inside most days for the later segments (admittedly, standing, not seated). In effect, it’s nothing terribly new.

  26. Darlene Breuer says:

    We’ve watched good morning for many years. That will end on Sept 6. Do not enjoy watching anything with Michael Strahn in it.

  27. Gregory Asbell says:

    Good luck Michael !!!! I think your great. You bring a lot to the mix… Don’t mind poor Robert.

  28. Vicki says:

    This will end my GMA viewing. The show has gone so downhill in the past several years. It is no longer a news show…pop news, etc is a joke. Nothing news worthy anymore. Michael Strahan will just add to that joke… bye bye

    • Robert Altishin says:

      Sounds like GMA is coming to a close…can’t watch anything with Strahan in it. I have been watching the Today channel and love it.

  29. Robert Webb says:

    This will end my viewing of GMA. I cannot abide Michael Strahan. He brings nothing to this mix, and he hasn’t since he started showing up to promote himself on the show in 2014. How many anchors does one show need? I watched the show for the content, not this parade of self-absorbed “talent.” George and Ginger are the only people on GMA now who don’t come across as entirely unlikeable.

  30. Clara Azar says:

    I like GMA. I like to start my morning out in an upbeat way. I save the evenings for all the dire news.
    I like the light comedy touch of Sarah Haines and the more professional side of the show with Robin and George. I watch this show while getting ready for work. Today show and the CBS news are too serious for my mornings.

  31. malena says:

    why doesn’t he fix his teeth…money problems.. who ever made him believe he is still a child…or it’s “cute” were over stated, poor guy, super under stetic… hopefully he can hear about acrylic teeth fixing..

  32. Judy says:

    Yeah cbs morning hands down. Michael is not a news person. He has a speech impediment. Everyone talks at the same time it is just silly chatter. Reminds me of the view with everyone chattering at once. I liked the show when it was Robin and Diane. It was news stuff, not silly crap constantly. Again what can Michael bring? It is not his type of show. I will not watch when he starts. Don’t watch hardly ever now and that little amount is coming to an end when Michael shows up.

  33. kerrie says:

    I don’t like Lara or Ginger, and it’s also time for Robin to go. I think Amy and George should be top anchors, and that the show needs to get serious. That is why I went back to the Today show.

  34. Jo says:

    Not sure I will like more Michael. Would prefer more Robin and Laura. How about not some vacation time for Robin, Hope Laura recovers quickly from her hip surgery.

  35. Hilgart says:

    I have stopped watching GMA couple of months ago. GMA’s constant interviews with Trump, and the inability of GMA to ask tough questions of Trump was the end. It seemed to lose it’s neutrality in reporting the political campaigns. I wanted the news and not the “fluff” of Lara or Ginger’s latest “thrill”. Sam Champion was the ultimate weather person.

  36. sarah m says:

    I find all the frenetic stuff on gma and today hurts my ears and my eyes and wastes my time. On the other hand, cbs this morning has actual news and segments that last longer than a minute-fifty and interesting guests, no musical guests (ok, they do on weekends but that is an easier style show) and much less hype. I’d rather spend seven minutes on cbs with tom hanks than spend less time than a commercial with him on the other two.

  37. Clara Jones says:

    GMA is news 2 hour program not a fun show. We watch GMA to hear the latest news and weather report. Michael will bring nothing to your show and you not be #1. We watch for the news. He turns
    me off. I can understand you wanting to change. THINK AGAIN. You were #1 when you had Josh and
    Steve (the male weather man) THEY MADE YOU #1. REMEMBER………………….I have been watching
    your show about 20 years now, however when Michael comes on with the DUD big smile I go to TODAY
    show.

  38. John Bussom says:

    johcar8471

  39. 949Marty says:

    I’m over Michael Strahan. He’s not comfortable interviewing anyone and he is way too into himself. He doesn’t seem to have much of a personal life either….boring. Adding him full time to the GMA cast will be a bust. I use to love George, but he’s become a piece of the furniture and Robin Roberts is just dated. Again, I followed her health journey and appreciated her letting us in on all that, but she’s just not interesting anymore. Throw her over to the shark tank at The View. Isn’t that where old hosts go to retire. Hate to be so negative, but Amy and Laura are the ones I enjoy the most. Amy can handle politics and celebrities and Lara can handle the home, make-up, girl stuff. GMA needs to go find some interesting younger men from there bizillions of field reporters.

    • P lashmit says:

      Amy is the very best out of all the hosts in the morning. ABC better treat her right or some other station will snag her.

      • Damaris barreto says:

        You right amy is the best out all of them not only that she the sweetest and real not fake micheal strahan is worst

  40. Bunni McLaughlin says:

    Lara Spencer just had hip replacement surgery, so she will be gone for a while, I would think. Also, in the revamp, in the middle of September, I think she is leaving the show. What I have been hearing out of that area.

  41. Marilyn says:

    I haven’t watched any morning shows in years. They are all alike. GMA gets sillier and sillier. All of them are in the tank for the liberals. GMA would do well to get rid of Lara Spencer. She is a pain in the neck. She flounces around like a 16 year high school girl. Get real and maybe you will gain back those of us you have lost.

  42. Transparent says:

    Is anyone fooled? They’re trying to turn the last half hour into “Kelly & Michael Live,” with cooking demos and a small live audience. If it works, they’ll expand it. Too bad Michael and Lara have no chemistry. He’s really brought nothing to the show so far. GMA has made a bad investment, but it isn’t the first time.

    GMA and Today both have segments designed for viewers with the attention span of a gnat. CBS Morning is looking better and better.

  43. nycityny says:

    Further dumbing down of the news…

    • Hazel McKnight says:

      I have been watching GMA for many years and it just to be too fluffy. I’ve been watching CBS this morning and I really like the tempo of the show. Good news and a gentle amount of fun, not over the top as GMA. CBS this morning was really good this morning

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