Lara Spencer, the “Good Morning America” anchor who recently negotiated a new contract with ABC to stay on the program, has been elevated to the role of co-host, and will, going forward, hold forth alongside current anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopolous.
The move comes as “GMA,” TV’s most-watched morning program, has been in the midst of change, with two members of the on-air staff that helped the show pass NBC’s “Today” in both total viewers as well as those between 25 and 54, the demo most coveted by advertisers, departed. The show, however has seen no ebb in its ratings dominance over “Today.”
“Lara is clearly an essential ingredient in the success we have enjoyed,” said James Goldston, the newly named head of ABC News, in a statement.
Spencer is also now a veteran presence on the program, which has two new faces after the departures of meteorologist Sam Champion and news anchor Josh Elliott. Champion left “GMA” in December for his own show at The Weather Channel, while Elliott bid adieu abruptly in late March by taking a job in late March when ABC declined to meet his terms for a new contract.
ABC recently enlisted Michael Strahan, the former football player who has added new momentum to the company’s syndicated morning series “Live with Kelly and Michael,” to take part in occasional “GMA” segments.
The on-air churn comes as NBC has placed new focus on “Today.” According to NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke, the Peacock has put an emphasis on going after viewers between the age of 18 and 49. Carson Daly, the veteran host best known for his time on MTV and his wee-hours program “Later” on NBC, now holds forth on “Today” in a way designed to appeal to users of social media.
The promotion is one of the first major moves by Goldston, who was named president of ABC News April 10, replacing Ben Sherwood, who is set to become head of all of Walt Disney’s broadcast and cable operations except its ESPN business.