Amy Robach earlier this week was just about to catch a plane out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport that would take her to North Carolina to cover the landing of Hurricane Florence. She’ll have other bumps and whirls to deal with when she gets back home.
Robach is commencing her first full season as co-anchor on ABC’s “20/20,” having joined David Muir on the program last spring after Elizabeth Vargas departed. She says she’s eager to bring viewers stories and coverage that shakes them up. “I want to move people. I want to make people feel things and think things and see things they maybe hadn’t before,” she says in an interview. “I want to have an impact, bottom line, and I want the show to have an impact, and I hope we can do that.”
One of her more interesting recent assignments involved interviewing Tonya Harding, and realizing there was more to the former competitive figure skater than people might know from reading old headlines. “You think you know thew whole story”, says Robach, who spent four hours with Harding for the profile. “You think you have your opinion about this person, and then you sit down with them, spend the day with them and dig in deep.” She thinks viewers appreciate the in-depth presentation they can get from the ABC newsmagazine. Among her other notable interview subjects are Carrie Fisher, Malala Yousafzai, Ashley Judd, Gretchen Carlson, Hulk Hogan, former University of Virginia dean Nicole Eramo and Monica Lewinsky.
She has not worked at Charleston, South Carolina;’s WCBD, where she got her start, for some time, but Robach says she can still use the skills she honed there covering crime on “20/20,” which often presents looks at intriguing criminal cases.. But she’s also eager to burnish another strong point of emphasis at “20/20,” which is taking deeper probes into breaking news. ABC News aired two different “20/20” specials, for example, on the miraculous rescue earlier this year of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a network of caves in Thailand.
“We are definitely going to be focused on crime, but I say that with a caveat. I think what has always made ‘20/20’ special is our willingness to move when big stories break,” says Robach. “I’ve always had a breaking-news gene in me.”
Many viewers may know her from her time on ABC’s morning franchise, “Good Morning America,” and they can still find her there. “I’m probably there four or five days a week, even five, “ she says. One might think her schedule has changed, as ABC News places emphasis on her role with the Friday-night “20/20,” but Robach says she’s still working with regular early-morning appearances.
She hopes viewers will also find her on “20/20,” where the offer of longer-form journalism might help people gain a different view on events in the news. “I love being able to throw back the curtain and have people see things from a different perspective,” says Robach.