“I understand that the continuing coverage can be distracting from the incredibly important work our team does here at ABC News,” said Kim Godwin, ABC News’ president, in a memo. “Amy and T.J. will be off air pending the completion of an internal review.”
The missive appears to be the first public confirmation by ABC News executives that the co-anchors’ romantic relationship — first revealed by the Daily Mail — had led to a probe within Disney. Indeed, Godwin had told News employees during an editorial call last week that Robach and Holmes had not violated any company policy, but indicated ABC News felt the matter had become “an internal and external disruption,” and took them off the show out of concern for “what’s best for the organization.”
The duo has generated reams of unwanted attention since the revelation that they had been involved romantically for some time, even though most outsiders believed each anchor was still in a committed marriage. Since the disclosure, the pair has been the focus of tabloid reports, with viewers analyzing their every word on camera to see if either was making reference to the discovery of the relationship.
ABC News and its corporate parent, Walt Disney, have reason for concern. “GMA3,” an afternoon extension of the popular “Good Morning America,” has been a bright spot in daytime for the network. In 2021, the program generated nearly $43.4 million in advertising, according to ad-tracker Kantar, a jump of 26.1% from the nearly $34.4 million it captured in the previous year. In recent days, ABC News touted the ratings performance of “GMA3” and compared it with rivals such as CBS’ “The Talk’ and NBC News’ “NBC News Daily.”
“GMA3” was originally devised as a venue for light celebrity news and conversation, and was hosted by Michael Strahan and Sara Haines. The idea was simple: Expand the reach of “GMA,” which would cost less to do than run other kinds of original daytime programming, and build new roosts for advertisers who had faith in the dependability of the news brand. But the first concept never really gained traction, and when the coronavirus pandemic hit, executives turned the program more toward news, tapping Robach, a veteran of “Good Morning America” and “20/20,” along with medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Now, “GMA3” has evolved into an hour that mixes the latest headlines with segments focused on entertainment and inspiration.
Other networks have had to contend with on-air relationships that blossom into something more. At MSNBC, “Morning Joe” co-anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski kept a romance hidden for some time, but the pair eventually married.