“After several productive conversations with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, about different options, we all agreed it’s best for everyone that they move on from ABC News,” the news division said in a statement released Friday evening. “We recognize their talent and commitment over the years and are thankful for their contributions.”
The pair was benched from their duties at the early-afternoon program in early December, though when word first leaked of their relationship, they were initially allowed to continue anchoring. ABC News President Kim Godwin opted to take them off the air to tamp down gossip and speculation, fearing that such stuff could tarnish the overall “Good Morning America” franchise. The flagship morning program generated nearly $281 million in advertising in 2021, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending.
“GMA3” has also been a bright spot. In 2021, the program generated nearly $43.4 million in advertising, a jump of 26.1% from the nearly $34.4 million it captured in the previous year.
Even though Robach and Holmes have been off the air, their romance has generated reams of unwanted attention — at least by ABC News and its corporate parent. Since the disclosure, the pair has been the focus of tabloid reports, with fodder provided by paparazzi pictures of them walking in New York or enjoying holidays. Before their relationship was made public, many believed each anchor was in a committed marriage to other people.
ABC News’ desire to remove them may come as a surprise to some observers. A romance between consenting adults — even those married to others — has not always been grounds for termination. 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, though the pair eventually married. ABC News may have to thread a needle, proving via legal means that the pair behaved unprofessionally at work.
The duo’s exit may bring new challenges to ABC News. Its bench of up-and-comers has been depleted in recent years, with Tom Llamas, seen as a potential successor for David Muir at “World News Tonight,” leaving for a new role at NBC News, and, more recently, Cecilia Vega, who has filled in for Robin Roberts on “GMA,” taking a new job at CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” Robach has enjoyed a years-long career at ABC News, joining in 2012 after a stint with NBC News and its “Today” show, with assignments not only at “GMA3,” but “20/20” and “GMA.”
“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.
And yet, the first concept never really gained traction. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, executives turned the program more toward news, tapping the veteran Robach 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. It is likely to evolve again.