Inside ABC News there have been some unforeseen repercussions from Katie Couric’s stint as guest-host of “Good Morning America.” As a pair of recent stories in TMZ and Gawker noted, and multiple sources at ABC News have backed up, some staffers on the program are unhappy with how the network has been handling the Couric stunt.
The issue is not with Couric herself (everyone we spoke to agreed that she has been nothing but gracious) but rather with how the network decided to go forward with the plan. The biggest gripe: choosing to have Couric host while Robin Roberts is on vacation.
The big question is whether ABC overtakes “Today” in the ratings this week. If it does (still a big “if”), and if “GMA” slips back down to second place when Roberts returns, it could be an embarrassing moment for the ABC anchor, who we are told had no say in the decision to have Couric fill-in for her.
A spokesperson for ABC News disputes the notion that the decision to add Couric was meant to undercut anything that the network has been doing with “GMA.”
“This whole thing is predicated on building the momentum that Robin, George and the rest of the team have already created,” ABC News spokesperson Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser. “Everybody adores Robin Roberts, and can’t wait to have her back in her chair on Monday.”
Roberts is extremely well-liked by both executives and staffers, and is credited by almost everyone at ABC for having helped turn “GMA” around. Ironically, NBC News executives are also said to be “big fans” of Roberts.
The concerns over ratings can also cut both ways. If “GMA” places second to ‘Today” and/or is in the same ratings ballpark as it usually is, then Roberts looks even better when she returns.