As Fusion is Born, a Morning Party for Parents ABC and Univision

By Merrill Knox 

With just hours to go until the official launch of Fusion, ABC News and Univision put their partnership on display this morning, joining top-rated morning shows “Good Morning America” and “Despierta America” for an elaborate crossover event.

Producing two distinct shows, on two networks, in two languages, was “tricky,” as one ABC producer said in the understatement of the morning.

Miami-based Univision sent producers and talent to New York, while several members of the “GMA” team were in Miami. As we watched from the “Good Morning America” control room, producers from both programs scanned each show’s rundown for opportunities to simulcast. Updates were relayed in both English and Spanish to keep staffers in New York and Miami on the same page. On one of the dozens of control room screens, a Univision feed showed Lara Spencer and Sam Champion dancing wildly on the “Despierta America” set in Miami, leading senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski to joke that the pair may never return to New York.


“The show’s been on the air about 18 minutes and I think I’ve lost three pounds,” Champion joked during his first weather report.

On the “GMA” set, Univision’s Karla Martinez and Raul Gonzalez sat with Honey Berry, the “Despierta America” chihuahua named after actress Halle Berry, and, during commercial breaks, chatted with Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Josh Elliott. The five anchors were on the go throughout: juggling segments in the ground-floor studio, an outdoor cooking segment, and a performance from Enrique Iglesias upstairs.

This morning’s frenetic pace is just another day at the office for Martinez and Gonzalez.

“I was making fun of George. I saw he was so concentrated, reading and everything (during commercial breaks),” Martinez told TVNewser after the show. “I told him: you guys are so serious. In our studio … we’re so loud!”

“Even in our commercial breaks, we have music playing and we’re dancing,” Gonzalez added. “I think it’s part of the energy, part of the caffeine in our blood.”

Enter Fusion, which will blend the news and pop elements of ABC and Univision, with humor and satire geared toward millennials. Fusion bows tonight at 7pmET with the network’s signature news program “America with Jorge Ramos” featuring White House correspondent Jim Avila’s interview with President Obama. As Stephanopoulos described it on “GMA,” it is a network “on a mission to champion a smart, diverse, inclusive America.”

And it already has its very first fan: “I’m going to watch that every single morning,” Enrique Iglesias proclaimed.

More photos from “GMA” are below.

Photos: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC