ABC News president Kim Godwin has taken heat for the way the network handled the jettisoning of GMA3 co-hosts/Good Morning America primary fill-ins T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach following revelations of their extramarital affair, which became tabloid fodder and cast the news division in a negative light.
Godwin broke her silence about the matter, speaking to Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein in a lengthy story where amongst other things, she addressed the fallout from Holmes and Robach’s dismissal.
“It’s very easy to Monday-morning quarterback and second-guess when you don’t know what you don’t know, and frankly you’ll never know because we’re not going to litigate it publicly,” said Godwin. “We ended up where we needed to be, and I’m very comfortable with that decision.”
Godwin, who took over the reins at ABC News in 2021 after moving over from CBS News, became the first Black woman to lead a broadcast network news division, a position she acknowledges in the article brought on a lot of weight.
“Trailblazing is hard,” she said.
ABC News currently has the No. 1 evening newscast and the most-watched morning show. Yet despite being the most-watched news outlet, Godwin’s tenure as the head of ABC News has also seen staff leaking to various media outlets concerning her leadership.
These leaks prompted an investigation led by Disney global security and something Godwin says she had no involvement in orchestrating.
She recently received a vote of confidence from Disney head Bob Iger but also had to fight a potential reporting structure change. In an internal executive realignment, Godwin was to report to Debra OConnell, president of Disney networks and TV business, creating a layer between her and Dana Walden, co-chairman of Disney Entertainment and to whom she currently reports to.
Godwin noted she has the support of her two superiors and that the status quo remains with her reporting directly to Walden.
Concerning the upcoming layoffs ordered by Disney, Godwin said that she shares the same anxiety as her staff and has instructed them, in the meantime, to “hold on.”
Godwin also indicated that she will not wait until the summer to name the primary fill-ins for Good Morning America (which until their exits had been GMA3 co-hosts Robach and Holmes).
“Yes, Amy and T.J. were coming up behind Good Morning hosts. But now we have time to figure out and decide who’s next. And I think, ‘Why are we rushing?” said Godwin, who proceeded to list a handful of internal candidates “vying for a position.” “I look at this as a time of great opportunity, really, to look at the rest of the great talent that we have,” she said, while adding, “I don’t want it to be summer and we haven’t named anybody.”
Godwin also remarked that she isn’t too concerned with GMA’s ratings. It’s still No. 1 in total viewers but is second behind NBC’s Today in the advertiser-coveted demographic of Adults 25-54.
Finally, Godwin says her role at ABC News is to “clear the runway so people can do their best work” and that she would like her team to break more news. She is also challenging them to “push ourselves a little more,” adding that is very much possible especially coming out of the pandemic.