GMA3 Finds a Steady Daytime Home on ABC

GMA3 goes from temporary COVID-info hour to popular daytime fixture

GMA3 goes from temporary COVID-info hour to popular daytime fixture

The natural camaraderie among the hosts goes a long way toward making GMA3: What You Need to Know work.

Though the early-afternoon third weekday hour of ABC’s iconic Good Morning America initially belonged to a lighter talk show featuring GMA‘s Michael Strahan, Sara Haines (who since has returned to The View) and Keke Palmer, the program transformed into Pandemic: What You Need to Know when the global health crisis took hold in March of 2020. GMA‘s Amy Robach teamed with ABC News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton to host the program, whose title was eventually changed from Pandemic to GMA3, with T.J. Holmes added to the anchor desk. Though COVID info remains top-of-mind (and typically top-of-show), the hour has expanded to cover a wider range of subjects, though the mix almost always maintains some relation to the ongoing health concern—circling back to Ashton multiple times during any given episode.

“I’ve been at ABC News almost 10 years now, so it’s truly my home,” she reflects, adding that she views her job “like I’m talking no differently than I would talk to one of my patients in my office. Sometimes, I forget there are 10 million people or more watching.” She adds that “having had my own practice for 15 years, I have total autonomy over my schedule,” enabling her to have a constant TV presence.

Robach also has appreciated a GMA3 schedule that let her go to Tokyo to cover the Summer Olympics and, last month, run the Berlin Marathon (along with her husband, former Melrose Place star Andrew Shue). She recalls, “I believe it was on a Friday that I got called in and asked, ‘Hey, on Wednesday, could you start doing this show that will be based solely on the pandemic? There’s news and information that people need to literally stay alive.’ And honestly, there wasn’t even a hesitation for me. I jumped right in, since that’s my job. That’s exactly why we’re journalists.”

The good-humoured Holmes joined Robach and Ashton on GMA3 in September 2020. “There’s a different kind of mood and attitude and approach” to doing television early in the day, he reasons. “Now, I get to combine some of the hard-news chops I had at CNN with a morning-show sensibility and ease and calm. There’s a different type of energy that you have in a morning show, and we apply that to the afternoons now. It’s just a perfect blend for me.”

Ashton says she wasn’t surprised when the pandemic-themed GMA3 hour went from temporary to permanent: “I have always known that the viewing audience cares very deeply about health and medical news, and I think this pandemic has really unroofed that.”

GMA3: What You Need to Know airs Mondays to Fridays at Noon on ABC