May 20, 2024

Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Michael Strahan will soon have to greet ABC’s morning viewers from a decidedly different locale.

As part of a larger move by Walt Disney Co., all of the company’s New York properties are slated to move in 2025 to a building in downtown New York in a neighborhood known as Hudson Square. That will include some programs already ensconced in well known studios, such as “GMA” and “Live with Kelly and Mark.” The move won’t isn’t scheduled to take place for some time, but staffers are already coming to grips with how it might affect the program’s standing in TV’s non-stop morning-news wars.

“‘Good Morning America’ is defined by the strength of our team in front of and behind the camera, quality of our reporting, and the long, trusted relationship with our viewers,” ABC News said in a statement. “Moving all ABC News teams to our new state-of-the-art building was a strategic decision that will allow for more collaboration and innovation.” The New York Post previously reported on “GMA’s” looming cross-town transfer.

For some staffers, the move might spur optimism. After all, Disney CEO Bob Iger has implied the company is interested in selling ABC. But plans to move “GMA” to Disney’s new environs might suggest the company wants to keep the show or even ABC News as a whole, even if the linear infrastructure of the network is taken over by a different entity.

Times Square has helped boost “GMA” in its long-fought battle with NBC’s “Today” for A.M. viewers. “Today” regularly sends its anchors out to talk to passers-by at NBC’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. “GMA” took on some of that spirit when it took up residence in Times Square in a studio that allowed some city-dwellers to look through giant street-level windows. For a time, “GMA” even welcomed a live audience into the studio during the second hour of the show, with those who lingered allowed to chat briefly with Roberts and Ginger Zee. In 2021, “CBS Mornings” took up residence in a studio across the street — meaning that when “GMA” exits, the third-place broadcast morning show could gain a new midtown profile.

“Good Morning America” has trumped “Today” in overall viewers for several years, with the NBC program maintaining a lead in the critical audience demographic of people between the age of 25 and 54. Under executive producer Simone Swink, however, “GMA” has made new inroads into the demo, which is the most desired audience by advertisers in news programming.

Just because Disney is moving downtown doesn’t mean that “GMA” will abandon the rest of New York City. A person familiar with the show says producers will continue to send hosts out to various parts of the Big Apple as well as other cities around the U.S.

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