10 Scandalous Secrets About Good Morning America That The Hosts Would Rather You Didn’t Know

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On the air for over 40 years, Good Morning America has a special place in many TV fans’ hearts. Originally created by ABC in 1975 as a rival to Today, NBC’s early show, GMA quickly became a ratings killer. On-screen, the show boasts such friendly faces as Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan, but behind the smiles lie a few secrets that its producers would prefer remain under wraps. Indeed, from anchor infighting to crazed fans, these scandalous facts will make you look at the show in a different light.

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10. Michael Strahan’s casting sparked a feud between the show and Kelly Ripa

Before becoming part of the Good Morning America family, Michael Strahan fronted Live! With Kelly and Michael alongside Kelly Ripa. But – according to some sources – his break from the program was far from amicable. Apparently, co-host Ripa was so incensed by Strahan leaving the show in 2016 that she took a brief leave of absence after hearing the news.

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Following the anchor’s return to Live!, Ripa made her grievances publicly known. On air, the presenter revealed that Strahan’s departure “started a greater conversation about communication, consideration, and most importantly, respect in the workplace.” Since then, she has taken shots at her former co-star’s love-life and even reportedly convinced her new colleague, Ryan Seacrest, to cancel a 2017 GMA appearance.

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9. Michael Strahan isn’t popular with his cast mates

While Strahan may have made an enemy in Ripa, however, the former NFL-player made even fewer friends on Good Morning America. Due to a contract that allows the host to work on ABC’s $100,000 Pyramid and Fox NFL Sunday, as well as GMA, Strahan seems to have been given a lot more leeway with appearances than his co-workers. And this has supposedly led to friction behind the scenes.

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“They roll out the carpet for [Strahan] while seasoned talent is treated like dirt,” a source alleged to the website Page Six in 2017 regarding the presenter’s reported preferential treatment. Moreover, it has been claimed that co-anchors Lara Spencer and George Stephanopoulos have felt marginalized by the former-athlete’s presence on the show.

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8. The show ran into censorship problems early on

When Good Morning America was established in 1975, producers aimed to secure a then-neglected audience of women and young people. So instead of airing current affairs-based pieces, the show tackled topics a little closer to home. Peculiarly, however, this tactic came into question from some especially stuffy network censors.

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In particular, ABC’s Standards and Practices department disagreed with an early segment about the common practice of breastfeeding. Not because the prudish editors objected to the act itself, but because they considered the word “breast” too risqué. “They relented when I suggested a whole range of saltier substitutes,” the show’s producer, George Merlis, told CNN in 2013.

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7. Producers tried to get Kevin Newman to act “more masculine”

Of course, we all know that attitudes were different 20 years ago. Yet it’s still shocking to hear that Kevin Newman – who anchored GMA between 1998 and 1999 – was once told to act less effeminate by division head David Westin. “You’ve got to be more like a quarterback. Tougher, stronger, more masculine,” the journalist recalled in his 2015 memoir, All Out.

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Moreover, Newman – in the book he co-authored with son Alex – revealed that certain producers suggested that the presenter dye his eyelashes so that his eyes would “pop” on screen. In order to boost ratings, a speech coach was even used to remove the anchor’s Canadian dialect. “I was… told that my accent and word choices were suboptimal,” the ex-anchor wrote.

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6. Robin Roberts got in trouble for endorsing her own state

In 2016, GMA anchor and Mississippi native Robin Roberts appeared on the cover of the Magnolia State’s official tour guide. While this wouldn’t normally have been a problem, ultimately, her endorsement coincided with the state’s approval of the controversial anti-LGBT law Bill 1523. And this naturally landed the out-and-proud host in hot water.

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As a result, the presenter was criticized by The Advocate magazine for promoting a place that allowed people to refuse service to members of the LGBT community. However, Roberts countered in a statement that her contribution was made a year before the bill came into place. “It hurts my soul to think of anyone not feeling welcome [in Mississippi],” she said.

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5. Omarosa Manigault felt the ire of Robin Roberts

Most TV hosts often only have good things to say about their guests. But Robin Roberts had few pleasantries to give when former-White House staffer Omarosa Manigault came on the show in 2017. Following her resignation from President Trump’s government, Manigault gave an interview with Michael Strahan. And this was too much for Roberts to bear.

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After the segment aired, the GMA anchor pulled no punches with the former Apprentice contestant. “She said that she has a story to sell and I’m sure she’ll be selling that story,” the host commented before sardonically quoting the movie Friday by saying, “Bye, Felicia!” In response, Manigault called Roberts “petty” and told Inside Edition, “It’s a black woman civil war.”

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4. Josh Elliott left the show after being slighted by producers

Following a near three-year tenure with Good Morning America, Josh Elliott jumped ship from ABC to NBC in 2014. With an annual salary of $3 million, the rival network gave the presenter an offer he just couldn’t refuse. Yet it paled in comparison to the counter offer ABC heads reportedly gave him to stay.

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As claimed by TMZ in 2014, Elliott passed on a $5 million per year offer to remain with GMA. So why did the journalist turn down a higher sum? Supposedly, the star was incensed that co-host Robin Roberts had inked a $14 million a year deal. And the snub apparently made him look for work elsewhere.

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3. Ginger Zee struggled with depression

On-screen, weather reporter Ginger Zee is the picture of happiness. But throughout her career, the meteorologist has struggled to contain her inner turmoil. At the age of 21, Zee made a failed suicide attempt which led to her being diagnosed with depression. “I just shut down,” she told People magazine in 2017. “It wasn’t worth living.”

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Although Zee levelled for a while, the presenter hit a particularly rough spot after being recruited to GMA in 2011. As detailed in the presenter’s 2017 memoir, Natural Disaster, the pressure of the new role caused Zee to check into a psychiatric hospital. Thankfully, the star recovered shortly after and is, she says, still in contact with the program’s therapist.

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2. Robin Roberts had a stalker

Of course, many celebrities have been privy to the darker side of showbiz obsession. And Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts is no different. In 2014, studio security repeatedly turned away a man demanding to meet his favorite host. But when his requests were rebutted, the stalker turned to threats of violence.

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After being turned away for the eighth and final time, the individual reportedly threatened to punch Roberts in the face – a move that led to his arrest. Sadly, Roberts isn’t the only GMA star to suffer such negative attention. In fact, Michael Strahan received death threats from a fan just one month prior to that incident.

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1. George Stephanopoulos failed to disclose a major conflict of interest

As Good Morning America’s top political correspondent, George Stephanopoulos is expected to remain impartial. However, the journalist made a major error of judgment when he failed to disclose a series of sizeable donations to the Democrat-founded Clinton Foundation between 2012 and 2014. And this blunder would have a severe effect on the star’s career.

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When news of the contributions – which totaled $75,000 – broke in 2015, the anchor was quick to apologize. “I should have made disclosures on air when we covered the foundation,” he admitted on the show. Yet Stephanopoulos still lost a lot of credibility which led him to step down from moderating the Republican Presidential primary debate the following year.

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