The anchor, who is battling myelodysplastic syndrome, is taking her hiatus just as her show has been trouncing NBC’s Today Show in the ratings for four straight weeks. The Good Morning America triumph comes after Today won the ratings war for 17 years.
“It’s fascinating-slash-scary how to prepare yourself for something like this,” Roberts, 51, told reporters gathered for the Television Critics Association conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., via satellite from ABC’s studios in New York, according to New York’s Daily News. “The [ratings] run that we’ve had has truly energized me. It’s pretty good medicine—I gotta say.”
The ratings run Roberts speaks of has been a thorough beat-kicking that Good Morning America has enjoyed, beating Today by 357,000 viewers last week.
“GMA” drew an average of 4.57 million viewers, compared with 4.21 million for “Today,” according to preliminary Nielsen figures released Monday.
ABC said this was the show’s largest lead over “Today” in more than 17 years years, and among the 25-to-54 year-olds, “GMA” was just 2,000 viewers behind “Today”—the narrowest margin in that demo in nearly 17 years.
Industry observers are wondering if the recent wins by Good Morning America signal a longterm disinterest by viewers in Savannah Guthrie, the new co-anchor of Today, or if it were some kind of short-term protest vote to express displeasure over the demotion of Ann Curry.
According to the Daily News, names that have been floated as possible temporary replacements for Roberts include Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Kelly Ripa and the cast of The View.