Three years ago, ABC News changed its 1 p.m. program Good morning America Spin-off into an hour dedicated to reporting on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, GMA3: What you need to know.
The pandemic may have subsided, but what you need to know It’s still going well, and this week ABC found a new team to lead the hour in DeMarco Morgan, Eva Pilgrim, and others GMA3 Veteran (and ABC News chief correspondent) Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
The trio effectively succeeds TJ Holmes and Amy Robach, who officially left the network earlier this year.
“It sounds cliche, ‘What you need to know’, but when I sit down with the staff, that’s our motto. That’s our goal. That’s the focus. What does everyone really need to know? And it’s totally different every day,” says Cat McKenzie, the show’s executive producer.
“As we step into a new chapter, we will continue to give viewers everything we gave them, whether it’s Oscar news, writers’ strike news or Title 42,” adds McKenzie. “We will take the show to the streets as we prepare to elect a new president, or perhaps an old president, in this country. And really check out all the things that we know will interest afternoon viewers. Jens Medical News: We will continue to do some specials along these lines and really make use of the great talent that we have here alongside me.”
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to McKenzie at ABC News’ New York headquarters, along with Pilgrim, Morgan and Ashton, where they presented their version for the afternoon program, which combines hard news, health stories, “news you can use,” and other segments into a busy one hour every weekday afternoon.
“I consider it a pot of gumbo,” Morgan said, smiling. “Everyone loves the meat in gumbo, right? The meat is the news. But you’ll also get a bit of flavor. We had Broadway in the show, you get a lot of actors, music, you get personality.”
“You have to think about who the audience is, it’s women like me who are moms who are at home,” adds Pilgrim. “These are smart women with diverse interests. So you want to know what the headline is. They want a thoughtful conversation that gives them some information that differs from your average news show that gives you all the facts. They want to think about that.”
“So it’s up to us to ask thoughtful questions that help them talk,” adds Pilgrim. “But it’s also about bargains and thefts, about accessories, about cooking, about parenting issues, about the things that they also talk about with their friends.”
And that includes questions and concerns surrounding health, a big reason Ashton has been a mainstay for the past three years.
“I started on the show, really just in the role of a doctor, during the worst medical crisis the world has seen in 100 years, but as far as Eva is concerned, who our audience is, I feel a great responsibility and honor and a Privileged to be the “I am the network’s only senior medical correspondent who is a specialist in women’s health, who also holds dual certification in obesity medicine and has a degree in nutrition,” Ashton added. “And what I think the last three years has really shown us is that everyone, women and men, cares about their health, their well-being, their diet and their weight.”
And on TV, they also take care of the moderators. Ashton, Pilgrim and Morgan all acknowledged the unusual relationship viewers have with TV personalities, and McKenzie notes that the 1 p.m. time span means viewers are often more immersed in the show than they are early morning or later in the evening when they can take care of other things.
“You want people to come into your home who are real, real people,” says Morgan. “And I think that’s what you get with this show. You get a little bit of everything. Sometimes you might cry, you might yell at the TV because you’re upset about a problem.”
“I think audiences have a right to know certain things about us as real people because it’s a two-way street. You know, we come to their homes and we talk about very important issues that affect them,” Ashton says. “And while it’s now a one-way way of communicating that relationship, I don’t think it has to be one-way.”
Ashton has personal experience with this.
“I lost the father of my children to suicide in 2017. And that was a public story and headline because of my position here. And I couldn’t be on the airwaves for six weeks and I didn’t know if I could ever get back on the airwaves and do my job, and it was only thanks to my family here at ABC. “I’m capable of it,” Ashton recalls . “That’s when I learned how powerful this two-way relationship with our viewers is, because I’ve heard from thousands of viewers who have told me that you helped me by telling your story.”
It’s this ability to combine the serious, candid and helpful with the lightness that morning shows are known for that McKenzie hopes the new version will showcase GMA3 click.
“I think we were very fortunate that we had some crazy ideas and people kind of let us get involved,” she says, giving a recent example: “Wedding in a week” (the show had a show). -Proposed on Monday, and the couple got married on the air on Friday).
“And we’re also lucky that we’re a new show,” she adds. “I think if you’re watching world news or GMA extensionpeople know what to expect when they get these shows, they’ve been on the air for 20 years… but we’re kind of new, people give us the grace, if you will, to be different when we have to . ”