The past few years have seen a real upheaval in the staffing and culture of morning chatfests. Variety profiled some of the most prominent hosts about how shows have changed since Matt Lauer's exit and Donald Trump arrived on the world stage.
Variety observed of the shows' evolutions:
In sunrise visits to six of the nation’s most-watched a.m. programs, Variety found anchors taking on more roles as their networks extend into digital video and social media; producers working to beat their rivals in the traditional ratings, all the while hoping their networks monetize experimental ways of reaching viewers; and news personnel trying to figure out how to balance an increasing amount of hard news with the lighter tone that has been a hallmark of the time slot.
Michael Corn, Good Morning America's senior executive broadcast producer, chimed in:
Our world as media consumers is evolving at an incredible pace. If you’re running a show like this, you have to learn to evolve just as fast.
As The Today Show has gone into free-fall, with ratings woes and Lauer's firing amid sexual harassment and rape allegations, its team is struggling to keep it above water. Anchor Savannah Guthrie noted:
All the shows have their ups and downs, and I think the ‘Today’ show gets a lot of scrutiny. I hope that’s because people think this show still matters.
Robin Roberts is also rolling with the punches, saying that “we are taking our cues from the public. We are taking our cues from how we live our lives now.”