Good Morning America is looking to take the Today Show on even later in the morning.
ABC is looking at taking on a 3rd hour to their number 1 rated morning show.
“GMA,” which now airs weekdays from 7-9 a.m., wants to add an hour to compete more effectively with its morning NBC rival, a source tells the NY Daily News. “Today” goes for four hours, 7-11 a.m., the final hour being Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb’s wine-filled, peppy chatfest.
The Daily News says the permanent addition of “Live! With Kelly and Michael” co-host Michael Strahan to “GMA” is a minor move in the potentially seismic plan to reconfigure the network’s morning schedule.
While it could take a few years to line up, ABC is building a deeper bench of talent, such as Strahan, to deploy in a longer morning show.
“Clearly this is way out on the horizon and may not happen if the planets don’t align just right,” our network insider said. “But it’s a plan.”
A second source tells the Daily News, “They’ve always wanted a third hour. It’s just that the opportunity to actually pull it off may finally be on the way.”
To make this work, the syndicated “Live! With Kelly & Michael” would be pushed back an hour from its longtime 9 a.m. slot after “Rachael Ray” wraps up its 10th season in 2016, when her current syndication deal is up.
If Ray’s ratings stay strong, and she signs a new deal to stay on the air, her show could still be moved – into the time slot now occupied by “The View,” which will be heading into its 18th season this fall without creator Barbara Walters.
It remains to be seen whether co-host Lara Spencer — who is contracted for $2 million a year by ABC — will make it to the “GMA” expansion phase, if it happens down the line.
“ABC was considering Maria Menounos for a similar ‘GMA’ role,” our source said.
And while visiting New York last week, Menounos filled in for Kelly Ripa on “Live!” twice, as she was on vacation.
A rep for ABC tells us a “GMA” expansion is “complete fiction,” saying the 9 a.m. hour is a local time period, not a network one, which means that almost half of ABC’s stations have syndicated shows at that time with contracts that extend for several years.