Katie’s filling in for Robin Roberts all week on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” while “Today” — the show that made her a household name — scrambles to find big announcements and “gets,” in hopes of keeping her from ending its more than 16-year run as the weekly ratings winner in the morning infotainment show genre.
“I had so much fun yesterday, I decided to come back,” Katie says to co-anchor George Stephanopoulos at the top of the show Tuesday, flashing her million-dollar morning-TV grin.
Right around the same time, over at “Today,” Matt Lauer is announcing their big “get” — Ryan Seacrest making a “big NBC announcement,” is a total bust. Seacrest had tweeted that a pain from elbow surgery kept him from flying to New York and he’d have to make the announcement on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, “Today” guest host Sarah Palin turns out to be not so much guest anchor, as extra interviewee, joining Lauer and Ann Curry as they anchor segment after segment, while dodging Matt twice when he triesS to engage her in conversation about her having joined the lamestream media for the day.
Katie — the field’s all yours!
Katie, in a sophisticated little black dress and gold necklace, seems much more relaxed, less over-caffeinated, more in charge than yesterday, when she was, as she described herself, rusty and nervous.
Katie has been put more in charge of the broadcast today, introducing more segments – she even interviews George after a taped bit on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in which his wife’s comments about her husband and his being “stiff” were use, and subsequently taken out of context and snickered at by comics and critics. “I bet Ann Romney is doing a real Homer Simpson this morning – ‘Doh!’,” she says.
George isn’t so sure, reminding her that anything that “humanizes” Romney to the American public is a good thing for his campaign.
Katie also gets to interviews Oakland police chief Howard Jordan about the shooting rampage at a Christian college there that left seven dead.
But it’s not all Serious Katie today.
“Did you watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’ last night? George faux wonders before a commercial break.
“Oh yeah!” Katie responds. “Waterworks – a lot of crying!”
Earlier, George had joked that Katie has insisted “Dancing” celebrity William Levy be brought on “GMA” Wednesday morning, as Katie fanned herself.
She also teases an upcoming segment in which, she tells George, “the gang – minus you, George I’m sorry to say – welcomed me to the neighborhood with a little tour of all their favorite spots and we got into a little bit of trouble along the way. We’re looking forward to showing you all the fun things we did.”
We’d already seen – because it was leaked to Web sites Monday – a shot of Katie snuggling up to a Madame Tussauds wax figures of “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer. We see video of that, and Wax Al Roker too.
More Poised Katie is even less enthused about Tuesday’s Goofy Video Segment – aka Play of the Day – than of yesterday’s, which had featured a little girl trying in vain to blow out a big candle, a St. Bernard that can balance things on its nose, and a walrus that does sit-ups.
Today’s video, an overweight cat is caught on video as it gets stuck in its kitty door, draws sharp criticism from Katie.
“Meanwhile, the owner is just taking this video?” she chastises as the cat struggles.
“Wow,” Katie says when the cat finally pulls itself to safety. “That’s the Play of the Day?”
The “GMA” sofa gang cringes.
Time for Katie to referee another verbal brawl between “GMA” legal analyst Dan Abrams and HLN’s Nancy Grace – this time over the Bengals cheerleader who’s accused of having sex with a student/minor when she was teacher. She had quit her teaching job after reports got out she allegedly was having sex with Bengals team members, which apparently is against Bengals cheerleader policy.
“This story is pretty unseemly,” Katie says by way of kicking things off.
“I prefer not to think of it as ‘unseemly’ but as an alleged FELONY, a SEX CRIME on a CHILD!” shrieks Nancy, who thinks the 10 years max the former teacher is facing is way too little – a Nancy Grace trademark. “If sex is shown, which is in effect child RAPE…she’s got a lot more to worry about than alleged affairs with Bengals players!”
The alleged victim and his mother have said they do not want this case to move forward. Dan says to Nancy, “As a victims’ right advocate you should also care how the victim feels.”
“Number 1, Dan Abrams, I am a crime victim – a tangential victim of murder – so don’t you, sitting up there on Park Avenue, tell me, a crime victim, about what a victim’s advocate should or should not do!” Nancy hisses and spits.
“I thought you positioned yourself as a victim advocate,” Dan says.
“As I was SAYING, what victims typically want is JUSTICE. And, as you know with your law degree, Lady Justice is blind! She seeks JUSTICE!” Nancy wails. “I don’t know why the alleged victim’s family does not want a prosecution. It could be a number of things, including not wanting to be embarrassed.”
“It’s out there,” Dan notes, of the victim’s identity, at least in the school.
“One day this child will be glad someone stood up for him. If this was a male predator we wouldn’t even be having this converation!” Nancy shouts.
“Yes, we would,” Dan says, though he was mostly drowned out.
“You’re just all hung up that she’s a hot Bengals cheerleader – so get PASSED that, Dan Abrams!”
“Do you think society does have a double standard,” Katie says, addressing Dan.
“Sure. Absolutely. No question. My concern is we don’t go overboard.”
“OVERBOARD??!!!!!” blares Nancy, on the verge of stage tears.
“A teacher allegedly slept with a minor and you don’t want to “deal with it”?!!” she adds, making air-quote marks with her fingers.
“I got my name in that segment a lot – which is great,” Abrams tells Katie when the dust settled.
“Dan Abrams. Dan Abrams. Thank you,” Katie jokes.
Whiplashing seque to “Dancing with the Stars” later, Katie admits she’s still shaken up by that brawl and that she wishes she had not forgotten the whistle she brought on Monday for purposes of refereeing the two.
Someone brought Katie a latte. The rest of the “GMA” gang note no one has ever brought them a latte.
“I’m raising the standard,” Katie says with a sly smile.
There will be a breakfast sandwich competition later in the morning; Katie presents George with an april festooned with a naked ripped guy torso.
“You can bet I’m going to keep this on,” George laughs uncomfortably.
Time for Taped Katie to be taken in a tour of Times Square.
Quickly they work their way to Madam Tussauds and the wax figures of “Today” talent Matt Lauer and Al Roker.
“Hey Matt! Hay Al – what’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?” Katie says.
As tourists take video, Katie poses with Wax Matt and Wax Al and shouts, “Good Morning America!”
Levity aside, it’s time for Live Katie to interview Camille Grammer about leaving “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” after two seasons.
“I heard you were devastated about leaving the show. What circumstances led to your decision – or was it your decision?”
Camille explains there is this “process” in which you meet with producers and pitch them on what’s happening in your life and then they decide if it’s show worthy.
“I gave them my list – I didn’t want them to shoot my children, and my relationship with my boyfriend. I believe certain things remain private and sacred,” said the woman who let them document the dissolution of her marriage to Kelsey Grammer on the first season that made her a TV star.
Yes, she really did.
No, Katie did not break out in peals of laughter. We’re disappointed in her.
Anyway, Camille says the producers came back at her “with an offer and not one I was comfortable with after being on the show two years as a lead housewife.”
Translation: I wasn’t going to be a star on the show any more.
But, Camille says philosophically, her daughter’s reaction when she asked her if she should do a third season was “Oh, I don’t care.”
“I don’t think you should be getting advice from a 10 year old anyway,” Katie says, helpfully.
“Do you have any regrets about doing it in the first place?” Katie asks.
My ex said it was a gift. Thank you, Kelsey, for the gift of humiliation for the first season,” Camille responds, adding she has a good relationship with the producers and “all things are possible” in re whether there will be another reality series in her future.
“I’m glad you’re happy,” Katie says.
On a similar subject, Katie’s going to interview Eva Longoria this week about her breakup during her years on ABC’s outgoing “Desperate Housewives.”
Katie now learns how French parents get their children to eat vegetables.
“American kids eat throughout the day. I don’t remember that when I was a kid,” Katie tells the author of a new book about raising kids to eat the French way.
And, Katie adds, “Since when did kids start dictating what they eat?”
In the morning’s most ironic segue, it’s time for the Breakfast Sandwich Cookoff, in which all the “GMA” gang, and Katie, will make breakfast sandwiches for celebrity chef Emeril to judge. Loads of scrambled eggs and cheese and bacon and sausage on English muffins and bagels later — washed down with syrup reduction — Emeril declares the winner to be:
Was there ever any question?