Ann Romney’s ‘GMA’ spot: Escaped a grilling, but kitchen goes on the attack


George Stephanopoulus talks to Ann Romney on "Good Morning America." (Ida Mae Astute /ABC)
October 10, 2012

“Good Morning America” welcomed “special guest co-host” Ann Romney to the show Wednesday morning, but the “GMA” studio kitchen — a Democrat, no doubt — objected in the strongest possible terms.

An ABC News rep told The TV Column on Wednesday afternoon that the GOP’s FLOTUS candidate was not a guest co-host, as had been reported since last month, but a “special guest.” That must also come as news to . . . ABC News, which had two reports on its Web site Wednesday afternoon referring to Ann Romney as the day’s “GMA” guest host. And which sent photos of Romney to The TV Column last week, explaining that “Ann Romney is set to guest-host GMA next week on Wednesday.”

We’ll just call Romney a Super Special Guest Who Gets to Interview Other Guests.

Anyway, the “GMA” kitchen’s efforts to sabotage Romney began almost immediately when Romney was introduced at the start of the show’s fluffier 8 a.m. hour — after the program had gotten all the presidential race news out of the way.

Wearing a bright red dress, Romney was standing, smiling, in the “GMA” kitchen, next to a batch of her famous Welsh cakes.

“Oh . . . they’re burning,” Romney said suddenly as she quickly removed the cakes from the too-hot grill.

“Tell us about these,” said George Stephanopoulos, who was elsewhere on the set, talking off-camera, and unaware of the Welsh cake emergency.

“They’re burning,” Romney said. “I’ve got a cooking emergency! The grill’s too hot. But I’m here! I’m making Welsh cakes,” she said, gamely.

Gracefully returning to script, she began to recount how her grandmother made Welsh cakes, how she makes Welsh cakes, how she’s teaching her grandchildren how to make Welsh cakes. And she reminded us that her grandfather started working in Wales at age 6, and that her grandmother ate Welsh cakes every afternoon at 3.

“You should know at home, we invited Michelle Obama here for a special morning as well, and she is still working out her schedule. We hope to see her soon,” Stephanopoulos told viewers. Because this is, after all, an ABC News program, and fair is fair.

Thwarted once, the “GMA” kitchen watched and waited for its next opportunity.

That chance did not come while Romney was asking Drew Lachey — booted from “Dancing With the Stars” the night before — what he thought of the judges’ scoring on his cha-cha and for whom he was rooting now that he’s been tossed.

The opportunity also did not come as the cast of MTV’s famously raunchy “Jersey Shore,” sans Snooki, talked about the final season, their God-given hairlines and plans to return to law school. That was just as well, since Romney stayed away from that segment, as well as one about online predators and the interview with “Breaking Bad’s” meth-cooking high-school teacher Bryan Cranston. He talked about his role in the new Ben Affleck film “Argo,” which depicts the real-life mission to rescue six American diplomats from Tehran at the height of the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 and 1980.

The next time we saw Romney, she was in Times Square (away from the kitchen’s reach), interviewing Lord Ludger and Rebecca Hart, the thoroughbred horse and rider, respectively, who represented the United States at the London Paralympics during the summer. Romney, who received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1998, told “GMA’s” Lara Spencer how horses gave her “the energy, the passion, to get out of bed when I was so sick I didn’t think I wanted to get out of bed.”

But during a segment with actor Stanley Tucci, the kitchen struck again. He had come to plug his new cookbook and was demonstrating how to make some foul-looking melange called pasta casserole. While Romney told Tucci how much she loved “Julie & Julia,” some butter in a pot began to burn.

Tucci said he thought his butter was burning.

“They burned my Welsh cakes, too,” said Romney, who we think was beginning to suspect that the kitchen was up to no good.

The butter erupted. “GMA” weather anchor Sam Champion snatched the butter from Tucci.

“It’s fine. Everything is fine!” Champion reassured viewers, becoming the morning’s hero.

“I don’t know. My plane almost goes down. Now I’m going to catch on fire!” Romney countered.

“Thank you to Ann Romney — sorry we almost blew you up,” Stephanopoulos said as he closed the show.

‘Jersey’ iced

“Community” has killed “Made in Jersey.” Or rather, the absence of “Community.”

One day after NBC canceled plans to season-debut the comedies “Community” and “Whitney” next week — it will stick with “Grimm” repeats Friday nights at 8 — CBS announced that it had yanked new “Made in Jersey” off Friday night, effective immediately.

“CSI: NY” will move back into the 9 p.m. hour right away, and CBS will plug that 8 p.m. hour with “NCIS” and “Hawaii Five-0” repeats — until “Undercover Boss” debuts there Nov. 2.

That makes “Made in Jersey” the season’s first cancellation, for dead-pool purposes.

Here’s what’s going on:

Before the season started, conventional wisdom had CBS winning this season among advertiser-preferred 18- to 49-year-old viewers, beating out last season’s front-runner, Fox.

But lo and behold, two weeks into the season, the perennially “mired in fourth place” NBC is out front, with CBS close behind.

CBS has the edge in the preferred age bracket on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And there’s not much CBS can do now about NBC’s “The Voice”-fueled Monday lead in the age bracket, or its NFL-fueled Sunday lead. The two networks are duking it out on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Late Wednesday afternoon, NBC responded to CBS’s move, announcing that on Oct. 30 — the first Tuesday of the November “sweep” — it will pull “Parenthood” for that night only and slide its two new comedies, “Go On” and “The New Normal,” to 10 p.m., so it can inflate that night’s “The Voice” to a two-hour episode. This week, CBS surrendered its two-week lead over NBC among younger viewers on Tuesdays.

In case you missed its two episodes, “Made in Jersey” starred Janet Montgomery, a Brit, as a working-class woman from Jersey working at a hoity-toity New York law firm.

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