Who’s surprised a TV show with 4 names in 2 years was cancelled?

Was anybody shocked by the cancellation of Good Morning America Day? No wait, Strahan & Sara. Or was it, GMA3? Hold on, it was called GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke. Wasn’t there Pandemic: What You Need To Know in there, too?

Talk about an identity crisis.

Was the unpopular daytime show in a tailspin that the constant retooling and rebranding an attempt to convince viewers it was something different each time? Sorry to say, it wasn’t, though I applaud the network’s efforts to try make the show relevant.

With its current title, GMA3: What You Need to Know, it still isn’t clear what the show is. “Need to know” about what? It sounds like one of those listicle posts: 8 Things You Should Never Live Without, etc.

With ABC confused about the show’s identity from its 2018 launch, I’m amazed they thought it had a shot with a home audience. More surprisingly is that the show survived as long as it did in today’s TV world where programs are axed so quickly.

It could be argued that the ABC how was good enough to be nominated for Daytime Emmys, but look at other daytime hosts such as Ricki Lake, who won after her show was cancelled. It’s good enough for a trophy but too little too late, right?

Short-term GMA3 co-host, Keke Palmer, blamed coronavirus and a shift in society for the shuttering of the show – a show with more names than years under its belt.

Palmer said, “When the pandemic hit, that’s what became all on our minds — was the pandemic, corona, understanding COVID. So, I kind of knew that, you know, if our show did come back, it would have to be much, much, much later because our show was really about an audience.”

Really? When a show is on for barely two years and carries at least four different titles, there was some writing on the wall. Hell, there were giant murals on the wall.

If things were going well with the two original hosts, it was pretty daring to introduce a third person to the mix. If Michael Strahan and Sara Haines could carry the show, a sidekick for the two would be unnecessary.

That would be like saying, “Hey, Jimmy Fallon: The Tonight Show is doing so awesome that we’re sticking a co-host beside you from now on.” Or, “Hey, Regis and Kathie Lee: Ratings are soaring and we’re beating everyone else, so let’s talk about adding another chair to the table.” No. You just don’t do it.

Years ago, a radio colleague of mine had her own mid-afternoon talk show. The station did some retooling after a couple of years and suddenly announced she would have a co-host. She took offence, wondered why they felt she “needed” someone alongside and she ultimately quit the same week.

As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Clearly GMAABC123 (or whatever the name) was beyond repair.

Palmer continued excuse making: “We do a little bit of news, but it’s entertainment news. It’s a different time now. Some of the conversations have changed. So, I expected it.” Wait, I thought it was because you couldn’t have an audience anymore. Which is it? All of the above? Girl, please.

Other entertainment shows struggled to find a voice/tone during coronavirus and they made it work, though I applaud Palmer for taking the high road and not seeming bitter (so as to keep prospects open of being rehired as a host in the future, right?).

The few episodes I watched with only Strahan and Haines were playful and fun. They were like a big brother and silly little sister, but then you add in the unknown cousin and the dynamic changes. Is it as fun with the third wheel around?

Whatever the combination of hosts, the show didn’t work and it illustrates the point that there are too many daytime talkers clamoring to cover the same topics… on webcams… from home. The do-it-yourself broadcasts from home all look the same and are losing their lustre. It’ll be interesting to see who else gets canned in the months ahead.

Though, with networks scrambling to fill airtime this fall, shows might get a pass since they’re already established and can put out content no matter how tired it might be. When TV networks are in a position to be picky about what airs, there might be more selective decisions made.

In the case of ABC, they said, “What You Need To Know is less bad than the trio we had on before so it’ll do for now.” That’s how high the standards are at this point, folks.

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