Okay, so this post is about Good Morning America and Josh Elliott. I know, I know. And I understand if you skip it entirely if you care about neither. Go ahead, skip. I’ll wait for you to go.
Still here? All right, then.
This has been a weird week. Regular readers of this blog know that I LOVE Josh Elliott, the newsreader for Good Morning America. Truth: this was not always the case. (Sorry, Josh, if you are reading this: but I know you appreciate honesty!) When he first came on the show, about three years ago, it was to replace Juju Chang, and I adore her. She’s the reason I first got into the GMA studio (she’s friends with my agent) and has just been SO kind to me. I can totally remember the morning I was at the beach with my family, and there’s this new guy instead of Juju. I was like, “Who is THAT? He looks like he just did a keg stand!” (I TOLD you I was going to be honest!) But my babysitter at the time, Amanda, just smiled. “He’s cute!” she said. “I like him!” I was not convinced. Yet.
Then, however, Amanda went to NYC for vacation. She decided to go stand outside GMA at the Times Square Studio. Because I’m a Twitter addict (sad, but true) I thought it was worth a shot to tweet at this new guy and ask him to come out and take a picture with her. And he DID. Not only that, he sent me a sweet tweet back saying he hoped I’d post it. Okay, I’ll admit it: I was kind of charmed.
As I kept watching the show, I liked Josh more and more. First, he had a daughter about the age of mine, and they both loved Sesame Street and Disney princesses. He was funny and self-deprecating, serious when he had to be, willing to be goofy when he didn’t. He was REAL, which is what I love about GMA, because all their hosts are. You WANT to have your coffee with them each morning, because they seem not THAT different from you, even though you know they probably are. But Josh—and Sam Champion, his bud—you felt like you knew them. Sam was a teen model and adored his husband; Josh loved sports, cooking, In-N-Out burgers and would do just about anything for a laugh. When they cracked up together, it wasn’t faked. You could just TELL.
The first time I went to NYC after tweeting with Josh, I bumped into him at the Starbucks down from the studio. He was zipping in for a coffee and I was just getting mine. He looked at me, and I totally freaked. I got nervous and furtive, averting my eyes. He went back to the studio, and I tweeted about how I’d made such a jerk of myself. He immediately razzed me about it, saying I blew him off. But then he got me in, and made sure the sign I’d brought got on air.
From that point on, it was like we were friends. We tweeted each other, and I watched faithfully. Our daughters started kindergarten at the same time, and we both suffered through that first day, breaths held. Every time I went to New York, I stood outside the studio, and when I got in, we got to say hello. Those are some of my best fangirl memories EVER.
It was after THIS picture was taken that Josh said to me, “I will get your next book on the air. I promise.” I never asked him to do that. He just offered! I was on GMA Live, the webcast after the show, the day THE MOON AND MORE was released. You can see the clip here. Seriously, that was more than I ever would have expected: he owed me nothing. But a couple of months later, he had me in-studio for their Guess Who’s Coming for Breakfast segment. It was a dream come true. I mean, COME ON!
During this experience, I got to meet Josh’s producer, Rich, who I also loved. He came to my house at 4am and was there with his camera crew for our morning chaos. I was nervous, and would not let just anyone do that! But it was an honor. Seriously.
All of this is a LONG way of saying that Sunday night when I saw (on Twitter, naturally) that Josh was leaving GMA, I was in shock. I just sat here, speechless. Now, I know how big business works. I mean, I’m in publishing. Contract negotiations can be RUTHLESS (I am afraid of my own agent, Leigh, because she is very good at them. Lucky for me! We are like good cop, bad cop.). But it just took my breath away that not only was Josh leaving, but he wouldn’t even be back to say goodbye. On Thursday, they ran a very sweet clip piece, but that was it. The end.
I don’t want to get into the politics of this. I’m a viewer and I will always love GMA and it’s not my place. But I will say this: we, as the fans? He was special to us. I’ll also say that every time I was at the Times Square studio, Josh stayed AFTER the taping was done to pose for pictures and meet fans outside. Not just once. Every. Single. Time. I wish him the best of luck, and I’ll follow him wherever he goes, while still watching GMA each day. I can’t pick between them. It’s not fair. I guess nothing is. But we will miss you, Josh. Know that. And thanks, for everything.