Robin Roberts returned to the NYC set of "Good Morning America" this morning -- the first time since undergoing a bone marrow transplant surgery -- for a private "GMA" test run to see if she's physically ready to come back to the show.
Just last week, Roberts explained that she would be doing a series of doctor-approved "dry runs" before officially re-joining the show.
"My doctors want me to see how many people I actually come in contact with," Roberts said ... "How my body reacts to the stimulation, that's code word for stress, of being in the studio environment."
She added, "My skin is very sensitive and so we have to see how it reacts to the studio lights. My vision is still a little blurry from the treatment. All of this is getting better day by day so that is the next step."
Last year, 51-year-old Roberts was diagnosed with MDS -- or myelodysplastic syndrome -- a disease of the blood and bone marrow that was once known as preleukemia.
Roberts vowed to return to the show ... and it looks like she's going to keep her promise.
Won't Return to GMA
Til Mid 2013
12/30/2012 6:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Roberts will not re-join the "Good Morning America" staff until May at the earliest, and more probably June, 2013 ... TMZ has learned.
Multiple sources connected to the show and the anchor tell TMZ ... Robin's medical issues make an earlier return way too risky, because her immune system is extremely weak.
We're told doctors are pleased with her progress and say she's right on schedule, but that schedule puts her on the bench for 5 or 6 months ... something she's not crazy about but realizes is necessary.
Sources at GMA tell us ... the honchos are hoping that Robin can return as early as February, but we know that's not in the cards.
And speaking of cards ... we're told they're coming in by the truckload -- cards, emails, etc, wishing her well. GMA honchos believe Robin's return will boost ratings for the show even higher, which can become problematic for the struggling "Today" show.
'GMA' and 'Today'
Over Lindsay Interview
11/17/2012 6:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Lindsay Lohan has triggered a broadcast war, with the folks at "Today" accusing "Good Morning America" of whoring themselves out to score an interview with the actress.
GMA insists they did not agree to all but declare personal questions off limits during Lindsay's interview on Friday ... despite multiple reports to the contrary. And they not-so-obtusely accuse "Today" -- aka the "desperate competitor" -- of leaking the story.
"Today" producers have fired back ... saying the interview was "weak" and they have no one to blame but themselves.
Truth be told ... Rogers and Cowan, Lindsay's P.R. flack, and most other publicists get these shows to limit questions in return for big interviews, even though everyone denies it.
But here's the problem for GMA. They say they did not agree to any conditions and asked the questions they wanted to ask.
Well, the way we see it, that would make them crappy interviewers, because the only personal question they asked Lindsay about was her newly-discovered half-sister. There are a few other questions on the table -- e.g., how do you feel about the fact that you're about to be prosecuted for yet another crime and you'll probably go to jail?
Is News to Me
11/16/2012 7:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
BRAVO! Lindsay Lohan's such a brilliant actress ... she nearly convinced the world today that she didn't know about her newly-announced 17-year-old half-sister -- claiming, "I don't pay attention to any of that."
Of course, the news was everywhere yesterday after TMZ broke the story -- Lindsay's dad Michael Lohan took a paternity test for a 17-year-old girl named Ashley ... and the results came back positive.
But today on "Good Morning America" -- where Lindsay was trying to promote her new movie "Liz & Dick" -- she had the audacity to say, "I didn't even hear that."
And we weren't born yesterday ... just like Lindsay's previously-fatherless sister.
on 'Good Morning America'
10/19/2012 3:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
There was no delay, no bleep and cutting away from Tom Hanks this morning on "Good Morning America" as he dropped an F-bomb live on the air ... just seconds before predicting he would.
"GMA" host Elizabeth Vargas asked Hanks to speak in the same accent he does in his new movie, "Cloud Atlas." Hanks said that would be tricky since it's mostly swear words ... and then he proceeded to try ... and cursed anyway!
Hanks apologized profusely, as did Vargas, and Hanks made another (probably) accurate prediction ... that his next appearance on the show will come with a seven second delay.
A rep for ABC tells us the situation was "corrected" for all subsequent feeds of the show.
Doesn't 'Give a Crap'
About RNC Speech Critics
9/17/2012 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Clint Eastwood says he doesn't really give a crap about the people who ripped his impromptu "chair" speech at the Republican National Convention ... saying he was just expressing his feelings.
Clint appeared on "Good Morning America" this morning ... and the 82-year-old explained one of the reasons he didn't want to give a traditional speech off a teleprompter that night is because "I didn't have my glasses with me ... so I wouldn't have been able to read it."
Instead, he explained ... "So then I’m just sitting there and the guy says, ‘You wanna sit down?’ and I said ‘No, but put that [chair] next to the podium will ya.'"
And a legend was born.
When he was told that Obama is still a fan of his, Clint said, "Well, that's his bad judgment."
As for the criticism Clint has received since the speech ... Clint says, "There is something about the aging process that makes you give a crap less."
There is NO BEEF
With Al Roker
9/12/2012 6:44 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Matt Lauer does NOT believe Al Roker is trying to sabotage the "Today" show ... despite his crazy antics ... telling TMZ that any talk of a riff between Al and the show is nothing more than a "rumor."
Matt was on his way home from the gym in NYC yesterday when we asked about all of the drama with the "Today" show ... including the fact that rival "Good Morning America" has TAKEN OVER as ratings leader in the morning news war.
"We feel the heat every day," Lauer says ... "but we have for the last 20 years that I've been there."
"We're just trying to do the best show we can do every single day ... and I think we're doing a good job right now ... and I think the cycle will reverse."
As for Al Roker's pattern of bizarre behavior on the air since his good friend Ann Curry was fired from the show ... it's clear Lauer doesn't seem too concerned about the situation.
8/31/2012 5:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It's almost too much for anyone to bear ... Now we know why "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts left a day before her scheduled medical leave -- her mother died Thursday.
Roberts -- who will be taking several months off to undergo treatment -- including a bone marrow transplant -- for a rare blood disorder -- flew to Mississippi Thursday to see her 88-year-old mother, Lucimarian Tolliver Roberts, before she passed away.
Roberts -- who battled breast cancer and developed the blood disorder as a result of chemo -- will be getting the life-saving bone marrow from her sister, Sally-Ann. The procedure is scheduled for next week.
Leaves 'GMA' Early
'Things Happened at Home'
8/30/2012 5:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Roberts just announced ... she will begin her medical leave from "Good Morning America" TODAY ... one day ahead of schedule ... after "some things happened at home."
Roberts -- who was recently diagnosed with MDS -- had originally planned to stay through tomorrow before leaving the show to prepare for her bone marrow transplant.
But this morning, an emotional Roberts explained, "I had planned to let tomorrow be the last day ... and then some things happened at home and I wanna take care of that before I begin my treatment next week."
Country star Martina McBride performed a song for Robin ... and Roberts, with a smile on her face, tearfully sang along.
Roberts vows to return to work following the procedure.
Sidelined from Interview
With Chad Johnson's Ex
8/29/2012 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Roberts was forced to back out of the first interview with Chad Johnson's estranged wife Evelyn Lozada since he allegedly attacked her earlier this month -- and TMZ has learned, it's due to Robin's health crisis.
Sources tell us ... Evelyn agreed to sit down with Robin on "Good Morning America" to discuss the Aug. 11 domestic violence incident -- because she feels Roberts has tremendous integrity as a reporter.
The interview was set for this week, but hit a snag when Lozada asked Robin to tape the segment at her hotel ... since Evelyn wanted a private setting for such a serious conversation.
We're told Roberts couldn't make that happen because she would have to miss a treatment session for her blood disorder ... myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
As we reported, Roberts is scheduled to start a leave of absence this Friday to receive a bone marrow transplant.
We're told Amy Robach is stepping in for Robin, but Evelyn's more than happy with the replacement.
Friday Is My
Last Day at 'GMA'
8/27/2012 4:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Robin Roberts will begin her medical leave from "Good Morning America" on Friday ... so she can undergo bone marrow transplant surgery.
Earlier this year, Roberts announced she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) ... a disease that attacks the blood and bone marrow.
Roberts says her sister is the bone marrow donor ... explaining, "[She] is a perfect match and she’s been spending a lot of time with me. She’s been taking shots to help her prepare."
Roberts says the procedure is scheduled for Tuesday ... and says she plans to return to work following her recovery.
"I know I’m going to have a job when I come back."
As TMZ previously reported, "GMA" is planning to use a roster of star-studded subs to fill in for Roberts during her absence.
'GMA' Planning A-List Subs
While She's Gone
7/1/2012 6:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Good Morning America" won't be left high and dry when Robin Roberts goes on medical leave in a couple months -- TMZ has learned, producers are arranging a star-studded list of substitutes to sit in for her.
As we reported, Roberts was diagnosed in April with myelodysplastic syndrome -- a serious blood and bone marrow disease -- and has already begun chemotherapy treatment ... before her big bone marrow transplant in a few months.
As for who made the temp list -- we're told producers will approach Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, Barbara Walters, Chris Cuomo, Connie Chung, Joan Lunden and others. We're told each substitute will sit in Robin's chair for a full week, and each Friday the next star sub will be announced.
Given the nature of the operation, it could take Roberts 4 months to recover -- so the list will be long.
But here's the good news. Robin, we're told, is in good physical shape and the condition was detected very early, so the prognosis is "very good" and she could be back much sooner than the 4 month estimate.
I Was Diagnosed with MDS
... but I'm Gonna Beat It!
6/11/2012 4:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts has announced she was just diagnosed with a serious blood and bone marrow disease ... but says she's determined to beat it.
51-year-old Roberts just released a statement saying, "Today, I want to let you know that I’ve been diagnosed with MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome. It's a disease of the blood and bone marrow and was once known as preleukemia."
She explains, "As many of you know, 5 years ago I beat breast cancer. I’ve always been a fighter, and with all of your prayers and support, a winner. Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems."
"My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this -- and I know it's true."
Roberts says she will begin pre-treatment starting today -- chemotherapy in advance of a bone marrow transplant later this year.
Roberts adds, "Bottom line: I’ve been living with this diagnosis for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA. I love what I do and the people with whom I do it. Along with my faith, family and friends, all of you at ABC News give me the motivation and energy to face this challenge."