Former ‘GMA’ Host Joan Lunden Slams ABC For Replacing Her With Younger Woman

Joan Lunden attends the Breast Cancer Research Foundation event
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for BCRF

Joan Lunden, who co-hosted Good Morning America from 1980 to 1997, has opened up about her abrupt exit from the ABC talk show, suggesting ageism played a significant part.

Speaking to Yahoo!, Lunden, who now works as a special correspondent for NBC’s Today show, said of her ABC departure, “I didn’t talk about it for a long, long time. I believe in going out with class… as opposed to getting angry, like, what’s the point?” However, she said that she let the network know her feelings before she left.

“I picked up the phone and I called the president of the network,” she recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m about to do you a very big favor. A year ago, NBC let Jane Pauley go and brought in Deborah Norville, and the audience was so upset with them because it was so obvious that you pushed out a woman, as she was getting older, to bring in this younger woman. Like, did you guys not learn anything?'”

Lunden was 47 at the time of her exit from GMA, after which she was replaced by a “30-year-old version” of herself. She suggested to the network president the official reason to be given for her leaving was that she was “tired of the morning shift” and wanted to be at home with her kids more — he quickly agreed.

“I mean, I was 47 years old. That’s not old. They don’t push men out because they’re 47,” she continued before adding, “I don’t look back. I’m not the kind of person that looks back.”

In addition to her work on the Today show, Lunden hosts the public television program Second Opinion, and she is a public speaker in breast cancer awareness advocacy — in 2014, she revealed on Good Morning America that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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