George Stephanopoulos, former political pundit and host of ABC's Sunday show, "This Week," has a new place in morning television: he has replaced Diane Sawyer as the host of "Good Morning America." It's an unexpected move for Stephanopoulos, who is known better for hard-hitting commentary than GMA's lighter fare. Did Stephanopoulos hit it off with audiences in his debut, or did he leave his morning viewers cold? (Watch George Stephanopoulos interview David Axelrod on his GMA debut)
Lighten up, George: Rather than adjust to the "tabloid tone" of GMA, Stephanopoulos brought the solemn-mindedness of his Washington talk show with him, said Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times. The "policy-minded, even wonky" host is an awkward choice for a morning show lineup that typically relies on "everyman bathos and Hollywood glitz."
"Waking Up Serious Instead of Silly"
What a charming transition: Stephanopoulos' debut was so smooth that the only "noticeable changes" were the "hair, jacket and jewelry," said David Hinckley at the New York Daily News. Stephanopoulos has clearly "learned the TV game well." With his "boyish smile," "pleasant demeanor," "guy-next-door voice" and "endearingly self-deprecating streak," Stephanopoulos is a natural fit for Good Morning America.
"George Stephanopoulos has smooth 'Good Morning America' debut"
He's too smart for this: There's no doubt that George Stephanopoulos is overqualified for the morning talk-show job, says James Poniewozik at TIME's Tuned In blog. "Stephanopoulos needs to study up on dumbing it down." It's essential that the Beltway insider find a way to relate to audiences – "not necessarily pretending he's one of them, which he's not," but at least "having fun with his fish-out-of-water situation."
"G-Steph's GMA Debut: Can He Master the Dumb News?"
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