Robin Roberts attends the 13th Annual USTA Serves Opening Night Gala at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 26, 2013 in New York City
*Robin Roberts has been steadily easing back into her anchor role for “Good Morning America” ever since she took time off last summer for a bone marrow transplant. But after Labor Day, the co-anchor will finally be back full time.
“I love that I start on a four-day week…. Snuck another one in there,” Roberts told Vanity Fair. She had been putting in four-day weeks for the last few months.
The ABC morning program she’s appeared on since 1995 has been No. 1 in total viewers for over a year now, finally surpassing long-time champ “Today” on NBC.
Roberts, who had been diagnosed with MDS, a blood and bone marrow disorder, took six weeks off after her transplant last September. She recently vacationed in Hawaii, a place she’d been dreaming of visiting while still in the hospital.
Robin Roberts attends 72nd Annual George Foster Peabody Awards at The Waldorf-Astoria on May 20, 2013 in New York City
*”Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts will publish a memoir in 2014 with Grand Central, the publisher announced Wednesday.
The book, which is not yet titled, will include Roberts’ story of her battle with MDS.
“I am humbled that many have an interest, and draw strength from my ongoing journey,” Roberts said. “I’m grateful for the prayers and well wishes of so many people. I’m thrilled that Jamie Raab and Grand Central Publishing will help me tell my story.”
Robin Roberts attends the Women’s Filmmaker Brunch during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2013 in New York City
Roberts took a leave of absence from “GMA” to undergo treatment for Myelodysplastic syndromes. The disease affects bone marrow and the creation of new blood cells. She won a Peabody Award for “Robin’s Journey,” a chronicle of her illness in which she advocated for bone marrow donation.
“GMA” won three consecutive Emmy awards with Roberts at its anchor desk. She joined ABC News in 1995 after years at ESPN. She was a college basketball player and has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
This is Roberts’ second book. Her first, “Rules of the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By,” was a 2007 bestseller.
*NBC reportedly told former “Today” co-anchor Ann Curry that she could not tweet a message of support for her morning show competitor Robin Roberts after she was diagnosed with MDS.
According to a lengthy piece about Curry’s treatment at “Today” in New York Magazine, Curry asked the network if she could tweet her well wishes to “Good Morning America’s” Roberts, but NBC said no for fear she was trying to “aid the enemy.”
Below, an excerpt from the New York Magazine article, picking up after Curry made her teary goodbye on “Today” and was in London for NBC News reporting on the Olympics. Savannah Guthrie had replaced her on “Today.”
In the original plan, the Olympics would be the opportunity to hit the RESET button and establish the Lauer-Savannah Guthrie duo with viewers. But while Today was in London, Curry sent out a cryptic tweet that made it clear she was miserable. In early August, a week into the Olympics, she wrote, “When I despair I remember that throughout history, truth and love have always won.” (An even more pointed tweet was subsequently deleted.)
When Curry flew to London, the show attempted to stage an on-air reunion between Lauer and Curry. But Curry, who sat in her car a few yards from the set until her shot was ready, refused to speak to Lauer as he tried making small talk. On the air, Curry pretended Lauer didn’t exist after he turned to her to introduce a segment she had produced. Lauer looked stiff and isolated.
The Today show won those two weeks in the ratings, but they would prove an anomaly. Good Morning America immediately sprang back to No. 1. NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America have a long-standing ratings rivalry.
*Robin Roberts returned to the NYC set of “Good Morning America” this morning for a private trial run to see if she’s physically ready to resume her co-hosting duties.
It was her first visit to the show since undergoing a bone marrow transplant in September. 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.”
In June, 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. In late December, Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, celebrated the crucial 100-day benchmark from her bone marrow transplant to treat the MDS. The transplant was a five-minute procedure in which the donor cells from Robin’s sister, Sally-Ann, were injected into Robin’s system through a syringe.
Since the transplant her doctors have been tracking her recovery and monitoring her weakened immune system to ensure that it is successfully acclimating to the new bone marrow. Her doctors have called her recovery strong.
“What we know now is that can’t see any of the disease that prompted this whole process right now,” her oncologist, Dr. Gail Roboz, of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center said on “GMA” last week. ”That’s really, that’s what we were looking for. She is doing wonderfully. There are many patients who at this point after a transplant are not at all having a conversation about going back to work, let alone the type of work that she does, so we are thrilled that she’s doing so well.”
The “GMA” anchor made a special appearance in December at the New York City wedding of her “GMA” colleague Sam Champion to Rubem Robierb. Roberts played a part in the nuptials, reading a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Roberts, who has been on medical leave from “GMA” since Aug. 30, said in a statement this morning, “What a thrill to be back at ‘GMA”s Times Square Studio this morning and see the best folks in the world, my ‘GMA’ family. I can’t wait to get back to the anchor chair in a few weeks.”
*Robin Roberts says her road to recovery will bring her back to the “Good Morning America” anchor desk within a matter of “weeks.”
Appearing from her home on the show this morning (Jan. 14), Roberts wore a broad smile as she announced that her most recent bone marrow test showed no sign of the life-threatening ailment that has kept her off the air for months. This means she can begin the process of returning to the anchor chair.
She calls it “coming home” and says she hopes to be back on the air “in weeks, not months.”
Roberts got a bone marrow transplant in September. In June, she disclosed to viewers that she had MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease.
Robin Roberts, 51, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) earlier this year – a disease which attacks blood cells and bone. She’s spent the past 11 days in a New York hospital preparing for the procedure, undergoing eight days of intensive chemotherapy.
Roberts addressed her supporters in a video from her hospital bed. [Scroll down to watch.] Wearing a pink baseball cap and clutching a cold drink, she said: “This journey is as much about the mind as it is the body.”
“Thoughts. Thoughts are so powerful. You’ve got to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel,” she continued, and repeated: “You’ve got to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel.”
She also thanked fans for their love and support, adding: “And let me just say this lastly, I feel the love and I thank you for it. Thank you.”
In preparation for the transplant - her sister Sally-Ann Roberts, who is a perfect match, was the donor – Robin underwent extensive chemotherapy. First, she received the “good” chemo, which boosted her blood cells and marrow to get her ready for the next phase, explained Dr. Gail Roboz, who is helping Robin prepare her for her bone marrow transplant.
“We could see in watching Robin over the summer that she looked fantastic,” Roboz said. “She was having an easy time with it. That was really MDS-directed treatment. That was to mow the lawn, get rid of as many MDS cells as possible, boost the bone marrow and get ready for the transplant.”
After that, the chemo Robin received was very different. For three days last week, she had chemo every six hours for two and a half hours. On Tuesday, she underwent 18 hours of uninterrupted chemo, which decimated her marrow and immune system. For now, she has no resistance to infection.
“This type of therapy over the last week has been much more intensive,” Roboz said. “This isn’t just mowing the lawn and not getting rids of the weeds on top, it’s digging down deeper and really trying to empty out the bone marrow cells and get rid of the immune system cells so that the new ones from Sally-Ann can come on in.”
“Robin looks great,” she said. “She’s a powerhouse but she feels crummy. Her mouth hurts. She’s got a headache that won’t quit. Nothing tastes right. It’s hard to get up and even move around in the room. This is someone who’s used to 50 hours a day and an athlete with tremendous stamina. It’s powerful to hear her say that reading a few emails or sitting up in bed is a lot of work.”
The transplant itself will take between 30 and 60 minutes, and when it’s done, Robin will be kept in room designed to keep the air as clean as possible – but she will not be totally isolated. Medical staff, friends and family will be able to visit, Roboz noted.
Watch Robin’s video message below. Click here for the entire “GMA” segment on Robin Roberts that aired this morning (Sept. 20).