ABC News hosts T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach’s extramarital cheating scandal has already “been a hit to Disney’s brand,” and they could be permanently in Mickey Mouse’s doghouse, according to a crisis management guru.
“They’re known for a certain standard of moral conduct,” Eric Shiffer, the chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Fox News Digital.
“I think Amy and T.J.’s careers are likely asphyxiated at Disney and ‘Good Morning America,’” Shiffer said. “I think had they been at a different network, they may have continued on. In fact, the ratings may have been of even better.”
The Walt Disney Company, the corporate overlord of ABC, fancies itself as a wholesome, family friendly global brand. But the ongoing tabloid scandal surrounding Holmes and Robach, who host “GMA3,” a spinoff of the flagship “Good Morning America,” is far from anything that would be deemed appropriate for the Disney audience. A series of scandalous reports, photos and videos revealed that Holmes and Robach are ending their marriages after becoming romantically involved with each other.
“GMA3” co-hosts TJ Holmes and Amy Robach were sidelined by ABC News following revelations of their extramarital affair. (Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images)
ABC News insiders initially insisted the lovebirds were adults, and the affair was consensual, so they wouldn’t be disciplined. However, they have since been vanished from their show, and ABC News’ President Kim Godwin informed staffers on Monday morning that the “distraction” become too significant. Holmes and Robach are currently sidelined until ABC figures out its next step, but insiders believe Disney stepped in when the affair became too big to ignore.
“I think Disney made this election to protect the integrity, and sort of this implicit moral standard that they want to see happen,” Shiffer said.
The Los Angeles-based crisis management guru also heard rumblings that echo New York Post reports that Holmes isn’t a stranger to infidelity.
An extramarital affair between ABC’s “GMA3: What You Need to Know” co-hosts T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach landed on the front page of the New York Post. (New York Post)
“My sources of suggest that, you know, this is concerning to staffers that apparently this is not his first affair, that this is a series of affairs,” Shiffer said, noting that ABC News staffers have expressed concern internally.
The scandal has received national attention, landing on the front page of the New York Post and dominating tabloid news in recent days. Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is married to former “GMA” host Willow Bay, shocked the industry last month when he came out of retirement to reclaim the gig. Iger replaced Bob Chapek, who succeeded him in 2020, but oversaw a disastrous time plagued by cultural and political controversies that have engulfed the company.
Less than a month after Iger returned, the Daily Mail reported that “GMA3” hosts Holmes and Robach have been “locked in a passionate romance despite both being married to their respective spouses for the past 12 years.”
Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes run during the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon on November 06, 2022. (Bryan Bedder/New York Road Runners via Getty Images)
The bombshell story included several intimate photos of the midday anchors taken throughout November, and the New York Post followed with an onslaught of exclusives including that Holmes and Robach “began their alleged romance while they were training for the New York City Half Marathon in March but didn’t leave their respective spouses, Andrew Shue and Marilee Fiebig, until August.”
Shiffer said feels the controversy could have attracted new viewers to the daytime program and helped turn Holmes and Robach into household names, but he doesn’t think it will happen at the Disney-owned company.
“We’re not going to see it, largely because of who Disney is as a bigger brand and the secondary implications, at a time in which they’ve got revised leadership with Iger. They’re going to play a more conservative in the interim,” Shiffer said.
Amy Robach amd T.J. Holmes attend the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront. (Arturo Holmes/WireImage)
“Disney has a different standard with respect to sort of their moral expectations of how people, especially leaders, conduct themselves. And these are representatives of the brand,” Shiffer continued. “They also represent to staffers, and producers, and employees, a further standard of what’s expected.”
Shiffer feels those considerations, combined with Holmes’ alleged pattern of infidelity, will force Disney executives to take a “conservative” approach and focus on long-term brand value. While Holmes and Robach might not be long for Disney’s ABC, Shiffer doesn’t think their careers are forever torched.
“I think that there’s an opportunity for one, or both, of them to find another path. But we also live in a day and age in which they could easily move to YouTube and become their own personalities and [host] their own show and perhaps even a podcast,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more talent do just that. What used to be the end of the road when there were behavioral instances like this are now sort of a launching pad for a whole second act.”
Robach has been married to former “Melrose Place” star Andrew Shue for 12 years. Holmes has been married to Fiebig since 2010. Both marriages are reportedly ending.
Stephanie Ramos and Gio Benitez have filled in as co-hosts of “GMA3.”
Brian Flood is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @briansflood.