-- It was a packed house in the Times Square studio of “Good Morning America” today as the show's current and former anchors, news anchors and meteorologists gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the morning show.
David Hartman and Nancy Dussault, the anchor team that kicked off the first “GMA” in 1975 were there, along with every anchor team since, from Sandy Hill to Joan Lunden, Charlie Gibson, Kevin Newman, Lisa McRee, Diane Sawyer and current “GMA” co-anchors, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer.
The show's former meteorologists - from Spencer Christian to Sam Champion - revealed themselves from behind "GMA" umbrellas in Times Square, while former "GMA" news anchors - including Josh Elliott and Juju Chang - joined current "GMA" news anchor Amy Robach on set to deliver the news.
There was also a special surprise guest and a live performance by Pitbull to top it all off. Here are the top four moments from today’s “GMA” 40th reunion special.
Former "GMA" Anchors Clink Coffee Mugs:
The co-anchors of “GMA” from the past 40 years each held a “GMA” coffee mug and toasted their co-anchors while saying the famous, “Good morning, America,” show open that has been said 9,795 times over the show's 40 years.
David Hartman toasted Nancy Dussault, his co-anchor from 1975 to 1977, before then toasting Sandy Hill, his co-anchor from 1977-1980. Hartman then toasted Joan Lunden, his co-anchor from 1980 to 1987, who then toasted Charlie Gibson, her co-anchor from 1987 to 1997. Gibson then toasted with Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman, co-anchors from 1998 to 1999, before moving to Diane Sawyer, his co-anchor from 1999 to 2005. Sawyer and Gibson then toasted Robin Roberts, a member of their team from 2005 to 2006, who then toasted with her current co-anchors, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer.
Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson Reflect on 9-11:
Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer were behind the “GMA” anchor desk on Sept. 11, 2011.
“That was the most meaningful day, ever, that I had a chance to broadcast,” Gibson said. “I remember walking into the studio the next day thinking my entire life, professionally, was a preparation for this moment because this is the most important broadcast I’ll ever do.”
“We put the table in the middle of the floor because we were at the breakfast table with everybody else in the country and just figured tone that morning was just as important as facts,” he said.
“And also honoring the searing stories that we were hearing for the first time live,” Sawyer added. “We just wanted to honor the people who were telling us about this moment and this country in this crisis.”
Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls Seeing the 'Greatest Pair of Buns':
Gifford, a surprise reunion guest, was a correspondent on “GMA” and substitute anchor for Joan Lunden. It was during her time on the show that Gifford met her future husband, NFL legend Frank Gifford, while filming a dog food commercial at “GMA” in the early morning hours.
“I’m walking down the hallway and I see the greatest pair of buns I’ve ever seen in my life leaning over a sink putting in contact lenses,” Kathie Lee Gifford said, adding that she had just had surgery to improve her own vision. “So I yelled out…and I said, ‘Have I got an operation for you.’”
“To which the voice that belonged to the buns says, ‘With a fool on either end,’” Gifford recalled. “That’s how the 29-year-old marriage started.”
Sam Champion Presented With a Shrimp on a Treadmill:
Former “GMA” meteorologist Champion had his share of laughs during his years on “GMA” – including once saying “naked” instead of “nation." Perhaps no moment was funnier than the introduction by George Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos, thinking they were teasing to a later segment, said, “Look at this shrimp on a treadmill,” as the camera went to Champion at the weather map.
“That’s the worst intro I’ve ever had,” Champion said in reply, to huge laughs from both Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, who was seated next to him at the desk.
On today’s show Roberts handed Champion a “trophy” of a stuffed shrimp on a mini treadmill.
“I’d like to thank you, George,” Champion said.