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GMA Goes HD this Week

"Good Morning America" from ABC News will go HD on Thursday, Nov. 3, as part of the show's thirtieth anniversary on the air. Although its plans to jump to 720p were announced last summer, ABC News did not announce the specific launch date until recently. See Good Morning America Goes HD.

The two-hour morning program with co-anchors Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson and Robin Roberts will achieve a milestone this week that was sorely missing from the DTV transition landscape: It will be the first regularly scheduled broadcast news program to go HD. The network, however, does not appear to be going out of its way to publicize the event. At press time this week, The HD start-up is not mentioned on the Web sites of ABC News or GMA (perhaps because more than 90 percent of U.S. households still cannot yet view HD programs).

Exactly how ABC News will feed live program remotes back to its Times Square headquarters in New York (either by HD or SD) remains to be seen, especially since technical challenges remain for HD ENG, and HD field equipment can still be costly. With this week's GMA launch, ABC/Disney is now offering its program content in two distinctly divergent venues: relatively large (and getting larger) HD screens, as well as tiny 2.5-inch screens in a limited deal with Apple and its new Video iPod unveiled in October.

In the past year, GMA made a serious run at overtaking perennial morning ratings leader "Today" from NBC News, although GMA's momentum has lessened in recent months. Whether airing exclusive HD morning telecasts will have a noticeable effect on its ratings is yet to be seen.