Joan Lunden is of the school of share-'n'-tell. What don't we know about the perky co-host of Good Morning America? In 10 years with the ABC morning show, her family life _ which includes husband Michael Krauss and daughters Jamie, 9; Lindsay, 7 next week, and Sarah, 2 _ has been public domain.
Lunden's 45-pound weight loss, good marriage hints and personal beauty routine have all been discussed not only on GMA but also on baby food and care products commercials, her new syndicated talk show Everyday, her previous Mother's Day program on cable's Lifetime, her past Mother's Minutes, syndicated TV spots (now in reruns) sponsored by toy companies that quick-fixed child-raising problems and in a couple of parenting books and videos.
So when she called last week from New York to promote Good Morning America's travels to Florida, it came as no surprise that Lunden talked mostly about her personal life.
Oh, there are a few words said about the fear of a Jane Pauley-like shuffleroo happening to Lunden, who is an even-older 39 than Pauley by a few months, but Lunden brushes off the possibility of being replaced by some ingenue waiting in the wings ("Sally Sues" she calls them) with a confident: "It's not that easy of a job to fill."
Her family will not be coming with her on GMA's trip to the Sunshine State.
"I'll meet myself coming and going," she says of her visit to Florida, where GMA has planned a five-city hop beginning this morning in Miami and continuing Tuesday at St. Petersburg's Pier, Wednesday in Pensacola, Thursday in Jacksonville and Friday in Palm Beach.
"It's going to be a tough week. Tell me what to wear," says Lunden, whose decade of service makes her the senior co-host on any of the network morning news shows.
Normally, Lunden's life is a lot more sedate; "ordinary" is the word she uses to describe it: "I'm up at 3:45 a.m. but then I'm outta here (Television Studio Number Two in New York City) by 10, 10:30, home by 11. Yesterday I had lunch with my baby, put her down for a nap, picked the kids up from school, bought Valentines, took them to tennis classes, and then we all had dinner together."
Her Everyday, which is not shown locally, is taped on Thursdays and Fridays at WWOR in New Jersey. Since Krauss is the creator and producer, Lunden gets to work with her husband. She enjoys that arrangement, even though she concedes that they are exact opposites. ("He's creative; I'm from the news genre.")
"Sometimes we clash," she admits, but she says that, when it comes to openness with the public, "Michael is comfortable with that, too."
As for her weight loss, Lunden says she couldn't avoid going public with that noticeable news: "I really didn't have any choice. I mean here I was one day 45 pounds less. People want to know about my diet and exercise."
Of all the morning news show stars, Lunden is the biggest name to pitch commercial products (although NBC's Willard Scott sells everything from grapefruit to lawn fertilizer).
Lunden defends her saleswoman sideline by saying that she is under contract to ABC's entertainment division, not news. "They'd care if I did them (commercials) indiscriminatingly," she said.
She also makes it clear that her daughters are not involved in the baby-product advertisements.
"We use rent-a-babies," she says. "I wouldn't want my daughters involved in show business, knowing what I know."