Longtime Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden will serve as its special correspondent next week on NBC’s Today show as it kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NBC show announced this morning. The news coincided with the unveiling of People magazine’s latest cover featuring a bald Lunden, who was diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer, and phoned in to Today ,a day after surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has become a high-drama deal for morning infotainment shows. One year ago, ABC News’ Amy Robach was urged by breast cancer survivor/GMA co-host Robin Roberts to get her first mammogram — an on-air moment that may have saved Robach’s life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Robach, who underwent a double mastectomy, will next week visit Charleston, South Carolina for what GMA promises will be “an emotional meeting” with a woman who got tested as a result of Robach’s experience and was herself diagnosed with the cancer that hits one in eight women living in the U.S.
Lunden, meanwhile, told Matt Lauer that allowing People to show her bald was not a comfortable decision; next Wednesday on Today, she’ll encourage women with breast cancer to take off their wigs on the plaza outside the Today studio. ABC News, on the other hand, says it’s enlisted the help of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Paisley for its full day of coverage on Wednesday across its lineup, also including World News Tonight With David Muir, Nightline, as well as ABCNEWS.com, and Fusion.