Roberts returns five months to the day after starting medical leave
"Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts returned to work Wednesday, five months to the day after she left on medical leave to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
"GMA" opened with a smiling Roberts, surrounded by her colleagues, telling viewers, "Hi, it's Robin, and I have been waiting 174 days to say this: 'Good morning, America!'"
As co-anchor George Stephanopoulos welcomed her back, the studio filled with cheers.
Roberts, who is battling the blood and bone disease MDS, returned to well-wishes from newsmakers, as well as a huge gift basket from NBC's "Today." New York Times reporter Brian Stelter, on the set of "GMA," posted an image of the basket arriving, filled with beignet mix and lollipops.
NBC is also making a donation to Be the Match, which helps patients with blood cancers. The network declined to disclose the amount to TheWrap.
The Obamas, the Clintons, and Oprah Winfrey welcomed Roberts' back with taped messages. The Obamas said they were "thinking about you and praying for you and rooting for you every step of the way."
Roberts' coworkers underwent voluntary flu shots before her return because of her weakened immune system, and she did a dress rehearsal in January.
Wednesday's appearance doesn't mark a full-time return to the show. Her doctors are taking a day-by-day approach to whether she is well enough to work. But Roberts isn't easing back into her job: She expects to be on the red carpet for Sunday's Oscars, and to interview first lady Michelle Obama next Tuesday.
Roberts' struggle has been closely documented by "GMA." She even allowed cameras to monitor her bone marrow transplant, a five-minute procedure in which she was injected with donor cells from her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts.
Last year, before Roberts' medical leave, "GMA" beat "Today" in the weekly ratings for the first time in 16 years.