NEW YORK (AP) — Robin Roberts made her return to ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday, five months to the day after receiving a bone marrow transplant and a year since she started feeling symptoms of the ailment that has sidelined her since August.
Roberts looked thin and didn't bother to cover her hair loss with a wig. She wore a wide smile in taking her seat next to co-host George Stephanopoulos on TV's top-rated morning show.
"I have been waiting 174 days to say this," Roberts said. "Good morning, America."
The bulk of the ABC show turned into a celebration of her return as she's recovering from MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease. President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and basketball star Magic Johnson all sent taped greetings.
At the studio, ABC boss Anne Sweeney, news division President Ben Sherwood and Katie Couric all stood in the wings watching. When Roberts thanked her nurses on the air, all of the show producers in the control room a floor away stood and applauded. Sherwood delivered a champagne toast on the set after the show went off the air at 9 a.m.
"Can I go home now?" Roberts said, before delivering a tearful thank you to her colleagues.
Bottles of hand sanitizers were kept nearby for people who come into regular contact with Roberts, who must try to avoid contact with others as her immune system builds back up. The plan is for Roberts to work two or three days a week initially and her health will be closely monitored, said Tom Cibrowski, the show's senior executive producer.
Roberts said after the show that she wasn't tired and was working on adrenaline. But the bright studio lights affected her eyesight. She said she started having trouble seeing the teleprompters midway through the show.
She has a tough schedule her first week back. She's expected to co-host the show Thursday and perhaps Friday, tape an interview with first lady Michelle Obama on Friday and fly to California. She'll participate in Oscars coverage and make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars show. Even her doctor, Gail Roboz, while clearing Roberts' return, said, "we didn't exactly have in mind an interview with Michelle Obama and the Oscars this weekend."
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