“Good Morning America” fans will have to rise before the sun and get down to Union Square on Dec. 3, when the ABC morning news show broadcasts live from San Francisco starting at 4 a.m.
Weatherman Sam Champion will be welcoming fans from a cable car, using a cherry picker to place an ornament on Macy’s 85-foot-tall tree and leading an audience countdown to illuminate the holiday lights in Union Square.
The locally-based broadcast will be filmed in conjunction with the unveiling of the “Only in San Francisco” holiday window at the show’s New York studio in Times Square. San Francisco is one of three cities — Las Vegas and San Antonio being the others — to hold a spot in the television station’s floor-to-ceiling Holiday Window Series this year.
Champion won’t be the only one entertaining the more than 1,000 fans expected to arrive at 3 a.m. in Union Square. Beach Blanket Babylon cast members will sing “San Francisco” while performer Caitlin McGinty dons her enormous signature San Francisco Skyline hat, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, SFMOMA, a moving cable car and other city landmarks. Ghirardelli Chocolate will dish out free hot cocoa to those who show up before 4 a.m.
Joe D’Alessandro, CEO of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, proposed the idea to simulcast the unveiling of the window to the morning crew of Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and Chris Cuomo with a live San Francisco broadcast.
“We had been talking to ABC for a couple months. I am pretty excited to have a national forum like that to promote my favorite city,” D’Alessandro said.
Designer and sculptor Tom Greenfield used many of The City’s most recognizable attractions and icons for the window, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Coit Tower, AT&T Park, the California Academy of Sciences, Macy’s Union Square and holiday ice rink, and the San Francisco International Airport.
About 5 million viewers are expected to tune in for the broadcast, which will air live in New York; it will not air in California until 7 a.m.