Talk Shows Celebrate Halloween With Multiple Takes on '80s TV, Music and Movies
In a spooky coincidence, both 'GMA' and 'Today's' themes were '80s inspired.
Many of the network morning and daytime talk shows got into the Halloween spirit Wednesday, with Good Morning America, Today and Live With Kelly and Ryan all celebrating the holiday with costumed extravaganzas.
While wearing costumes is an annual tradition on the ABC and NBC morning shows, in a spooky coincidence, both GMA and Today's themes were '80s inspired. Both morning shows also preceded their costume reveals with their hosts being interviewed about '80s fashion, movies, TV and music.
But vintage pop culture continued to play a large role in Wednesday's costumes, with the hosts eschewing political looks and real-life costumes like members of the British royal family and the Kardashians, which made appearances in past years. Instead, TV and film, specifically the rampant reboot trend, was the main inspiration.
Good Morning America
On the ABC morning show, the theme was '80s television. With Sam Champion leading what GMA dubbed an "All Access" '80s studio tour of sets from the decade's TV shows, the GMA hosts unveiled their costumes one by one on sets designed to look like their respective shows. Robin Roberts dressed up as Dynasty's Dominique Deveraux. George Stephanopoulos dressed as Family Ties' Alex P. Keaton. Michael Strahan portrayed Mr. T from The A-Team. And the group was rounded out by Amy Robach's Peg Bundy (Married With Children), Lara Spencer's Captain Stubing (The Love Boat), Ginger Zee's Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Rob Marciano's Zack Morris (Saved by the Bell).
Paula Faris and TJ Holmes joined Spencer as cruise director Julie and Isaac the bartender, respectively.
NBC's Today kicked off the Halloween celebration with '80s Today show footage of NBC News' 30 Rock headquarters. Lester Holt provided the voiceover for the "Today Loves the '80s" countdown of movie and music moments from the decade. Then, after the hosts reminisced about their looks and favorites from the era, the segment transitioned from footage of vintage movies and music videos to the hosts re-enacting them on the Rockefeller Center plaza.
Willie Geist did his best Ferris Bueller during a re-enactment of the movie's parade scene. Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer played Doc Brown and Marty McFly, respectively, in a Back to the Future redux. Craig Melvin arrived via vintage taxi as Eddie Murphy's Coming to America character. Jenna Bush Hager and Peter Alexander showed up as characters from Top Gun.
Then after counting down the top four movie moments, Holt counted down the top five music moments: Madonna's "Material Girl" video (re-created by Kathie Lee Gifford), Bruce Springsteen's (Carson Daly) "Dancing in the Dark," Tina Turner's (Sheinelle Jones)s "Simply the Best," Cyndi Lauper's (Savannah Guthrie) "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and Elton John's (Hoda Kotb) "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues."
The hosts then all danced onstage together to Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" with Dreyer's Marty recording via video camera.
Live With Kelly and Ryan
Live With Kelly and Ryan this year went with a reboot theme, or as they spelled it on Halloween, "ReBOOOOt."
The syndicated morning show combined vintage footage with Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, executive producer Michael Gelman and executive-in-charge Art Moore dressed as characters from beloved, older TV shows and, in a movie addition, Top Gun.
The show opened with footage from I Dream of Jeannie with a new voiceover transporting the series to the present day. In the modern-day footage, "Genie in a Bottle" singer Christina Aguilera stumbled upon Jeannie's bottle backstage only to see that Ripa's Jeannie and Seacrest's Major Nelson were trapped inside. "We got caught up in some reboot scam," Seacrest said. She rubbed the bottle and set them free but all of the dust made Ripa's Jeannie sneeze and when she crossed her arms and bowed her head, her magic transformed Seacrest into Jeannie. They both took the stage together, sporting the same costume, and then used their joint magic to turn Gelman and Moore into Jeannies.
Ripa introduced the theme for this year's show, which, unlike in past years, didn't feature guests in costumes sitting for interviews but instead had star cameos peppered throughout the reboot segments.
"We're bringing back all the shows and movies that you miss and some you don't," she said.
The show then transitioned to an Entertainment Tonight segment on reboots, including news about new (fake) revivals: Silver Spoons (with Seacrest as Ricky); Ripa and Faith Ford's ABC sitcom Hope and Faith (now Hope, Faith and Charity, with Seacrest as Charity); Sabrina the Middle-Aged Witch (not to be confused with the new Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), starring Ripa as Sabrina and Seacrest as an older Salem the cat; and even the ever-elusive Friends reboot fans have clamored for but, as star Jennifer Aniston has joked of a modern-day take on the series, this time the characters are all staring at their phones instead of interacting with each other.
They also aired extended segments about auditions for a faux Dawson's Creek reboot, but in Kelly and Ryan's version, Jensen Ackles and Busy Philipps, who had roles in the final seasons of the series, took lead roles in the new series. Ripa showed up to audition for Michelle Williams' role before learning of her character's fate and Seacrest auditioned for Dawson.
There was also a faux-behind-the-scenes look at Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott auditioning to play Michelle Tanner in Fuller House, complete with a cameo from the real John Stamos and a clip from a Saved by the Bell reboot with Ripa as Kelly (naturally), Seacrest as Zack, Moore as Screech and Gelman as Slater. Jessie was portrayed by a lifeless figure whose curly-wig-attired head was resting on the table at the Max. While some of the characters thought Jessie was dead, Kelly said she was up all night studying for a test and warned her not to take caffeine pills, referencing one of the show's best-known episodes.
That bit also marked the second time Wednesday morning that Zack Morris made an appearance, with ABC's Rob Marciano dressing as him on GMA earlier.
Other TV shows that got the reboot treatment on Live included I Love Lucy (with Ripa as Lucy, her real-life husband, Mark Consuelos, as Ricky and Seacrest as their son), Laverne & Shirley and All My Children (complete with guest appearances from Consuelos, Susan Lucci and alum Sarah Michelle Gellar).
The show also did an American Horror Story-Brady Bunch mashup, with Kelly playing all the female members of the blended Brady family including the mother, who marries the Rubber Man from the Murder House installment, and Seacrest playing the Brady sons.
Live also took Blossom, Punky Brewster and Small Wonder's robot Vicky and made them characters in a new version of Law & Order, with Vicky as a traffic cop and Blossom (Moore) questioning Joey, represented by old footage of Joey Lawrence on the show delivering his "whoa" catchphrase.
Ripa and Seacrest ended the show with their final costumes: Farrah Fawcett's Charlie's Angels character and Larry Wilcox's Jon Baker from CHiPs, respectively.
On ABC's The View, the hosts dressed as their own fierce characters. Meghan McCain took the stage first as Elsa from Frozen.
The voiceover introducing her said, "She's been called a legendary ice queen whose blood runs cold. But enough about Meghan, because she's dressed as Elsa this year. "
McCain, who removed the crown with her initial costume to reveal a shimmering light-blue dress, said her costume was inspired by the nickname given to her by "the gossip pages" when she first joined the show.
"It's OK to be an ice queen because it means you're tough and strong," she said.
Sunny Hostin dressed as General Okoye from Black Panther.
Joy Behar was one of the few hosts who got political, delivering her take on Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, as the Mid-Terminator. The voiceover introducing her explained, complete with a Schwarzenegger impression, "She's a sarcastic cyborg who traveled back in time from a horrible future to make sure Democrats take back the House next week."
Behar arrived on a motorcycle sporting a leather jacket that read "Vote or Else" on the back.
Whoopi Goldberg, meanwhile, dressed as Vampirina from the animated Disney TV show of the same name, which she explained is one of her great granddaughter's favorites.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Continuing the TV-inspired-costumes trend, Ellen DeGeneres offered her own take on a Bachelor contestant on her Halloween show. DeGeneres, as Kelllly D., with four l's, participated in a mock edition of the ABC reality show with Milo Ventimiglia as the suitor. DeGeneres' dental assistant from New Jersey flirted with the This Is Us star and gave him a slow cooker as a gift. After another bachelorette showed up, Kelllly brought out former Bachelor Nick Viall to distract her competition and increase the odds she'll win. But Kelllly was eliminated, with Ventimiglia giving the final rose to Rebel Wilson, DeGeneres' guest on Wednesday's show.
The Talk continued its tradition of music-inspired costumes with the latest edition of its Rocktober Lip Sync War. Eve re-created Janet Jackson's "Escapade" music video while Sheryl Underwood joined forces with a group of scantily clad male dancers for her performance of The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men." Sara Gilbert did a high-flying performance of Pink's "What About Us," complete with aerial flips reminiscent of the pop star's live performances. And Sharon Osbourne dressed as Dolly Parton and performed "9 to 5," even getting a video message from the country music superstar herself, who told Osbourne she's "so honored you decided to do me."
"You look good, good job, good rack! Where did you get them? Anyway, you make a better Dolly than I do," Parton said. "Happy Halloween everybody!”
Osbourne thanked her and told Parton, "I hope I did you justice. I tried.”
For Good Morning America's afternoon installment GMA Day, hosts Sara Haines and Michael Strahan let kids determine their costumes, dressing as two child-designed creations. Haines was a yellow duck while Strahan was a robot. The designers, and more costumed kids, introduced the co-hosts for GMA Day's "Nightmare Near 42nd Street."
Oct. 31, 1:57 p.m. This story has been updated with costumes from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Talk and GMA Day.