The sunny TV personality says her ABC News bosses botched her exit from the morning news show--creating "a situation where it looked like I was being shoved out" and leaving Lunden to battle back "fear, anger and resentment."
This, from Lunden's quasi-self-help opus/quasi-memoir, A Bend in the Road Is Not the End of the Road: 10 Positive Principles for Dealing With Change, in which the tube star discusses blowing up a Las Vegas hotel, among other post-GMA duties.
The book is due in stores next Tuesday. Excerpts were published in the November issue of Good Housekeeping.
Lunden, 48, says she did want out of GMA--tired of two decades' worth of pre-dawn wake-up calls. But she says ABC brass told her they weren't ready to overhaul the slipping show and, in May 1997, signed her to a new two-year deal.
"Then, almost before the ink dried on that contract, they started talking to other candidates for the job," she writes.
About three weeks later, the network announced Lunden would be replaced by an unnamed anchor (Lisa McRee, as it turned out) in September 1997.
"In my private moments, I allowed myself to cry," Lunden notes.
ABC News declined comment today on the Lunden book.
In the Good Housekeeping excerpts, Lunden's prose (molded with writer Andrea Cagan) borders on Romance Novel Lite--pitting a plucky, determined heroine against uncaring corporate suits. (Sorry, no bodice ripping.)
"Would I still be able to support my teenage daughters? What about my house?" Such are the thoughts that Lunden says raced through her mind upon hearing that GMA was cutting her loose.
In the end, Lunden says she chose to remain upbeat and to gut out her remaining months on air because "taking the high road was the only way to proceed to set in place a positive future for all of us." Whatever that means.
Notably, Lunden is still an ABC employee. Her next network special is due to air next Tuesday (D-Day for the book). Next fall she launches her own syndicated talk show, where we can only hope she'll continue to dispense homilies like: "We cannot avoid change." (Memo to self: How true!)
Meanwhile back in troubled GMA Land, Lunden replacement Lisa McRee is again the subject of she's-outta-there gossip.
Today's New York Daily News says the scuttlebutt has ABC dumping both McRee and coanchor Kevin Newman in favor of The View's Meredith Vieira and network newsman Aaron Brown.
An ABC News spokeswoman Tuesday dismissed the rumor, saying nothing has changed--the network is standing solidly behind its anchor team.
As Lunden might (and did) observe: "Wouldn't it be great if all life were this way?"