The name of Good Morning America's newest member was inspired by a ray of sunshine
Good Morning America is bringing a new “ray” of sunshine to its viewers in the form of an adorable, life-sized, furry yellow creature.
On Thursday, the ABC morning show debuted its own mascot, Ray, who wore a blue T-shirt and baseball cap with the GMA logo emblazoned across it. He emerged onto the GMA set dancing and enthusiastically hugging the show’s cohost Gio Benitez, who introduced him.
“Guys, what do you think of Ray?” Benitez asked his GMA colleagues about their new energetic mascot, to which fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos jokingly responded, “Ray had his coffee this morning.”
“He’s like the cutest puppy,” fellow co-host Lara Spencer added.
Ray’s GMA debut follows the show’s tradition of featuring popular sports mascots over the years.
“Ray, our yellow and blue friend, will spread the joy, heart and passion that 'GMA' brings to its viewers every morning,” according to a post on GMA’s website. “The energy of parents waking their kids up for school each morning, the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen and the smiles of friends and family members that jumpstart each day are instilled in Ray’s DNA.”
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The mascot’s moniker, according to the show, was inspired by a ray of sunshine, and the yellow color “represents the spark that viewers feel each morning tuning into GMA."
The character was co-created by Dave Raymond, Tom Sapp and Randy Carfagno, with input from the GMA staff. Raymond knows a little something about mascots as he was the original and beloved Phille Phanatic for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has since developed 130 mascots for a variety of sports teams and businesses, including the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot Gritty.
In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Raymond said: “All of that emotion that is built up in your team gets funneled right down to that symbol. They’re inviting you to come in and hug and interact physically with a piece of the team.”
Meanwhile, Ray got a warm and enthusiastic welcome from other mascots across the country via an Instagram video posted by Good Morning America. Among them were Gritty, the Phillie Phanatic, and Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls.
During Ray’s GMA debut Thursday, Benitez asked the mascot how he was feeling on his first day on the job. Ray then pulled out what seemed like a device that was supposed to go off but didn’t. Instead, he threw it down on the floor and started dancing and behaving goofily as if nothing happened, which sparked laughter from the GMA staff.
“See, this is what a mascot does,” said Benitez. “Improvises on live TV.”
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