WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JOAN LUNDEN?
It's been 11 years since Joan Lunden last eased viewers into the day on "Good Morning America," which she co-hosted for nearly two decades.
She quickly segued into a gig as host of her ownprime-time show "Behind Closed Doors" -- first on ABC, then A&E -- but her television appearances have been far less frequent in recent years.
The 57-year-old Lunden has four really good reasons why: Already the mother of three grown daughters from her first marriage, she and husband Jeff Konigsberg have welcomed two sets of twins since 2003, born via the same surrogate mother.
"Max and Kate are almost 5 and Tim and Jack just turned 3," Lunden said last week. "My household is very busy.
"After having three children while working on 'Good Morning America,' I don't know what could have been harder than that. I was fairly undaunted in having the kids. Having two sets of twins right after another, that does increase the world exponentially. It's been amazing fun."
It helps that Konigsberg, whom she married eight years ago, runs summer camps in Maine for a living, she said.
Lunden has not given up on television, but she is extremely choosy about what she'll do.
"When you've been on 'Good Morning America' for 20 years, you have this big chit to play," she said. "I get people coming to me all the time and I get to pick and choose.
"Whenever someone sees me on a media campaign or a show, I don't want them to scratch their head and say, 'Why did she do that?"'
Lunden quickly said yes to the new Time-Warner Cable series "Hometown Heroes" which she began hosting earlier this month.
"When this one came to me, it just jumped off my desk," she said. "In this day and age, with so much sensationalized television, I was very taken by the fact that a network would spend a half-hour on a program that profiled and highlighted ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
The show, which features three stories per episode, has profiled Florida kids who started a massive effort to protect the Everglades and a seamstress who launched a nationwide effort to alter the clothes of servicemembers who lost limbs in combat.
Said Lunden: "It's human nature to say, 'I'm only one person, what can I do?' This show answers that question. All of these heroes are people who looked at the world and said, 'There's a need here.' I defy anyone to watch it and not be inspired."
The spirit of those profiled fits well with Lunden's own philosophy about life: "I'm a great believer that we create our own world and our own happiness. Life is about choices, make the choice to make your mark and make a difference. When I saw a show like this I said, 'That is right in line with what my message is."
(1 -- 2 -- color) Joan Lunden, at left in 1990 and at right in 2007, was the host of "Good Morning America" for many years before hosting several shows on ABC and A&E. Today, she is the proud, and busy, mother of two sets of young twins.
Photo at right by Evan Agostini/Getty Images