Josh Elliott Exiting ABC's ‘Good Morning America’ for NBC Sports

Josh Elliott Exiting ABC's 'Good Morning America' for NBC Sports

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Effective immediately, Amy Robach is promoted to news anchor, says Ben Sherwood in memo to staff

After months of speculation over Josh Elliott's future at ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” contract talks broke down over the weekend and he will leave his anchor spot for a gig with NBC Sports. Amy Robach will be promoted to news anchor, effective immediately.

“As many of you know, we have been negotiating with Josh these past several months. In good faith, we worked hard to close a significant gap between our generous offer and his expectations. In the end, Josh felt he deserved a different deal and so he chose a new path,” said ABC News President Ben Sherwood, who was just recently named Anne Sweeney's ABC-Disney successor.

Also read: Insiders: James Goldston Is 95 Percent Likely to Succeed Ben Sherwood at ABC News

Elliott informed GMA on Sunday that he would be leaving for NBC Sports. In his new role at NBC, Elliott will be covering the NFL, Summer and Winter Olympics, Horse Racing and “other high profile sports properties,” an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

During intense contract negotiations over the last few months, Elliott was seeking a salary increase to $8 million a year, up from his estimated $1.2 million a year. GMA counter-offered Elliott with a new deal proposing salary of roughly $4 million to $5 million a year, according to insiders.

Also read: Ben Sherwood's Most Obvious Success: ‘GMA’ Surpassing ‘Today’

Elliott joined GMA in 2011, after jumping ship from ESPN's “SportsCenter.” He replaced the show's previous news anchor JuJu Chang, who left to become a special correspondent and fill-in anchor on ABC News’ “Nightline.” Both ESPN and ABC are owned by Disney. On Thursday, it was announced that Chang had been promoted to co-anchor of “Nightline” and would replace Cynthia McFadden, who is also exiting ABC News for NBC.

Also read: Lara Spencer Re-Signs Long-Term Contract With ‘Good Morning America’

Elliott is the second big name to leave GMA in a matter of months.  As TheWrap previously reported, the show's weather anchor Sam Champion announced in December that he was leaving ABC News for the Weather Channel.

Champion's new Weather Channel show “AMHQ” premiered on Mar. 18, however, the program has so far received a chilly reception from viewers.

Also read: Sam Champion's Weather Channel Show Drops Further on Day 2

One person who won't be leaving GMA anytime soon — Lara Spencer. Last week she inked a new long-term deal with the morning show, calling the re-up a “simple decision.”

“You know you're in the right job when getting up at 4 a.m. is a joy,” Spencer, who's been the show's lifestyle anchor since 2011, said.

Spencer's contract renewal comes on the heels of a new agreement that will also keep Robin Roberts on “GMA.”

“Good Morning America” has made great strides in the past year, breaking the long-standing ratings stranglehold that its NBC competitor, “Today,” has held, recently winning its first full season in 20 years.

Also read: The Most and Least Liked Morning TV Hosts — From Robin Roberts to Kathie Lee Gifford

ABC News chief Ben Sherwood sent out the following memo to staff on Sunday about Elliott's departure from the network:

I want to share some news about GMA.

I'm excited to let you know that we have promoted Amy Robach to News Anchor on Good Morning America effective immediately. Amy is a world class anchor and correspondent who is beloved by our morning audience and all who know her.

Amy has become a familiar face on GMA, filling in for Robin Roberts for many of the 174 days that Robin spent recovering from her bone marrow transplant. Amy brought us moving interviews with the families of the Newtown shooting victims and she delivered a riveting report from inside the world of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Showing her lighter side, Amy covered the birth of Prince George from London and brought us inside Downton Abbey.

Amy began her career as a general assignment reporter in South Carolina and moved on to become a morning anchor in Washington DC where she covered 9/11 from the Pentagon. Amy is a gifted interviewer, sitting down with world leaders including Barack Obama, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prince Harry. She spent five years at NBC where she was an anchor at MSNBC and co-host of Weekend Today.

We always knew that Amy was special and we have all been especially inspired to watch her battle breast cancer with grace and determination. Indeed, she thrilled us with two weeks of memorable dispatches from Sochi anchoring our Olympic coverage — all between chemo treatments. Amy will be a fierce and formidable full-time addition to our GMA team.

At the same time, Josh Elliott let us know today that he is going to NBC Sports.

As many of you know, we have been negotiating with Josh these past several months. In good faith, we worked hard to close a significant gap between our generous offer and his expectations. In the end, Josh felt he deserved a different deal and so he chose a new path.

I want to thank Josh for his many contributions to GMA and ABC News. Later in the week, we will bid him farewell.

With Robin, George, Lara, Ginger and Amy, GMA's best days are ahead. Just this month the broadcast enjoyed its biggest audience ever. In the days ahead, there will be more good news on the show, so stay tuned. As we make this transition, we must keep our attention laser-focused on the most important goal – serving our loyal viewers each and every day with a big picture understanding of the world.

 

  • Bill N.

    This is a bizarre move. CAA, which reps Elliott as well as Champion, are really making some major missteps. NBC is clearly trying to steal away ABC's talent in order to prop up TODAY against GMA. Champion's show on The Weather Channel is seen by about 16 people every morning. And, as THR just reported, “But sources there stress that [Elliott] will not replace any of NBC Sports’ current on-air analysts and talent.” So NBC Sports stole him away with a big paycheck just to try and damage GMA. Whether or not it will have an effect remains to be seen, but it's clear that CAA – their NY group of Wattenberg and Metzger – are just playing into NBC's hands. Yes, perhaps they're getting their clients a bit more money, but these moves are clearly not in the best LONGTERM interest of the talent.

    • Trish Chasity

      Well put Bill well put!

  • chien_clean

    That's a good pick-up. I hope he knows hockey.

  • Uncle Fester

    Happy to see that ABC refused to pay Elliott the ridiculous amount he was deluded to believe he was worth. The man offered nothing special to the show — a dime a dozen talent.

  • TwiggyB

    Well said, Bill N!!!

    And what happens when NBC's ratings slip even further??? So far, they've done nothing to make me turn in. I'm still watching ABC, CBS and the local stations in the morning. I totally skip NBC unless it's something I'm interested in.

    And where did I read that Matt Lauer is leaving this summer or later this year? And now that Savannah Guthrie is married & pregnant, where does that leave the Today Show?
    Y-A-W-N!

    And all of this because Management & Matt Lauer couldn't figure out a way to work with Ann Curry. This is very expensive even for NBC/GE. Dummies . . .

    • msdivadazz

      The today show will not gain ratings until they rid the show of Matt Lauer and Al Roker. They are so boring. No fun. GMA is like having a cup of Joe I the Morning where as The today show is like taking ambien.

  • scottml43

    I like Amy very much. Josh can take or not take. Lara Spencer don't particularly like but she's okay. I will still watch GMA at least until they get rid of Matt Lauer! I think they need another male presence though.

  • T. perry

    Sad to see Josh go. He and Lara are like brother and sister…the group worked very well together. The chemistry seemed almost flawless. Initially I thought George wouldn't be a good fit, turns out I was wrong. Guess I'll get used to seeing more of Amy now but am really going to miss it the way it was. Including Sam…

    • msdivadazz

      I agree… Loved the two of them together.

  • Dirk Digler

    And The Today Show rejoices. Until it realizes that it still has Carson Daily. And cringe-inducing segments of humiliating embarrassment like “Love Your Selfie.”

    No. Actually, The Today Show will not benefit from this news…

  • Catherine L Smith

    I am so sorry that GMA is losing Josh Elliott!!!! Lara Spencer is the one who should be LEAVING. She is so full of herself….Cathy S

  • June

    I am. No longer watching GMA .i agree Lara is full of herself,Amy doesn't add anything for me.Robin acts like she a queen. George is good. I will stick with Today.GMA has lost its stars.