James Goldston, Ben Sherwood on ABC News, ‘GMA’ Shakeup: ‘We Need to Play Like Underdogs’

Fresh off Goldston’s appointment to ABC News president, the Disney-ABC executives talk to The Wrap about their promotions and recent morning show turnover

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 10:28 AM

James Goldston was officially named Ben Sherwood’s replacement as head of ABC News on Thursday. TheWrap spoke with both Disney-ABC executives about the change in leadership and the changing faces at flagship show, “Good Morning America.”

Sherwood has been working with Goldston — who was widely expected to be named his successor — and the team on the ABC News transition, but has a new job of his own to prepare for: chairman of Disney Media Networks, which he will assume in February.

Also read: Who’s James Goldston? Meet Ben Sherwood’s Potential ABC News Replacement

Sherwood told TheWrap that he has more to learn from predecessor Anne Sweeney than Goldston does from him. At the end of the summer, Ben and family are moving west — at which point the focus for Sherwood will be more on taking over from Sweeney than prepping Goldston on his old post.

TheWrap spoke with both Goldston and Sherwood on Thursday regarding the shuffle:

What will be different under James than under Ben?
James Goldston: “Ben and I have been in lockstep these past three years. There may be some stylistic differences in the way we approach the job but in terms of our big dreams and our hopes … there will be continuity.

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

“GMA” is an ABC News strength, what’s the weakness?
JG: “I don’t think ABC News has ‘weaknesses.’ There are all kinds of areas and new initiatives going on where we want to grow. We see great opportunity in the future.”

BS: “I always have exhorted the team to play like were half a million behind. I much prefer the sensibility that we’re the underdogs. We need to play like underdogs, we need to worry like underdogs, we need to constantly be vigilant like underdogs and we need to try harder like underdogs.”

On Josh Elliott/Sam Champion departing “GMA”
JG: “They saw opportunities to pursue very long held dreams for both of them … I personally miss them both.”

Also read: The State of Disney: What Ben Sherwood Must Tackle

Any worries about future “poaching”?
JG: “We take nothing for granted.”

Ben Sherwood: “On the talent front, there is a long line down the street of anchors and correspondents who would love to participate on ABC News … There are tides in television news and they come and they go.”

On the speculation of Elliott going to “Today” after his non-compete expires
BS: “I know Josh is a man of his word and I believe what he said … we look forward to watching him at the Kentucky Derby.”


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