UPDATE, 6:40 AM: GMA gang this morning told viewers that Josh Elliott is leaving the show to go to work for NBC Sports, marking the second successful poaching of a GMA cast member by NBCU, and that he would be replaced as news anchor by Amy Robach, who was on the scene – Elliott himself was on “vacation.” Meanwhile, over at NBC, Al Roker publicly congratulated Elliot, via Twitter, for his “conscious uncoupling” from GMA/ABC. Watch here:
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UPDATE, 6:30 AM: Josh Elliott‘s former Good Morning America colleague Sam Champion weighed in this morning on Elliott’s announced exit from the ABC morning infotainment show to go to work for NBC Sports. Champion, who was also poached by NBCU and now works at The Weather Channel, called it “a great opportunity for Josh’s heart,” adding, “I know that fans of GMA are not loving it.” Watch here:
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: After an intense negotiation with ABC News, Good Morning America news anchor Josh Elliott is leaving the network for NBC Sports. ABC News wasted no time in announcing his replacement: Amy Robach, who has been part of the GMA team for some time, including filling in for Robin Roberts at various moments when she was out for medical reasons. Elliott, who had been making about $1.2 million salary at GMA, turned down an offer to stay with the show for $4-$5 million. After his fellow anchor Lara Spencer nailed down a lucrative multiyear contract Thursday, Elliott raised his ask to $10 million a year. With Elliott, NBC is getting a strong sports guy — a next generation Bob Costas — who previously worked at ESPN. Per the terms of Elliott’s exit, he cannot appear on NBC’s Today for six months according to people familiar with the situation. Elliott is the second member of the ensemble team that put GMA in first place in the morning show ratings race, and to depart for an NBCUniversal property. In December, NBCU successfully poached longtime GMA weatherman Sam Champion who is now a bigwig at their Weather Channel. In much the same way they did today, ABC announced Champion’s replacement, Ginger Zee, minutes after it was reported that he was leaving. In the wake of Champion’s departure, GMA has scored some of its highest ratings ever.
The GMA negotiations have been going on for a long time. As a matter of coincidence, four out of the five players on GMA had their contract renewals come up at approximately the same time. But has been ABC News’ practice under its president Ben Sherwood (who was recently named co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, replacing Anne Sweeney), the network always had a game plan in place for moving on.
GMA isn’t done negotiating yet. GMA’s George Stephanopoulos reportedly is paid about $6 million a year; his contract runs through this calendar year.
Sherwood sent the following note to the ABC News division today about the transition:
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.
Please join me in congratulating Amy on her well-earned promotion. And let’s bid goodbye to Josh with gratitude and good wishes.