Josh Elliott made his CBSN debut this morning, a day earlier than planned, jumping in at noon ET to help anchor coverage of the ISIS attacks in Belgium. Elliott had been scheduled to begin tomorrow at 9 AM.
On March 1, CBS News announced Elliott had been named lead anchor of its digital streaming service. He exited NBC Sports in December, less than two years after leaving ABC News’ Good Morning America to join the sport division at the rival network. Elliott had been part of the GMA team that wrested the morning-show ratings crown away from Today after the NBC stalwart’s 16-year stranglehold on the No. 1 spot. NBC responded by poaching Elliott, and conventional wisdom at the time was that he was being groomed to replace Today’s Matt Lauer down the road, though Elliott called NBC Sports his “dream job.” And, of course, there was that pesky six-month non-compete clause in Elliott’s contract with ABC, which prevented him from appearing on Today. (These days, Willie Geist is being groomed as Lauer’s heir apparent and, to that end, is expected to take over the Sunday edition of Today.)
In CBS’ announcement of Elliott’s hire, made by news chief David Rhodes, Elliott said, “The chance to do what I so enjoy doing at a place that values its journalism above all else is a gift for which I’m very grateful.”
Elliott’s not the first anchor to start early owing to a terrorist attack. Back in 2001, Aaron Brown received widespread praise when he debuted on CNN earlier than his intended start date in order to anchor coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.