UPDATED with additional details: Three days after CBS News top brass got blindsided when Josh Elliott announced on-air that he was leaving the CBSN anchor desk, and issued a statement saying Elliott “is going to be taking field assignments and reporting longform pieces as well” across various platforms, CBS News says Elliott is out.
The decision to part company with Elliott was made over the weekend by CBS News President David Rhodes, according to an insider.
“CBS News and Josh Elliott are parting ways. Josh will no longer be reporting for CBS News,” the news division said today in its statement. “We are grateful for his contributions over the last year, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.” Elliott’s contract with CBS News was set to expire until April of 2018, so CBS News’s move today could effectively bench him for more than a year. Today’s announcement blindsided Elliott, who had been telling friends he was following the lead of his senior producer in making his Friday sign-off announcement.
That day, a CBS News insider had insisted Elliott’s on-air announcement did not signal an imminent exit from the news division – though, in the absence of any coinciding announcement from the news division, it certainly quacked like a guy trying to get out in front of the narrative. Elliott told viewers it was his last day in the daytime anchor chair at CBSN, then he added, “although, knowing how things work around here, I may see you again on Monday morning.”
Informed source says Elliott delivered that sign-off after learning he was going to be taken off the digital anchor duties, but would be given the opportunity to do other things. CBS News did not plan to make any announcement about the change, and had not approved Elliott’s on-air reveal – which, where we come from, is known as a “red flag.”
After he informed viewers of the change, division insiders continued to insist Friday that Elliott’s so-long did not signal things were not well in the relationship; it was a move to un-tether the journalist from the anchor chair so he could be seen more prominently reporting across the news division’s marquee shows, they said.
Elliott’s dramatic departure is the latest eyebrow-raiser in the increasingly volatile world of TV News on-air talent. Just days earlier, Tamron Hall took a powder at NBC News, after learning during contract re-up talks that she would no longer get to co-anchor the 9 AM hour of Today show, which would instead be used to open an hour of the important franchise to newly-hired Megyn Kelly, whose recent tenure at and exit from Fox News Channel is the stuff of HBO movies.