More proof that the morning show drama is never-ending: After weeks of rumors that he was unhappy about his current salary amid contract negotiations, ABC’s “Good Morning America” news anchor Josh Elliott is leaving to join NBC Sports.
ABC News correspondent Amy Robach will replace Elliott effective immediately, the network confirmed Sunday evening. “Amy is a world class anchor and correspondent who is beloved by our morning audience and all who know her,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a note to the news division.
Why, you ask, would Elliott depart for a rival network, right when “GMA” is having its best years on record, routinely beating NBC’s “Today” show and becoming America’s go-to morning show? One reason: Money.
“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,” Sherwood wrote. “In the end, Josh felt he deserved a different deal and so he chose a new path.”
Indeed, there were multiple reports that Elliott was unhappy with his salary compared to his other “GMA” co-anchors, who include George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts (reportedly making about $14 million a year) and Lara Spencer. Elliott’s contract was almost up; Deadline reports he was looking for a pay hike up to around $8 million per year.
A former ESPN sportscaster and “SportsCenter” anchor, Elliott joined the “GMA” team in May 2011, replacing Juju Chang. He has been part of the “GMA” renaissance over the last couple of years, as the “Today” show imploded with Ann Curry’s tumultuous departure in June 2012. Viewers have increasingly been tuning into the “GMA” crew, who actually seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Meanwhile, Robach is more than qualified, Sherwood said, as she’s filled in many times for Roberts, who was out for several months recovering from a bone marrow transplant. Robach, who earlier in her career was a reporter at Washington’s local Fox station, joined ABC in 2012 after serving as the weekend anchor on “Today.” She made headlines last fall when she was diagnosed with breast cancer after undergoing an on-air mammogram for “GMA,” and has been chronicling her journey for viewers.
No word from NBC Sports yet on what Elliott’s role will be, or specifics on how “GMA” will send him off. “I want to thank Josh for his many contributions to GMA and ABC News,” Sherwood said. “Later in the week, we will bid him farewell.”