A staple of Good Morning America, Josh Elliott recently announced that he’ll be moving to what he calls a “bigger job down the road” with an NBC address. Some entertainment gossip mongers say that Bob Costas and Matt Lauer should be worried.
It’s been reported that nobody saw Elliott’s resignation coming, least of all the hot shots at ABC who got the notification via email late on a Sunday night in March. This was quickly followed by a PR campaign to announce Elliott’s move to NBC Sports for the handsome sum of $4 million per year.
According to an ABC network source, “This had little to do with money. Josh feels there’s a higher ceiling for him at NBC and that means he is now a threat to both Bob Costas and Matt Lauer.” It’s rumored that ABC hiked Elliott’s salary offer to $5 million per year, but he allegedly wanted more if he was going to stay at a network that had less growth potential.
His current salary is a “paltry” $1 million a year. It’s rumored that ABC is upset about how Elliott handled his resignation and the PR fallout.
No room for negotiations
Ben Sherwood, one of ABC’s higher-ups, had asked Elliott to have a “sit down” but he refused. Sherwood had personally selected Elliott to join ABC after spotting him as an ESPN co-anchor back in 2011.
It’s been reported that Elliott delivered Sherwood a veritable slap to the face by refusing to meet, even though this is the man who put him squarely in the co-anchor seat of GMA. Speculations are swirling that Elliott might have Lauer’s NBC job in his sights, although Deborah Turness, News President of NBC, says the network is currently happy with its talent.
Elliott’s quick-and-dirty-exit surprised many executives, but they did have a plan in case this happened. Perhaps they were alerted of the ship abandonment potential when salary negotiations didn’t go well.
Amy Robach was tapped to be Elliott’s replacement after winning her cancer battle, even though “Robach and Spencer don’t get along, and now they must share desk space; Lara was furious when she heard the news,” says a source.
Of course, ABC has offered the obligatory disclaimer that there’s “zero truth that Amy and Lara don’t get along.”
How much room at the top?
Whether or not Elliott is eyeing currently occupied positions at NBC is up for debate, but one thing is certain: He can’t appear on Today for at least six months, according to his ABC contract. Whether or not he chose dirty tricks to make this transition is a hot topic right now, and there are also murmurings that Elliott wants to get back into live sports (an NBC position currently occupied by Costas).
In what’s called an underhanded move by many Elliott critics, some say he’s employed short cuts similar to black hat tricks used by shady web design companies to get what he wants.
It might get him where he needs to be in the short term, but not without making plenty of enemies. The odds of a payoff in his favor may be slim, but clearly he sees it as a risk worth taking. George Stephanopoulos gave an informal farewell to Elliott with a simple, “Josh, it has been a great run with you here on GMA,” but no other adieu has been released from ABC.
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