ABC News was prepared to pay Elliott $5 million to stay at “Good Morning America” while NBC Sports is said to be ponying up $4 million plus a production deal.
Josh Elliott is leaving Good Morning America for a job at NBC Sports that will pay him less than he would have received if he had stayed at ABC News.
In an unusually candid company-wide email sent Sunday night, ABC News president Ben Sherwood noted that the news division “in good faith” had “worked hard to close a significant gap between our generous offer and [Elliott’s] expectations.
“In the end,” continued Sherwood, “Josh felt he deserved a different deal and so he chose a new path.”
Sources say that the email has been perceived within ABC News as a jab at Elliott and his representatives at CAA. ABC News executives had attempted to make contact with Elliott on Sunday, but his agents informed them that he was tired from traveling and still thinking, say sources. He then sent Sherwood an email at 6:45 p.m. announcing his decision.
A non-compete clause in Elliott’s ABC contract precludes him from appearing on NBC’s news programs for six months. And sources at NBC News and close to Elliott stress that the deal is confined to sports. But the pitched battle between GMA and Today – and the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in morning TV – makes speculation about a possible role on Today inevitable.
Meanwhile, ABC News already has installed Amy Robach as Elliott’s replacement asGMA‘s news anchor. And while her position is considered secure – she is a diverse correspondent who can handle the mix of hard news and lighter features inherent to morning TV – ABC News also is expected to add at least one more new face to the roster. And it will mostly likely be another man, to balance what is now an all-female cast with the exception of George Stephanopoulos.
Certainly the new gender imbalance is not lost on the show’s anchors. On Monday’s GMA,Lara Spencer joked: “The estrogen is flowing.”