Another member of morning television's top rated family is leaving home. Josh Elliott, who joined ABC's Good Morning America in 2011 and helped ride it ahead of NBC's Today, is leaving for a high profile role at NBC Sports. He'll be replaced as news anchor by Amy Robach. But is it the last we'll see of Elliott in the morning? It's one of several questions TV news people are asking.
Will Elliott eventually replace Matt Lauer on Today?
An executive at NBC says Elliott's new deal is with the sports division and does not stipulate any role at NBC News. But never say never. NBC does not have a clear succession plan if Lauer exercises an option to leave at the end of this year. Lauer could stay. But having Elliott at NBC gives Today another option if executives decide current family members Willie Geist and Carson Daly are not the future. "There's no doubt that's one of the reasons they brought Elliott in," says one news industry insider familiar with the talks. "It gives them a safety net and leverage with Matt."
Why wouldn't ABC give Elliott a bigger raise to keep him?
Robin Roberts received a major salary increase to $12 to $14 million a year because she is seen as indispensible to keeping Good Morning America No. 1. Clearly, network executives did not believe letting Elliott walk would have much of a negative impact on ratings especially when they have Robach, whose courageous battle with breast cancer became a national story and made her a sympathetic figure to the audience.
Don't cast changes on morning shows usually hurt the ratings?
Morning TV viewers don't like change once they've settled on a team they like. But GMA has not seen any major fallout from the defection of Sam Champion earlier this year.
What does this mean for George Stephanopoulos, whose deal with ABC is up later this year?
Elliott's departure gives GMA (and This Week) anchor Stephanopoulos some leverage in his next negotiation, as he provides the most of the news calories left on the program. "There would be consequences but not huge," the news insider said. "But not the same consequences as Robin."