March 31, 2014 3:01pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
ABC's Josh Elliott Taking Pay Cut to Move to NBC
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.
Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Elliott will make $4 million annually in a long-term contract that also includes a production deal. That's less than the $5 million ABC News was willing to shell out to keep him. Apparently the production deal that offers potential opportunities at NBCUniversal's vast suite of cable channels and the staggering audiences that tune in for sports programming on NBC proved sufficiently enticing to the anchor. Sources tell THR that Elliott was asking for $10 million in an escalating contract that topped out at $13 million. Those figures were far beyond what ABC News executives were willing to pay.
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 as GMA'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.”