George Stephanopoulos Finalizes New Long-Term Deal With ABC News
George Stephanopoulos has signed a new long-term deal that will keep him at top-rated Good Morning America as well as Sunday public affairs program This Week.
Stephanopoulos' current contract was not set to expire until the end of the year, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. But the new deal, said to be even longer than the standard three-year TV news contract, was finalized very quickly, with representatives for Stephanopoulos and ABC News executives initiating talks only in the last few weeks.
The negotiation stands in stark contrast to the recent impasse with former GMA anchor Josh Elliott, who earlier this month left ABC News for NBC Sports after several months of very public and ultimately futile contract talks between ABC News executives and Elliott's representatives at CAA. Elliott's defection was preceded by the departure of weather anchor Sam Champion, leaving Stephanopoulos as the sole male anchor left on the program. That gender imbalance has been ameliorated by the addition of Live! With Kelly and Michael co-host Michael Strahan, who made his debut on GMA April 15. Additionally, ESPN's Tony Reali was named a GMA contributor on April 10.
Lara Spencer renewed her pact in March and has since been promoted to co-host of GMA alongside Robin Roberts and Stephanopoulos. But the recent anchor shuffle at GMA obviously made keeping Stephanopoulos a top priority, hence the early contract talks. Stephanopoulos joined GMA in 2009. At the time, he was seen as an unorthodox choice for the fluffier confines of morning TV. But he has grown into the role -- so much so that the previously accepted transition scenario of succeeding Diane Sawyer on World News has all but fallen away. World News weekend anchor David Muir is now the heir apparent to Sawyer.
Good Morning America is seeing its largest overall audience in more than 22 years and its best tune-in among news' target demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds in eight years, since before the 1991-92 season.