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For evidence that there may be some lingering bitterness at ABC in the wake of Josh Elliott's departure from "Good Morning America" for NBC Sports, look no further than Thursday's edition of "Good Morning America" where the network bid goodbye to its former star -- without the former star being there.
I'm hearing he was never even invited -- an indication ABC is probably angered at the way this whole thing has shaken out. In a conference call with sports media reporters Wednesday, Elliott said his move was a.) Not about the money nor b.) Had nothing with his relationship with ABC News chief, Ben Sherwood, whom he "loved" and so forth.
However . . . ABC, which offered him a reported $3-5 million to stay (versus the $2-3 million reported deal at NBC), may be feeling burned for a host of reasons. Foremost, even if Elliott never even sets foot inside Studio 1A -- as the potential successor to Matt Lauer, as industry chatter would have it -- he's suddenly put "GMA" in an awkward position. ABC was forced to scramble for a male replacement, surprising everyone, including the likely replacement himself, Michael Strahan. (Amy Robach will be the new news anchor; Strahan's role remains undefined at this point.)
Plus, as I've noted before, this confuses succession plans at ABC. George Stephanopoulos isn't going to be there forever -- hey, no one is going to be anywhere forever, except maybe Robin Roberts who now has a long-term deal and is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of this franchise. It had to have occurred to someone that Elliott might be a reasonable candidate for the job one of these days . . . Remember that in morning TV, successions don't happen over night, but usually take years.
More industry gossip: That Elliott hated the early, early mornings, and the hours, so maybe he had other ideas.
ABC declined to comment for this post, and Elliott could not be reached for comment.