Not to cause any trouble - because of course I'd never do that - but who else was intrigued by Robin Roberts' off-handed comment to Sam Champion on this morning's "GMA" that his impending departure "sets an example for all of us?"
Meaningless, probably, and Robin Roberts certainly isn't going anywhere. She is the franchise though Champion's exit will and has launch the inevitable discussions about future cast changes. Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer are up for renewal, and (per TVNewser yesterday) Robin is about to re-sign too.
But we are forgetting one big name here: George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos's sixth anniversary is Dec. 14 (a week from Saturday) and there has been little industry chatter about his next move - interpret that as either an ominous sign or a signal that his future has already been secured.
I'm going with the latter. Stephanopoulos has had a golden run at "GMA" - most notably riding this to the top for the first time in many years; plus "This Week" just closed out its best November in five years. He will someday be the next anchor of "World News," and is currently chief sub, which means the only question is when.
Diane Sawyer - who also had an excellent run here - was at "GMA" exactly a decade. Does that timespan then become the default template for Stephanopoulos? That would be very hard to believe; there's no such thing as a "template" or magic figure here. It's dependent on many factors - chief among them the performance of "World News." If "WN" slips, then the conversation becomes a different one.
But "WN" is only a breath behind "Nightly News" -- and a bigger draw among women viewers. There are no manifest signs of concern there either.
What is clear is that Stephanopoulos can write his own ticket: He is a major Washington player thanks to "This Week," with no obvious diminution in professional stature whenever he interviews (say) a "Dancing with the Stars" contestant. A master politician, he has somehow -- magically -- secured a middle ground that few others in TV can ever hope to accomplish, or have - as an anchor on a happy-talk morning show, and as a Serious Newsman on a Sunday morning public affairs program.
Depending on his contract status, any network would be happy to have him: CBS, on "60 Minutes," maybe one day as Bob Schieffer's replacement; CNN, as the voice and face of the entire shebang; NBC, at "Meet the Press" or even -- intriguing, but admittedly a spectacular longshot -- as Matt Lauer's replacement.
ABC is probably the future - "probably" the operative word.
Meanwhile, this morning's clip from "GMA:"