Josh Elliott raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he told ABC News president Ben Sherwood that he would be leaving Good Morning America, where he served as news anchor since 2011, for a role with NBC Sports.
For Elliott, the move was a personal one. He simply wanted to get back to his roots as a sports anchor and reporter, which he did for many years with ESPN and Sports Illustrated prior to GMA.
"I grew up with a love for sports that has been unrivaled," Elliott said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday where he was officially announced as NBC Sports' newest on-air talent. "Coming here was the best decision for me, but it was a decision that was tough to make."
Soon after Elliott's move to NBC was announced, speculation immediately started about a potential role with GMA rival Today, and what it could mean for anchor Matt Lauer, who himself has a contract expiring soon. "No news role has been discussed," said Elliott, who had a non-compete clause in his ABC contract that bars him from appearing on Today for a period of time. "I hope Matt Lauer is here when I step away from this gig 30 years down the road."
Elliott continued: "I can assure you this decision was a deeply personal decision to return to a world at a level I could never have dreamed." NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus, who was also on the call, said he and Elliott are currently focused solely on sports. (He makes his debut May 3 during NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby).
"That's something that I would discuss with NBC News or NBC Entertainment down the line," he said. "The mission right now is to get Josh integrated with NBC Sports."
Elliott's move to NBC Sports came on the heels of a lengthy contract negotiation with ABC, which led to speculation that he left partly over money.
"They also put a generous and wonderful offer on the table," he explained, disputing reports that it played a factor into him leaving. "It was not an acrimonious parting at all."
Elliott also disputed the multiple reports that surfaced about in-fighting with the GMA staff. "I have been amazed, even as somebody who's been in the business for a bit now, at how a deeply personal choice became almost a bit player in this absurdist melodrama." He labeled the reports as "categorically untrue."
He said he was unsure if he would get any sort of farewell on GMA; though George Stephanapolous wished him well on Monday's show.
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