If you believe the New York Post's Page Six, then you'll want to know that “GMA” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos is frustrated with “GMA” staff changes as he begins to negotiate his contract with ABC, sources tell the gossip page.
Page Six says that multiple sources told us George, the last man standing at the morning show after Sam Champion and Josh Elliott departed in recent weeks, is concerned about the softer direction of “GMA” — and the addition of yet more entertainment personalities.
Stephanopoulos, who also anchors ABC’s Sunday news show “This Week,” is in early contract negotiations with the network. The newsman earns around $8 million a year, just over half of the $14 million “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts is said to have received when she re-upped her contract in December. Elliott jumped ship to NBC a week ago after he demanded $10 million from ABC and didn’t get it.
News reporters including Cynthia McFadden and Bill Weir have all followed Champion and Elliot out of ABC recently. Meanwhile, ABC is in talks with “Live with Kelly and Michael” co-host Michael Strahan to join the “GMA” team. “They continue to bring in all of these people like Strahan, who is not a news person,” our source sniffed.
Insiders told us Stephanopoulos has already made clear that he wants to do more serious news programming and take over for Diane Sawyer on “World News” when she eventually steps down. While David Muir is still seen as the heir apparent to “World News,” another TV insider said, following Elliott’s recent ugly departure, “They can’t afford to lose George. He’s going to get a serious pay increase. He could easily up his salary to $12 million a year or more.”
But Stephanopoulos told us last night, “So much of what you’ve been told is false. What I can say is that I’m proud of our continued success at ‘GMA,’ ‘This Week’ and ABC News, and I’m confident that will continue.”
An ABC rep added, “George and all of ABC News are all thrilled by the success of his two No. 1 shows, ‘GMA’ and ‘This Week,’ and we’re confident that success and our partnership will continue.”