[Blind Gossip] When it comes to negotiating television contracts with the talent, you should heed the words of Dr. Gregory House: Everybody lies!
Want to know who is lying in several sets of negotiations? It’s everybody! Let’s give you a little insiders’ peek at what is really going on. You’ll see that it’s not all about the money…
Host of a morning show. Old employer: We’re glad he’s gone! Everyone hated him and he’s not that good at his job!
Liars! If you wanted him gone, you wouldn’t have offered to double his salary to stay. The negative stuff that you say as he’s walking out the door is just sour grapes.
Same host. New employer: He is NOT being groomed to take over someone else’s slot.
Liars! Your current host is slipping and you couldn’t give him the boot because you didn’t have a viable replacement. Snagging the new host – and putting him in a position to make a lateral move in the next couple of years – is the perfect solution. Well done.
Host of an entertainment show. Current employer: She is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Everyone here loves her and will miss her.
Liars! She is leaving because everyone at the show hates her. The guests didn’t like her either. You were just biding your time until her current contract ran out. You’re glad she’s gone.
Actress on a national commercial. Current employer: We are thrilled to continue with her as our company spokesperson.
Liars! You are phasing her out due to demands to double her salary coupled with waning consumer interest in her somewhat weird character.
Actress on a youth-oriented series. Current employer: She is not important or valuable enough to deserve a substantial raise, and we are right to pay her only a fraction of what her costar makes.
Liars! You are happily exploiting the fact that she is physically and emotionally exhausted after a very long season. You are also privately telling her that she deserves to be penalized for some unfavorable publicity in the past year that embarrassed your network. However, since that publicity did not affect the show’s ratings, your argument is pretty weak. Also, paying equal costars on a show vastly different amounts breeds resentment and affects performances and promotion. Oh, and don’t think you can lure her back into negotiating with you in person. She is holed up far away in a secret location. Smart move on her part. You’ll have to deal with her people.
Remember, it’s not personal. It’s business! It’s not personal. It’s business!
Host of a morning show/ Old employer, New employer:
Host of an entertainment show/ Entertainment show:
Actress on a national commercial (we’ll accept her character’s name)/ Company:
Actress on a youth-oriented show/ Youth-oriented show:
Host of a morning show/ Old employer, New employer: Josh Elliott, who moved from ABC’s Good Morning America to NBC Sports!
The Hollywood Reporter confirms our original story that Josh left Good Morning America because he thought he was being groomed to take over for Matt Lauer on Today. However, that never happened, and now Josh is out at NBC as well.
Josh Elliott Leaving NBC After Less Than Two Years (Exclusive)
Josh Elliott, the former Good Morning America co-anchor who was considered a major hire in spring 2014 when he was poached from ABC, is leaving NBC after less than two years.
“I’m grateful for the chance to work with the remarkable team at NBC Sports, and appreciate their support as I look forward to what’s next,” Elliott told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
Elliott, 44, was part of the core ABC anchor team that, in 2012, snapped the 16-year winning streak of NBC’s Today. He was tapped in 2011 by then-ABC News president Ben Sherwood, who had watched Elliott on sister network ESPN.
“Josh and NBC Sports mutually decided to part ways, and we wish him the best of luck in the future,” NBC said in a statement to THR.
It’s unclear what Elliott’s next move will be. But there is industry speculation that he could land at Fox Sports, where he would once again work with erstwhile ESPN executive Jamie Horowitz, who is now running programming at the division’s cable networks, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. Horowitz has lately been hiring talent for the cable channels including Jason Whitlock after Whitlock’s rocky stint at ESPN, and Colin Cowherd, who also was hired away from ESPN. In his brief stint as the executive in charge of NBC’s Today, Horowitz championed positioning Elliott as the heir apparent to Matt Lauer. Lauer, who lately has presided over a restabilization at the NBC program, is under contract only until next year.
Publicly, Elliott, who debuted on NBC Sports with the 2014 Kentucky Derby, consistently brushed off prognostications that he would eventually figure prominently on Today. “No news role has been discussed with me,” Elliott told reporters during a conference call announcing his NBC Sports gig in April 2014. “I hope Matt Lauer is here when I step away from this gig 30 years down the road. I can tell you that the only discussions I have had, as they relate to news, [are] ways to supply sports content to them.”
But that was, in fact, the plan hatched by Horowitz during his stint as the executive in charge of Today. Elliott had to sit out a six-month non-compete clause in his ABC contract, but he subsequently appeared on Today in the course of his job as a sports anchor. It’s obvious that he was rather underutilized at NBC Sports, with its numerous marquee rights packages (Sunday Night Football, the Olympics) and no shortage of headliners and correspondents. And exit negotiations between NBC and representatives for Elliott began several weeks ago.
Elliott’s contract negotiations with ABC News were the topic of numerous media reports thanks in part to their protracted nature. Contrary to how anchor exits are generally handled — with a public thank you and well wishes for the future — Sherwood released a statement that revealed in part that there was “a significant gap between our generous offer and [Elliott’s] expectations.” Sources told THR at the time that Elliott was asking for $10 million a year in an escalating contract that topped out at more than $13 million, while ABC News was offering him $5 million annually. Amy Robach, who was a frequent fill-in for Robin Roberts during Roberts’ 2012 illness, immediately replaced Elliott. Since then, Michael Strahan also has become a recurring contributor on the show.
Elliott has maintained that his exit from GMA was driven by a desire to return to sports, where his career began. But it’s also clear that he misses the day-to-day exposure that morning TV afforded him.
Congratulations to Jjparker150 for being the first to guess this part of the blind item correctly!
Host of an entertainment show/ Entertainment show: Maria Menounos from Extra!
After hopping from Entertainment Tonight to Access Hollywood to Extra, Menounos left Extra in May 2014 (one month after we wrote the original blind item) and went to E! News.
Extra was glad to be rid of her.
Ever the lovable colleague, Menounos immediately started stirring up trouble at her new employer. Within one year, she had successfully pushed out Giuliana Rancic as the co-anchor of E! News.
Congratulations to Melly123 for being the first to guess this part of the blind item correctly!
Related: You Can’t Replace Me
Actress on a national commercial (we’ll accept her character’s name)/ Company: It’s Flo from Progressive Insurance!
Out of everyone in this blind item, Flo is the ONLY one to still have her original job!
The company actually WAS thrilled to keep her. They had put out competing rumors themselves that Flo was out the door. It was part of their negotiation with her. They wanted to keep her… but not pay too much for her. They figured the competing messages would knock her off balance and make it seem like they were considering a change after many years. She renegotiated and kept her job.
The character of Flo is played by actress Stephanie Courtney. Fun Facts: Stephanie auditioned for the role of Joan for Mad Men, which she lost to Christina Hendricks. She also auditioned for the role of Pam for The Office, which she lost to Jenna Fischer.
Despite those rejections, Stephanie is now rolling in the Progressive dough. She has appeared in more than 100 commercials for Progressive since 2008!
Lest you think that Flo is a completely original character, you should know that Progressive Insurance in Australia has a similar character, named Kitty, who has appeared in 53 commercials.
Congratulations to Scumby for being the first to guess this part of the blind item correctly!
Actress on a youth-oriented show: Jennette McCurdy from Sam & Cat!
In case you don’t already know, Sam & Cat was an extremely popular show on the youth-focused Nickelodeon channel. It starred Jennette McCurdy and Arianna Grande, and was a spin-off/combination of Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Victorious, which had each starred one of the girls.
Sam & Cat was a huge hit.
Sam & Cat was cancelled two months after we ran our original blind item.
If you think that it makes no sense to cancel an extremely popular show… you’re right! This is a case of another young actress getting screwed over by producers (see link below for another story).
The first season of Sam & Cat was originally contracted for 20 episodes… but it was doing so well that Nickelodeon doubled the order to 40 episodes. That is a huge number of episodes for one season of a scripted show!
So when it was time to negotiate for the second season, it was reasonable to expect that both actresses would see big – and comparable – bumps in pay. However, the producers played dirty, threatening McCurdy with publicly shaming her for some personal issues (risque photos that were released) so that they could pay her half of what they paid Grande. As we told you before about the producers:
You are happily exploiting the fact that she [McCurdy] is physically and emotionally exhausted after a very long season. You are also privately telling her that she deserves to be penalized for some unfavorable publicity in the past year that embarrassed your network. However, since that publicity did not affect the show’s ratings, your argument is pretty weak. Also, paying equal costars on a show vastly different amounts breeds resentment and affects performances and promotion.
After the negotiations fell apart, of course Nickelodeon blamed McCurdy, and wanted every media outlet to lead you to believe it was McCurdy’s fault that the series wasn’t going forward. For example, the Daily News wrote today that:
Grande confirmed on July 14 that their show, a spin-off combination from Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” and “Victorious,” had indeed been axed from the network after a whopping 40-episode first season.
The news came after rumors of a salary dispute involving the actresses, and not long after racy photos of McCurdy, 22, leaked online in March.
The truth is that McCurdy refused to accept unequal pay, and she refused to let producers browbeat her with her own mistakes. Now you know that McCurdy’s behavior did not cause the demise of Sam & Cat. The producer’s greed and nastiness did.
Congratulations to Mystic for being the first to guess this part of the blind item correctly!