Dan B. Harris, an anchor who has served multiple roles at ABC News in the past two decades and co-anchored the weekend broadcast of “Good Morning America,” is stepping away from the Disney-backed news operation.
He expects to leave in two months, he announced to viewers of Sunday’s broadcast.
”This was a difficult decision for me,” Harris said, noting the continuing demands of running Ten Percent Happier, an entrepreneurial media venture he has that focuses on meditation. “It’s been a lot to juggle and even though I’m a public proponent of work/life balance, if I’m honest, I’ve struggled to follow my own advice.” Harris told viewers that Kim Godwin, president of ABC News, and Peter Rice, chairman of general entertainment content at Walt Disney Co., had agreed to let him out of his current contract early.
ABC News has placed new emphasis on the weekend broadcast of “GMA” in recent years, adding a new hour on Saturday and gaining clearance for the program on additional stations.
Harris has been candid about how meditation helped him stave off detrimental thoughts and behaviors. In 2004, as he has related, Harris was filling in o “GMA” and was about to provide an update on headlines when he felt his heart begin to beat faster and could not complete the segment. He began to explore the potential causes of the panic attack with a psychiatrist and also was assigned to cover topics related to faith. In the aftermath, Harris relates, he began to rely more heavily on meditation.
A graduate of Colby College, Harris began his career working at New England media outlets, including WLBZ in Bangor and WCSH in Portland, both, like the college, based in Maine. He joined ABC News in 2000. He was named the weekend co-anchor on “GMA” in 2010 and the co-anchor on “Nightline” in 2013.
Harris isn’t the first TV-news anchor to express a desire to explore other pursuits as the business continues to churn through a particularly intense news cycle. Maureen Maher, a veteran contributor to CBS News’ “48 Hours,” left the program earlier this year to pursue a masters degree in religious studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. Lynn Smith, a longtime anchor for venues such as NBC News and HLN, recently left the business and is offering services as a media trainer.