Now that ABC News has cleaned house, it probably needs to fill it back up.
Executives at the Disney news division — and its corporate parent — hoped to cut recent scrutiny by parting ways with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, the co-anchors of early-afternoon program “GMA3” who also had a romantic relationship despite being married to other people. On Friday, the two sides broke up, so to speak, with ABC News President Kim Godwin telling staffers she hoped their departure would end a period of “distraction” at the home of “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight.”
But Godwin and her team are likely to face a period of rebuilding.
Holmes and Robach leave ABC News as it needs to focus more closely on lining up a new tier of talent. Cecilia Vega, a Washington correspondent who frequently filled in for Robin Roberts on “GMA3,” recently left ABC News for a new role at “60 Minutes.” And ABC News has been without an obvious replacement for evening-news anchor David Muir since Tom Llamas departed in 2021.
To be sure, ABC News does not consist solely of Muir, Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Linsey Davis has gained new responsibilities in recent years, particularly on ABC News’ streaming hub. Earlier this month, Rachel Scott was promoted to senior congressional correspondent. Rebecca Jarvis has recently gained notice for work that spans into audio and streaming. And Stephanie Ramos, Gio Benitez, Rhiannon Ally and DeMarco Morgan have filled in on “GMA3” during what one person familiar with internal feelings at ABC News describes as a “tumultuous” time.
ABC News declined to make executives available for comment.
It’s not clear, however, that executives or colleagues feel there’s a natural choice for a successor at the morning or evening programs. Muir has been at the helm of “World News Tonight” since 2014 and has no reason to step away — he’s in first place in the ratings and is one of the most-watched people on the Disney broadcast network. Nor is there any immediate sense that Roberts or Stephanopoulos might step down. But there is a sense internally that both morning anchors have been in those roles for many years, and that candidates for potential succession should be in place.
Others have left ABC News for different opportunities. Dan B. Harris, the longtime “Nightline” co-anchor and weekend “GMA” veteran, left ABC News in 2021 to focus on his entrepreneurial media venture “Ten Percent Happier.” Some ABC News staffers were surprised to see Kaylee Hartung, who joined ABC News in 2019, then left to take a role on Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football,” turn up in recent weeks at NBC News’ ‘Today Show.”
Some decisions will need to be made soon. Godwin said in her memo that choices for who would replace Robach and Holmes at “GMA3” and Robach on “20/20” would “come later.” That has raised some hackles among rank and file at ABC News, some of whom wish management made decisions more quickly in recent weeks. Besides, developing talent for the news division’s most prominent roles can take months to do.