Elliott, who had served as CBSN’s lead daytime anchor for a year, bid farewell to viewers on Friday, saying it was to be his “last day.”
Instead, on Monday morning, Elliott was called before his boss David Rhodes, and fired. A source said, “Josh was told he had shown bad judgement by making the announcement, and was walked out of the building by security.” CBS confirmed in a statement, “CBS News and Josh Elliott are parting ways. Josh will no longer be reporting for CBS News.”
Page Six at The NY Post reports Elliott had recently met with Laurie Orlando, the network’s head of talent, who told him she wanted him to take on a bigger role at CBS News. “Josh thanked his co-workers at CBSN,” said the insider. “He didn’t go rogue — his goodbye message was on the teleprompter. But executives at CBS News were somehow stunned and taken by surprise.”
Another insider said, “Josh was told by his exec producer to make the announcement on Friday, but the plan was never relayed up the chain of command. David Rhodes was embarrassed, so he fired Josh, who didn’t do much more than thank his colleagues at CBSN. This was of a lack of communication at CBS News, and Josh was fired to cover up their mistake.”
On Monday, Rhodes decided to end CBS’s relationship with Mr. Elliott and told him in a morning meeting. According to The NYTimes, Rhodes told senior CBS News officials at an editorial meeting on Monday that he had asked Elliott to leave because his announcement on Friday had created unnecessary confusion, according to two people present at the meeting.
Mr. Rhodes was also apparently concerned that Mr. Elliott’s announcement could stoke unwanted speculation about Mr. Elliott’s future, and the future of other anchors, according to the people present.
Elliott now has the dubious distinction of having left three networks. He was a host at ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but quit in 2014 to go to NBC, and worked on sports. Frustrated with his lack of air time, he left NBC in 2015 and joined CBSN in 2016. He is still being paid by CBS for the rest of his $5.5 million-a-year contract.