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Former "GMA" co-host Josh Elliott yesterday joined NBC Sports and while he "compared himself to being 'the last man on the bench of the Showtime Lakers,'" it is "not likely that NBC is paying him to be a bench warmer on a roster of starters that includes Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Dan Patrick," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Elliott will "work on the Triple Crown races and the French Open" and do "interviews and features" for "SNF." He also will "have a role" at the '16 Summer Games in Rio and future Olympics. All other details "are to be determined." It is "obvious that Elliott’s ESPN work did not make him a valuable commodity to NBC." It was his work at "GMA" that "elevated his profile and gave him the leverage to be in demand to two media giants." He is "another versatile broadcaster for NBC’s sports properties." Elliott would be "a reasonable candidate to replace Costas as the prime-time Olympic host when Costas decides to step aside." But there is "no sign" that Costas will do so "anytime soon" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/3). On Long Island, Neil Best notes Elliott is set to "make his NBC debut during coverage of the Kentucky Derby on May 3." NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said that Elliott's "ability to reach both avid and more casual sports fans was appealing to NBC" (NEWSDAY, 4/3). Elliott said that he "did not leave 'Good Morning America' for a higher salary." He added, "It had nothing to do with money." Elliott: "It wasn't at all about anyone or anything at ABC. It was about what lies ahead for me at NBC Sports. I have always wanted to be part of an Olympics broadcast, and the opportunity to cover sports that captivate America was too good to pass up" (PEOPLE.com, 4/2).
Tiger Woods on Tuesday announced that he would miss The Masters next week due to back surgery, and while it is "hard to estimate exactly how much of an effect it might have" on TV ratings, it is "unlikely that it won't have any effect," according to Luke Kerr-Dineen of GOLF DIGEST. The Masters' lowest rating, seen in '12, corresponded with Woods' "worst-ever professional finish (T-40) at the Augusta National -- something widely highlighted in the event's aftermath." When Woods "was back in contention in 2013, ratings spiked" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/1). BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK's Ira Boudway wrote CBS execs "must have hoped it was an April Fools' joke" when Woods made his announcement, as "history suggests the ratings will suffer without him." On average, ratings across the 19-year span of Woods' career at the Masters have increased 63% from "round three on Saturday to the final round on Sunday." In years when Woods is "within five strokes after Saturday, the average increase" is 69%. So with Woods "out from the beginning this time, CBS will likely be building from a subpar Saturday" (BUSINESSWEEK.com, 4/2).