ABC News has demoted its besieged chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, after having failed in an "exclusive" report on Donald Trump and Russia.
News President James Goldston announced to his employees on Friday that Ross would be reassigned to ABC News & # 39; out of the production house, Lincoln Square Productions. Ross, who had been scheduled to return from an unpaid four-week suspension on Thursday, will not resume his former long-term role. It is believed that he retains his title of "correspondent in chief of investigation", although he is not expected to be seen on ABC with live reports, so it is not clear how he will perform those duties.
Lincoln Square Productions is separated from the rest of ABC News and creates unscripted programming for ABC and cable channels such as Discovery Life and Investigation Discovery. The Disney-owned unit is housed in a separate building, located a few blocks from ABC News, which houses "The Chew" and "Dr. Oz" and was home to the most important soap operas until 2011.
Lincoln Square Productions It seems a strange adjustment for Ross, a hard and hard news reporter. Lincoln Square recently called "hard news". His biggest show is the reality show "What Would You Do?" On ABC, although it has also produced a more serious documentary program.
Ross will continue to appear on both "20/20" and "Nightline" as needed, according to a source close to the situation. However, not everyone involved in the network agrees.
"He will never be on ABC again," said an ABC connoisseur about Ross. The source speculated that the correspondent received a sinecure while his contract ends.
Members of the Ross research unit who are not relocated to the new building will continue working for ABC News and will not lose their jobs, according to an ABC source.
"[Brian Ross] will never reappear on ABC"
White House Chief Justice Jonathan Karl and Senior Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas are expected to select some of the The investigation reports that I normally go to Ross, specifically when it involves President Trump or Mueller's investigation.
Goldston told employees last month that Ross could never again cover President Trump. ABC News has moved increasingly away from research and hard news in recent years and has no other dedicated research correspondent.
Ross' production company, Rhonda Schwartz, whose contract is related to Ross, is also moving to Lincoln Square. .
Ross was initially suspended after improperly reporting on live television that national security adviser Michael Flynn would testify that Trump had ordered him to contact the Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump's impeachment and caused the stock market to fall.
After ABC was forced to retract the report, Goldston said in a conference call that he never felt more "anger, disappointment and frustration" in his entire career.
Right after Ross's suspension, President Trump told the crowd in Florida that Ross should have been fired.
"They took this ABC fraudster," said Trump. "They suspended him for a month, they should have fired him for what he wrote, he drove to the stock market for 350 points in minutes, which, by the way, tells you they really want me, right? When you think about it, and you know what What did it cost the people? And I told everyone to appropriate a lawyer and sue ABC News, sue them. "
For his part, Ross wrote on Twitter that his job" is to hold people accountable. "and noted:" That's why I agree with who is responsible for myself. "
Ross & Gaga was the latest in a series of black marks for the award-winning reporter, who has been on ABC News since 1994 after to spend almost two decades on NBC. He had not been sanctioned for past mistakes.
ABC News did not respond to the request for comment.