Morning Media Newsfeed: GMA Ups Spencer | Everest Special Nixed | Journalists Freed in Syria

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Lara Spencer Named Co-Host of Good Morning America (TVNewser)
Lara Spencer has been promoted to co-host of Good Morning America, joining George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, ABC News president James Goldston announced Friday. FishbowlDC Goldston sent a memo to staff with the announcement, highlighting Spencer’s “style, humor, sunny confidence, wonderful journalism and storytelling” and the two-year anniversary of GMA breaking “Today’s 852-week winning streak.” Mediaite Spencer rejoined ABC News three years ago as the lifestyle anchor on GMA after an extended stint in syndication and on CBS’ Early Show. Variety The move comes as GMA has been in the midst of change, with two members of the on-air staff that helped the show pass NBC’s Today in both total viewers as well as those between 25 and 54, the demo most coveted by advertisers, departed. Spencer is also now a veteran presence on the program, which has two new faces after the departures of meteorologist Sam Champion and news anchor Josh Elliott. ABC recently enlisted Michael Strahan, the former football player who has added new momentum to the company’s syndicated morning Live With Kelly And Michael, to take part in occasional GMA segments. The Associated Press The other current members of the GMA family are Amy Robach and Ginger Zee. Spencer was the show’s national correspondent from 1999 to 2004. Then, for seven years, she was a host of The Insider.

Discovery Cancels Everest Live Special After Avalanche (Capital New York)
Discovery Channel has canceled its planned Everest Jump Live special, which was slated to air in early May, after an avalanche on Friday killed 13 sherpas preparing the mountain for the season. Deadline Hollywood Friday morning NBC News, whose Peacock Productions was producing Discovery’s Mt. Everest live jump, had said “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the avalanche occurred Thursday night. Saturday, the project’s star, climber Joby Ogwyn, tweeted that the project would continue, but Discovery and other participants decided otherwise and the decision to pull the plug was made Sunday morning. TVNewser NBC News had a crew in place at a Mt. Everest base camp when the avalanche struck. Entertainment Weekly / Inside TV Everest Jump Live was set to air on May 11, chronicling Ogwyn’s planned leap off the top of Mt. Everest and gliding down in a wingsuit. The network also planned a five-night late-night talk show dedicated to promoting and discussing the special. Friday’s avalanche has been dubbed the single deadliest incident in Everest climbing history.

French Journalists Kidnapped in Syria Freed (Al Jazeera)
Four French journalists kidnapped in Syria last June by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL) have been found by Turkish soldiers on the border with Syria with their hands and eyes bound. An unknown group brought the journalists to the border. CNN Edouard Elias, Didier François, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres are in good health despite the tough conditions they endured during their captivity, the Elysee Palace said in a statement. The four men had been held since June last year. NYT Two of the journalists, François and Elias, were working for Europe 1, a television channel. Henin was a freelance writer who had worked extensively for Le Point, a weekly magazine, as well as numerous other French-language news outlets, and Torres was a freelance photographer, according to several French news outlets. Reuters François and Elias were abducted in early June en route to Aleppo. Henin and Torres were captured later in June, but France did not announce their kidnapping until October. Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Last month, two Spanish journalists were freed after being held hostage in Syria since September by the ISIL rebel group.