Murphy’s Law: Diane Sawyer “Better Re-up”

By Chris Ariens 

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Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

If Diane Sawyer plans to leave “Good Morning America” when her contract expires later this year, it’s news to “GMA” boss Jim Murphy.

“I don’t think there will be any changes,” he says. “I don’t want to see her go to another show. It’s her life, obviously, and she’ll do whatever is best for her, as well she should. I know she likes ‘GMA’ and she knows ‘GMA’ loves her.”

Love only goes so far when you’re 63 and have been trudging through the Dawn Patrol for more than a decade. As one of the most politically-savvy players in the game, however, Sawyer would never publicly show her hand.

When asked about the possibility of her possibly exiting ABC altogether, Murphy shifts into overdrive.

“She better re-up. She’s the best, the smartest, the hardest-working, the most talented anchor in the business. I and everyone else here want her to stay.”

Meanwhile, “GMA” pulled a musical coup last week by landing Bono’s U2 for its first-ever morning show performance, on March 6. The band’s new album is titled “No Line on the Horizon.”

How did No. 2 “GMA” land the get over NBC’s No. 1 “Today”?

According to Murphy, no money exchanged hands (“U2 doesn’t need our money”) and no quid pro quo (prime-time special, TV movie, etc.) was promised.

“We went in with a creative plan,” he says. “It’s really about providing an environment the band will like, a location it will like and a presentation it will like, and then getting behind it.”

To wit, as sweeteners for Britney Spears to launch her comeback “Circus” album on “GMA,” ABC produced a 50-second promo that ran in targeted movie theaters and arranged for her to perform in a “Big Apple Circus” tent behind Lincoln Center.

For U2, ABC aired a 15-second promo during Sunday’s Oscars – a very tough placement. “GMA” will continue flogging it every day. As for where U2 will actually perform, Murphy’s not talking.

“The band is known for bringing a lot of surprises every time it releases a new album,” he says cryptically. “We’re going to do that with them.”

More and more bands are dropping albums on morning shows because “it sort of sets the day’s agenda,” says Murphy. “The clips get online and spread quickly.”

Next stop, the music industry hopes, would be iTunes, where Murphy watches his son “download away my life savings all the time.”