T.J. & Amy ABC Tells Staffers About Exit ... 'A Distraction for So Many of Us'

T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach are officially out at ABC, as we first told you, and now, the network has filled in its entire staff on the decision to let them go.

In a company-wide email sent Friday and obtained by TMZ, ABC News President Kim Godwin told staffers, "I want to share with you that we've reached a decision about T.J. and Amy."

It then includes the statement the network sent wide minutes later, "After several productive conversations with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes about different options, we all agreed it's best for everyone that they move on from ABC News. We recognize their talent and commitment over the years and are thankful for their contributions."

Godwin informs employees that a decision as to who will co-anchor "GMA3" and "20/20" will come at a later date.

She concludes by saying, "I know that this has been a distraction for so many of us, but let's not forget all the great work that continues to make ABC News the #1 news network in America, and that's because of you. I want to thank you again for your patience and professionalism during this time."

TMZ broke the story, T.J. and Amy came to an exit agreement after an "extremely contentious" mediation went through the night Thursday into Friday morning. Both were given compensation packages.

We're told ABC execs made it clear -- the couple did not handle their romance the right way -- waiting too long to disclose it to higher-ups and that their "behavior on set" was "uncomfortable" to some staffers.

ABC also accused Robach of having liquor in her dressing room -- bottles we're told were gifted by ABC honchos -- and being drunk after attending the National College Football Championship game.

One staffer tells us, "They got what they deserved. It didn’t help that they had few friends in the building to go to bat for either of them.”

Arizona Cardinals Fire Kliff Kingsbury ... After 4 Seasons

Kliff Kingsbury is out in Arizona ... the Cardinals announced Monday they've fired their head coach after a brutal 4-13 season.

The 43-year-old had just signed an extension earlier this year ... but, after a disappointing campaign and an overall record of 28-37-1 in 66 games -- the Cards decided to move on.

The former Texas Tech head coach (2013-2018) had been hired by AZ in 2019 ... and saw his best season in 2021, when he led the Cardinals to an 11-6 record and his lone playoff appearance.

But, the team was blown out by the Rams -- and came back in 2022 and fell flat, finishing in fourth place in the NFC West standings.

Further complicating issues for Kingsbury ... he appeared to butt heads with franchise quarterback Kyler Murray multiple times this year, before the signal-caller suffered a season-ending ACL injury on Monday Night Football in Week 14.

No word yet on where the Cardinals will turn to replace Kliff -- but, reportedly, they have interest in ex-Saints head coach Sean Payton.

The firing is now the second in the NFL in the last 24 hours -- the Texans canned Lovie Smith after just one season on Sunday night.

Bernie Kosar Fired From Browns Radio Gig ... After $19k Bet On CLE

Cleveland legend Bernie Kosar was booted from his radio gig with the Browns on Sunday ... and it's all because the ex-quarterback bet on his former team to beat the Steelers.

Kosar -- who played for the Orange and Brown from 1985-93 -- placed the $19,000 wager (in honor of his jersey number) with the Tipico Sportsbook app last weekend ... becoming one of the first legal bets placed in Ohio.

The former Pro Bowler claimed if Cleveland (+120 in most sportsbooks) ended up beating Pittsburgh, he would donate the winnings to charity.

The Browns ended up losing, 28-14, but not only did Kosar lose his $19k ... he also lost his pregame radio show job with the team -- due to breaking one of the league's most unforgivable rules.

"Earlier this week we notified Bernie, that per league policy, we were required to remove him from our pregame radio coverage for the season finale after he violated the NFL gambling policy by placing a bet on an NFL game," the Browns said on Sunday.

"We understand what Bernie means to this community and our history but as team contracted personnel hired to provide content on our media platforms, his bet was a violation of NFL rules and we must adhere to all NFL policy."

Kosar addressed the move on Twitter ... saying, "I am shocked & disappointed. Brown & Orange is my life … Go #Browns."

Kosar isn't the only one in the Browns organization getting the boot on Sunday -- the team also canned defensive coordinator Joe Woods after the season finale.

Texas Longhorns Fire Chris Beard After Felony Domestic Violence Arrest

UPDATE

2:58 PM PT -- Chris Beard's attorney, Perry Minton, released a statement on the decision ... saying his client is "crushed at the news" of his termination.

UPDATE

Minton says the university promised to do a thorough investigation into the allegations ... but did not speak with Beard, nor did they interview his fiancée.

UPDATE

The attorney believes the charges against Beard will be declined ... and claims Texas made its decision "based on Twitter feeds and editorials -- and not the facts concerning a truly innocent man."

Chris Beard is no longer the head coach of the Texas Longhorns basketball team -- the university just announced he has been fired from his position after his felony domestic violence arrest last month.

The team made the move official just minutes ago ... with athletic director Chris Del Conte saying, "This has been a difficult situation that we've been diligently working through. Today I informed Mr. Beard of our decision to terminate him effective immediately."

Del Conte acknowledged Rodney Terry for filling in as interim coach during Beard's suspension ... promoting him to acting head coach for the rest of the 2022-23 season.

"We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns," Del Conte added.

As we previously reported, Beard was arrested on December 12 ... after he was accused of strangling, throwing and biting his fiancée in their home. He was immediately suspended without pay.

The woman, Randi Trew, later apologized for her accusations ... saying Beard did not strangle her. She also did not refute Beard's claims that his actions were in self-defense.

"I do not believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way. It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted," Trew said last month.

Beard -- a UT alum, who joined the program in 2021 -- went 34-14 in 48 games at Texas ... and is 176-74 overall.

Beard is still facing the criminal charge ... and has a court date later this month.

Originally Published -- 12:03 PM

Ex-WWE Superstar Sasha Banks Joins New Japan Pro Wrestling ... Debuts As 'Mercedes Mone'

Sasha Banks is back in the ring ... just not with the WWE.

The former women's champ officially joined New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), debuting as "Mercedes Mone" with the promotion.

Mercedes Varnado, who went by "Sasha Banks" during her tenure with the WWE, arrived at NJPW's WrestleKingdom 17 at the Tokyo Dome in front of a packed crowd.

Mone confronted Kairi, former WWE athlete and the current IGWP women's champion, setting up a showdown between the two at New Japan's Battle in the Valley event on Feb. 18 in San Jose, California.

"I am here in New Japan and Stardom to make more [history]," Varnado said on the mic after she attacked Kairi.

You'll recall ... last May, Mercedes, alongside WWE superstar Naomi, reportedly walked out of a taping of "Monday Night Raw." Neither wrestler appeared on any of the company's programming since the incident.

Sasha and Naomi were suspended indefinitely -- and Wrestling Inc. reported WWE released Banks in June.

Ahead of her NJPW debut on Wednesday, which was not publicized, Mercedes -- who spent ten years with the WWE -- thanked a host of individuals who helped her over the years, naming Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, William Regal, and the WWE Universe.

Varnado, 30, will go down as one of the best in-ring performers in WWE history ... and leaves WWE with a decorated career that includes championships and many iconic matches.

Denver Broncos Fire Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett ... After Blowout Loss To Rams

The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett amid their disastrous 4-11 season ... just one day after the team suffered a massive 51-14 loss to the Rams on Christmas.

Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner released a statement on Monday ... thanking the 43-year-old coach for his hard work and dedication to the organization, but saying it was time for a change.

"Following extensive conversations with George and our ownership group, we determined a new direction will ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos," Penner said.

"This change was made now out of respect for everyone involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach."

Hackett became the Broncos' head coach in January 2022 ... just a few months before the team traded for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Both Hackett and Wilson struggled this season with the Broncos' offense ... only scoring 15.5 points per game.

The embarrassing 51-14 loss against the Rams on Christmas night was the last straw ... leaving the Broncos with a 4-11 record and at the bottom of the AFC West standings.

"Moving forward, we will carefully evaluate every aspect of our football operations and make whatever changes are necessary to restore this franchise's winning tradition," Penner added.

The Broncos say their interim coach will run the show for the last two games of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs and the L.A. Chargers.

ORLANDO BROWN DV Arrest Costs Him Movie Role ... Mental Health Issues???

Orlando Brown is losing a movie role because of his domestic violence arrest ... a role the alleged victim actually got him.

TMZ broke the story ... the former Disney star was arrested Thursday for misdemeanor domestic violence after cops in Ohio responded to a call about a fight in progress between two men.

Matthew Sanders, the alleged victim, tells TMZ ... he's directing and producing a movie called "Up The Score" and wanted Orlando to be part of it, because he considers OB not only a friend but extremely talented.

Orlando's legal issues have been well documented over the years, and Matthew says Orlando had been living at his home in Ohio since November during preproduction for the movie. We're told there were no major issues until Thursday's incident.

Matthew, who told cops Orlando came at him with a broken-off knife blade and a hammer, believes OB is struggling with a mental illness. He thinks Orlando is at times out of touch with reality, and he's bummed he wasn't able to help Orlando make a movie comeback.

ORLANDO AT AUDITIONS
Beautiful Mind Creations

Orlando was supposed to have a secondary role in the movie ... a dramedy about a military man who meets someone on social media and leaves his family for this person only to find out they are not who they said they were ... but that's no more.

Matthew tells us Orlando is no longer allowed to live at his house at this point in time and is currently removed from the film.

What's more, Matthew hopes Orlando seeks mental health help and only then would he consider bringing him back on. With filming for the project beginning in January, we're told it's likely not possible for Orlando to be involved.

Former WWE Star Mandy Rose I've Made $500K On FanTime!!! Since Controversial Firing

Wrestling star Mandy Rose is no longer getting a WWE check, but she sure as hell is still raking in the dough ... 'cause TMZ Sports is told the former NXT champ has made $500k off her sexy content in just one week!!

Mandy was fired Wednesday after posting racy pics on the subscription-based platform FanTime (similar to OnlyFans) ... something that's a big no-no for the WWE brand.

While the firing was controversial in the eyes of many, it's also done wonders for Rose's business on the platform ... with her agent, Malki Kawa, telling us the 32-year-old has earned a whopping $500,000 from her FanTime page since she got the ax.

In fact, Kawa predicts Rose will be the newest self-made millionaire by Christmas ... 6 days away.

Before Rose was fired, she competed for WWE on NXT's roster, where she had been the women's NXT champion for over 400 days.

Mandy dropped the title to Roxanne Perez on Tues, Dec. 13 -- and she was released by the company the next day.

Rose's content drew the ire of WWE, most likely because, in 2020, Vince McMahon, then-CEO and Chairman of the wrestling conglomerate, issued a letter to all wrestlers stating they must terminate using any third-party platforms where they use their name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to the company.

Mandy, however, received an outpouring of support in the aftermath of her firing, with AEW star Saraya offering words of encouragement on social media.

Dan McLaughlin Out As Cardinals Broadcaster ... After 3rd DWI Arrest

St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin will not return to the booth next season ... after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated last week, he announced Thursday.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, Dan, who was arrested for DWI for the third time on Dec. 4, agreed with the Cardinals org. and Bally Sports Midwest that it was time to step away.

"I have spent the last several days reflecting on my steps towards addressing my health and the well-being of my family and me," Dan said in a statement. "My sole focus needs to be on my recovery, which I have started, and that of my wife and children."

"I thank all of the people of Bally for their support throughout the years and wish them the best," he added. "As I move forward, I, please ask for your patience and your privacy. Thank you. God Bless."

As we previously reported, Dan, who called games for the Cards since 2000, was pulled over by Creve Coeur Police after they noticed his white sedan failing to stay in one lane ... and he was subsequently arrested for DWI.

McLaughlin, 48, was ultimately charged with Persistent Offender of Driving While Intoxicated -- a Class E felony offense with a maximum potential penalty of four years behind bars.

"Dan McLaughlin will not return as the Cardinals television play-by-play announcer on Bally Sports Midwest," the team and BSM said in a joint statement.

"Dan has been the voice of memorable Cardinals moments for 24 years. We thank him for his contributions to Cardinals baseball, to Cardinals fans, and for his many charitable efforts."

Unfortunately for Dan, his troubles with law enforcement extend past his latest DWI -- he was busted for the same offense in 2010 and 2011.

Report: Sean Kugler Cards Asst. Fired For Groping Woman ... Before Mexico City Game

The Arizona Cardinals reportedly fired their offensive line coach/running game coordinator for groping a woman in Mexico City ... just hours before the team played against the 49ers.

ESPN, citing sources, reported Wednesday morning Sean Kugler was accused of inappropriately touching a female on Sunday night. The outlet reports Mexican authorities were made aware of the allegations, and then told the Cardinals of it all. Kugler was fired a short time later and sent back to Arizona on Monday morning.

The Cards had arrived in Mexico on Saturday night for the big game against S.F. on Monday. The team went on to lose the contest, 38-10.

Arizona officials have yet to confirm the report ... in announcing the firing on Tuesday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury would only say Kugler had been involved in an off-field "incident."

Kugler had been on the Cardinals' staff since 2019.

The 56-year-old previously coached for the Lions, Bills, Steelers and Broncos. He also served as the head coach of UTEP from 2013-2017.

Elon Musk To Twitter Employees 'Get Your Butts Back To The Office ... Or Bye Bye'!!!!

"RESIGNATION ACCEPTED"
ABC

Return to the office or resign!!!

Elon Musk was secretly recorded giving that ultimatum to remote-working Twitter employees while discussing plans for a 40-hour work week during a recent staff meeting. As you may recall ... some employees were clocking 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week to meet Musk's aggressive demands following his $44 billion purchase of the company.

A clip from the fiery recording was released by ABC News Thursday night ... and Musk can clearly be heard laying down the law.

"Let me be crystal clear, if people do not return to the office when they are able to return to the office -- they cannot remain at the company. End of story," Musk pointedly says on the audio.

A Twitter worker pushes back ... "Even if people returned to the office. The offices are separate offices -- we won't be in person anyways."

But, Musk isn't having it ... "You can still maximize the amount of in-person activity."

He then compares Twitter to his other company, Tesla, to drive home his point, "Tesla is not one place either, but you know, it's basically if you can, if you can show up at an office and you do not show up at the office, resignation accepted!"

Musk goes on to say plenty of Tesla employees work remotely, but they are "exceptions" and "exceptional people." He ends with ... "I totally understand if that doesn't work for some people. But that's the new philosophy for Twitter."

The world's richest man recently cleaned house at Twitter, slashing half the workforce. The fired employees sued Musk for violating federal and California laws by not giving them proper notice before they were canned and offering them unfair severance packages.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for the laid-off workers, told ABC News she will use the audio clip as evidence to show Musk is eliminating remote work to avoid paying employees without giving them proper notice -- a violation of the WARN Act.

Meanwhile, Musk also announced Twitter may fall into bankruptcy if more people don’t sign up for his $7.99 monthly subscription service to offset slumping ad sales.

Tough times, Elon.

Indianapolis Colts Fire HC Frank Reich ... Name Jeff Saturday Interim

The Indianapolis Colts have fired head coach Frank Reich following the team's blowout loss to the Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium ... and, stunningly, have named former star offensive lineman Jeff Saturday the interim HC.

Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the news on his Twitter page on Monday morning ... which caught most folks off-guard, considering Jeff has ZERO coaching experience in college or the pros.

His only experience came as ... err, a high school coach with Hebron Christian H.S. in Georgia. His last season on the sidelines was in 2020 ... where his team finished with a 3-7 record.

The Colts dropped to 3-5-1 after losing to New England, 26-3 ... as the team demonstrated an inability to score offensively under rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Reich took over the Colts in 2018 -- after Josh McDaniels scorned the franchise at the last minute -- leading the team to a 10-6 record that season and an 11-5 record in 2020.

Reich led the Colts to the playoffs twice.

However, the 60-year-old play-caller didn't always enjoy success in Indy ... in 2019, he finished with a 7-9 record, and things were assuredly trending in that direction this season.

The org. benched Matt Ryan ... and turned to Ehlinger to salvage their season, but after falling further behind in the AFC South race, Indy is giving up on the Reich experiment.

Now, they'll turn to Saturday to lead them the rest of the way this year. Peyton Manning's former center had been working as an analyst for ESPN.

Brooklyn Nets Part Ways With Steve Nash ... After 2-5 Start

UPDATE

10:28 AM PT -- The decision to move on was mutual, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kevin Durant is getting what he wanted this offseason -- the Brooklyn Nets have fired head coach Steve Nash ... after a 2-5 start.

48-year-old Nash was hired back in September 2020 ... and was 94-67 at the helm.

Of course, Durant gave the Nets an ultimatum back in June ... saying he wanted to either be traded or have Nash and general manager Sean Marks gone.

He later agreed to stay in BK ... with both sides saying they would "move forward with our partnership."

Nash recently had a meltdown against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 26 ... where he was ejected in the third quarter.

The Nets went 48-24 in 2021, 44-38 in 2022 ... and 2-5 this season under Nash.

Kyrie Irving previously made shocking comments about Nash in September 2020 ... when he claimed the Nets didn't have a real head coach.

There were reports this summer that Kyrie hated Nash ... and thought he was a terrible head coach.

Nash released a statement minutes ago ... saying, "It was an amazing experience with many challenges that I'm incredibly grateful for."

"It was a pleasure to work with the players, performance team, and front office every day," he added. "I'm especially grateful to my coaching staff and video room who are a talented group with so much character and professionalism."

"Lastly, thanks to Brooklyn and the passionate fans who support this team. Family first and my family has found a home here and LOVES being a part of this beautiful community. I wish the Nets all the success in the world and the Nash's will be rooting for our team as they turn this season around."

The firing comes as the team deals with distractions off the court as well ... after Kyrie came under fire for posting a link to a movie that has been criticized for spreading what many consider antisemitic beliefs.

Jacque Vaughn will serve as interim head coach starting Tuesday night against the Chicago Bulls.

Originally Published -- 10:06 AM PT

Elon Musk Fires Top Twitter Execs ... After Purchase Made Official

Elon Musk officially took the reigns at Twitter on Thursday … as he closed his $44 billion deal for the social media giant, but then he quickly started to clean house.

In his first order of business as the company’s new CEO, Musk reportedly went on a firing spree, picking off at least 4 senior executives.

Among those canned were now former Twitter head Parag Agrawal, Policy executive Vijaya Gadde, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and top Legal and general counsel Sean Edgett. Security guards ushered one or more of the execs out of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, the New York Times reported.

The Tesla/Space X boss gave no formal reason for their removal... but it was no secret there was tension between Musk and the Twitter chiefs during months of legal wrangling that nearly derailed the sale of the company.

After inking the megawatt deal, Musk triumphantly tweeted late Thursday night, “the bird is free” seemingly a reference to him making Twitter an inclusive place for all voices and opinions. Twitter has received a rash of criticism for kicking conservatives -- including 45th President Donald Trump -- off its platform for allegedly disseminating misinformation and hate speech.

Musk, a self-described "free speech absolutist, has promised to reverse Trump's "permanent ban" from the service. He also plans to foster his new open vision for the so-called "digital town square," which some critics say will only exacerbate the spread of fake news and poisonous content.

But, Musk hit back at his critics, explaining ... "In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost."

He goes on, "That is why I bought Twitter. I didn't do it because it would be easy. I didn't do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility."

Paul Pierce Trolled With Booty Birthday Cake ... 'They Play Too Much'

Paul Pierce continues to be the butt of the joke after his viral raunchy twerking party last year -- his friends trolled him by getting a birthday cake with a picture from the infamous Instagram Live session ... and it's hilarious!!

Pierce, who celebrated his 45th birthday last Thursday, posted a picture of the cake on Twitter ... which poked fun at his NSFW gathering that led to his exit from ESPN.

On the cake is a pic of Paul -- who looks mesmerized -- pictured next to a scantily clad woman with the words, "Monica come through," and "Happy Birthday Habibi."

"My boys got me this cake fa my bday they play to much," Pierce said on Twitter ... seemingly accepting the friendly jab.

Remember ... the former Celtics superstar posted a video on Instagram showing him having a good time as scantily-clad women twerked on the floor behind him.

Pierce was fired from his ESPN job just days later.

Paul didn't seem too phased by his firing at the time ... posting a video of him smiling and laughing, saying, "Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile."

Shoutout to Paul for being a good sport about it all.

Enjoy the cake(s)!!!

Wendy's Fired Worker Getting a New Badge ... Cop for a Day in NC Town!!!

Dennis Peek, the recently-fired Wendy's employee with Down syndrome, isn't fully retiring yet -- he's about to live out one of his lifelong dreams by becoming a police officer.

This is all kinds o' perfect ... turns out Dennis is a huge fan of "The Andy Griffith Show" -- his sister Cona Young Turner tells us her brother especially loves Barney Fife, the hilarious deputy played by Don Knotts.

She says Dennis knows a few of the officers in the nearby town of Mount Holly, NC, and after they saw what happened to him at Wendy's ... the police department decided to put him on the force for a day.

Waiting for your permission to load the Facebook Post.

We're told Dennis will be sworn in on Thursday ... they'll give him a uniform and a hat that he gets to keep once his shift is over. He's gonna be busy, riding in a police car, a police boat and he'll check in on a few businesses in the department's golf cart.

ICYMI, Dennis's story went viral when he got fired from his job at the fast food chain last week after devoting 20 years to the company. Cona claimed managers told her Dennis couldn't do his job like a "normal" person.

Waiting for your permission to load the Facebook Post.

As we reported, Dennis doesn't know he was terminated ... his family opted to tell him he's simply retiring.

In addition to his Mount Holly PD post, Dennis is getting a retirement send-off bash from his hometown of Stanley, NC ... which is also giving him the key to the city and a commemorative plaque.

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