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Report: CBS Wants Couric to Take Significant Pay Cut

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"...for significantly less money than her original $15 million deal..."

Howard Kurtz over at the Daily Beast reports CBS News has asked current evening news anchor Katie Couric to stay with the network after her contract expires in May, but it's asked her to take a "significantly" lower payout than her current $15 million annual salary.

Kurtz reports:

The network, which is shaking up its management, has asked anchor Katie Couric to stay on through the 2012 elections—for significantly less money than her original $15 million deal, a source tells Howard Kurtz.

CBS has asked Katie Couric to stay on as anchor after her lucrative contract expires at the end of May, a source familiar with the situation tells The Daily Beast.

While negotiations have not yet started and a deal might fail to materialize, this is the first concrete indication that Les Moonves, the company’s chief executive, has made a decision on extending her deal.

The reason may be that the "CBS Evening News" -- which Couric anchors -- has continued to be the number three national evening news program since she took over:

The CBS Evening News remains in third place, as it was when Couric took over, and by that measure her stint has been a disappointment. The broadcast averaged 7.4 million viewers last week, when Couric reported from Egypt, and that was its best week since 2009. But with Brian Williams also in Egypt, she still trailed NBC Nightly News, which had 11.3 million viewers, and Diane Sawyer’s World News, which averaged 9.8 million.

Yesterday it was announced that CBS News realigned its top news executives, naming Jeff Fager the new president of the news division. Fager, Kurtz says, "would not have accepted the job unless he had been assured that he would have a major role in the upcoming [Couric] decision."

Read the full story from Howard Kurtz.

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