‘Wrong Again’: CBS News Issues Scathing Rebuke of NY Post Report on Norah O’Donnell’s Giant Pay Cut


CBS News issued a scathing rebuke of a new report that Norah O’Donnell accepted a substantial salary cut as part of her new contract.

The New York Post reported that after a tense contract negotiation that spilled into public view, the CBS Evening News anchor accepted a reduced salary in April that saw her annual intake slashed by more than half.

The Post reported:

According to insiders, CBS News re-signed the 48-year-old anchor in April with a yearly salary of $3.8 million — down from the previous $8 million — following reports that the network had been casting around for a replacement as O’Donnell’s ratings continue to sag.

CBS execs gave O’Donnell a “low ball” offer during the hard-knuckle negotiations, which they “expected O’Donnell to reject,” according to a source briefed on the talks. When she accepted it, some executives appeared surprised, the source added.

The Post cited a previous report that CBS News president Neeraj Khemlani wanted to replace O’Donnell with Brian Williams.

CBS News accused the Post of reporting “false news” in a statement provided to Mediaite:

Wrong again. Neeraj led the effort to retain and re-sign about a dozen of our biggest anchors and correspondents over the last year including Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King – and recruited a few new ones like Nate Burleson and Robert Costa.

While there are huge prime time openings elsewhere in the News industry, CBS News has the No. 1 news broadcasts and finished the season with multiple shows including morning and evenings in their most competitive position ever. Apparently, the more false stories the NY Post writes, the better things go for CBS News

Mediaite followed up to ask whether CBS was specifically denying that O’Donnell’s salary was cut in half. We will update this story if they respond.

CBS Evening News routinely trails NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight in both the demo and in total viewers. David Muir and World News Tonight have led their broadcast competitors in total viewers 182 of the past 183 weeks.

O’Donnell’s reported pay cut was agreed to months after it was reported CBS executives were shopping for someone to replace her. The network was reportedly set on Williams, who departed MSNBC’s 11th Hour in December.

In January, CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported:

According to the sources I spoke with, CBS News president and co-head Neeraj Khemlani recently tried to recruit Williams for the network’s flagship evening news program. Two of the sources I spoke with said that Khemlani, who assumed his role less than a year ago and has been working to poach talent, tried at least twice. But it was to no avail.

Williams was reportedly not interested in anchoring another network evening news show.

O’Donnell was tapped to replace Jeff Glor at the CBS Evening News desk in 2019.

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