RUSH: Les Moonves dropped a bomb in the CBS News division on Monday. ‘CBS anchor[babe] and 60 Minutes contributor Katie Couric faces a 50% pay cut. Les Moonves is determined to save money and trim expenses from top to bottom at the Tiffany Network, particularly in the news division. Couric is the highest paid TV news personality in history. Right now she gets $14 million a year, plus a couple bumps for non-evening news appearances. But her salary is now in the direct line of fire, according to network insiders who explained this to the Drudge Report.’ And get this: ‘A populist backlash against Couric’s cash is said to be forming inside the newsroom. ‘She makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year,’ says a veteran producer. ‘This is complete insanity,’ the angry source continues.
”We report with great enthusiasm how much bankers are making, how it’s out of step with reality during a recession. Well, look at Katie.’ Couric’s $300,000 a week paycheck has become the obsession of disgruntled CBS staff, just as deep layoffs rock the newsroom. Dozens of employees — including staff members in DC, San Francisco, Miami, London, Los Angeles, and Moscow — are being let go.’ No buyouts, no buyouts. It’s immediate — and remember, last summer was Dan Rather that called on Obama to form a White House commission to help save the media. So this is bad. I mean, she’s facing trouble. Her contract’s up soon; and if she stays, she’ll get $7 million, which will put her in line with what Brian Williams makes, cut from $14 million. Of course, this angry newsroom source has a point.
These people are out there lambasting profits and salaries all over the place (except theirs). All of these news people think that their divisions ought to be immune from profit and loss, that their jobs are so important! It’s so important that these networks ought to realize even if they have to lose money to put quality news on the air — even while the news is losing viewers, losing readers, losing advertising support! But apparently the rubber’s hit the road inside CBS. I am hearing — and you know me — I’m pretty wired. I’m a powerful, influential member of the media. I’m hearing that Katie wants Oprah’s gig when Oprah quits, that Katie Couric wants Oprah’s couch. So we’ll see.
RUSH: Isn’t it great, folks? Of all bureaus, CBS had to close down probably their closest and most dearest? They had to close the Moscow bureau! That had to hurt ’em. That had to just be… In addition to all the people getting fired to have to close the Moscow bureau if you’re CBS? Ohhhh! Not a good week. Of course, we here at the EIB Network, by the third week in January — this special note to CBS — we had 70% of our entire 2009 already on the books for 2010. Advertisers still get results here (ahem!) recession or not. That’s just a little inside baseball. And of course I would only take a pay cut if I ran for office. There would be no such thing otherwise.