CBS News Host Norah O’Donnell’s Salary Slashed in Half as Network Cuts Costs

CBS Evening News host Norah O’Donnell has reportedly had her salary slashed by more than half as the network scrambles to cut costs.

O’Donnell was hit was the whopping pay cut during contract negotiations this spring.

The move comes as the third-place network went through a tough round of cost-cutting.

O’Donnell was previously making around $8 million a year.

However, after getting a lowball offer from CBS News co-president Neeraj Khemlani, O’Donnell will now reportedly receive $3.8 million a year moving forward.

According to The New York Post, executives expected “her to reject” the offer but she surprised them by taking the pay cut.

CBS News responded to the report by denying the cost-cutting measures.

“Wrong again,” a spokesperson for CBS News said.

“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.”

According to The New York Post:

While CBS appears to be doubling down with O’Donnell for at least another three years, insiders tell The Post that “CBS Evening News” is having a difficult time finding candidates who want to interview for the nightly newscast’s executive producer job, which will be vacant when interim EVP Al Ortiz retires in July.

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“By re-signing her contract, they’ve given the message to the company that last place is good enough,” a source told The Post.

“Now, they’re having trouble getting an outside executive producer in part because nobody wants to deal with her and also because the ratings are below 5 million.”

Sources say that top contenders to run the “Evening News” are internal and that O’Donnell’s right-hand, executive story editor Adam Verdugo or senior broadcast producer Alturo Rhymes, will likely get the job.

The Post reported last month that O’Donnell frequently exhibits toxic behavior:

The 48-year-old anchor’s “The Devil Wears Prada” routine includes a full “dress rehearsal” of the “Evening News” half an hour before the show airs — an often tense ritual that has seen O’Donnell chewing out dressing room stylists over her hair and makeup, sources said.

“There was an incident last year in the studio where she ranted about how her bronzer was wrong,” one insider said, noting that her hair and makeup staff take the brunt of her tantrums and have been known to end up in tears.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and people are dying.”

“She’s a news actress,” another insider said, noting that the dress rehearsals are “very unusual” for news broadcasts — especially for an anchor who’s three years into a job.

A third added that the show’s producers use the quirky routine as a way to coach the “robotic” O’Donnell and “make her look more human,” by critiquing how she delivers the news and reads from the teleprompter.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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