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Overpaid diva? Norah O’Donnell could lose her gig at ‘CBS Evening News’

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“Overpaid diva” Norah O’Donnell may lose her gig as anchor of the third-place “CBS Evening News” broadcast.

Executives are reportedly looking to cut costs, and O’Donnell’s purported $8 million per year salary may be coming under scrutiny, even after CBS shelled out big bucks several years ago to move the show from New York City to Washington, D.C. to accommodate O’Donnell and her family.

“CBS Evening News can succeed reputationally without spending a ton of money,” insiders reportedly told the New York Post in an exclusive. “They definitely want Norah out but have no clue how to replace her.”

O’Donnell’s three-year contract comes to an end next spring. New CBS co-president Neeraj Khemlani reportedly has engaged consultants to “trim fat” at the network. “Neeraj is charged with bringing down costs and boosting profits and he does not understand why the ‘Evening News’ is in DC, a source told the Post.”

The “CBS Evening News” show regularly trails ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” in the ratings and is also failing to attract the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age group.

While pulling in viewership in the range of 6-9 million, all three of these liberal, corporate media legacy news programs, however, have obviously been rendered less relevant with 24/7 cable news stations in the mix plus the immediacy and accessibility of internet content. Thus, the business model may be obsolete or close to it.

“She is a woman version of an outdated anchor,” an insider said about O’Donnell. “Her appointment was an example of the worst kind of change. It was about optics.”

In a behind-the-scenes scenario that is hardly unusual in the media/entertainment space, O’Donnell, 47, is also reportedly unpleasant to work with.

“Sources told The Post that O’Donnell’s diva-like behavior wouldn’t be missed in the network’s corridors. They said she continues to be rude to hair, makeup and wardrobe staff — despite years of complaints that she is ‘divisive’ and ‘toxic’ with colleagues. She also has demanded new designer threads throughout the pandemic, a move that rubbed some the wrong way, as she reports on COVID deaths, political upheaval and unemployment.”

Staff also supposedly bristled when CBS bestowed the managing editor sobriquet on news reader O’Donnell, “an esteemed title held by news legend Walter Cronkite that had been retired once Pelley was ousted from the anchor’s desk.”

Although this kind of statement can often be a precursor to the opposite when rumored shakeups emerge in various industries, Khemlani has provided an alternative narrative.

“There are no plans to move the Evening News from Washington. Norah’s presence in Washington has elevated the CBS Evening News’ coverage on all fronts – politics, breaking news, to big interviews including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen just last week. Her reporting on the military and domestic abuse has won awards and changed policies in Washington. And in addition to making headlines, the program is gaining audience share,” he told the Post.

O’Donnell originally “muscled her way” into the evening gig in 2019 because she didn’t get along with then-“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, a show now known as “CBS Mornings.”

King is reportedly held in high regard by CBS, which is currently negotiating a new contract with her that may include additional platforms. “CBS Mornings” co-anchor Tony Dokoupil, who only earns about $2 million a year, is seen by some as a potential bargain replacement for O’Donnell.

“I don’t see a world in which Norah O’Donnell anchors the show from DC. The network definitely needs to lower her salary — halve it or put someone in who costs less,” claimed an insider to the Post.

“CBS doesn’t need to pay someone $8 million to be in third place,” another source claimed.

Twitter is not exactly giving Norah O’Donnell a ringing endorsement. Here is a sampling:

Robert Jonathan

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