KNBC’s Douglass exits L.A. for D.C.

Longtime KNBC-TV political editor Linda Douglass will leave the station when her contract expires Nov. 23 to relocate to Washington, D.C., where her husband is moving his law practice.

Douglass, who reportedly earned $ 1 million over the course of her current four-year pact with the station, intends to pursue a career as a political journalist in the nation’s capital.

KNBC news director Nancy Valenta called Douglass “one of the finest political reporters in this market.”

Valenta has offered to permit Douglass to work for the O&O between jobs, covering President-elect Bill Clinton’s inauguration in January if she is “not tied up with another network.”

Valenta and Douglass emphasized the decision to leave KNBC had nothing to do with contract negotiations or attempts to diminish her salary.

“There were no pay cuts,” Valenta said.

Douglass backed up the N.D.’s assertion, saying KNBC “was very supportive and made me a very good offer to stay.”

The sole reason for the move, according to the reporter, is to join her husband, attorney John Phillips, the California chairman of the public-interest group Common Cause.

Phillips has been traveling back and forth on business during the last eight months, spending lengthy periods away from his wife and the couple’s 9-year-old daughter.

Douglass, an 18-year vet of the Los Angeles market, said she would consider returning to CBS News, where she was a correspondent from 1980-83.

She began her career at KCBS (then KNXT) in 1974 as a newsroom researcher. From 1975-80, Douglass served stints as a general assignment reporter, political editor, 5 p.m. newscast co-anchor and investigative news unit head.

When she returned to the station from her network assignment, Douglass was named political editor after the birth of her child and became co-anchor of its 6 p.m. Sunday newscast in June 1985.

For the past seven years, she has been KNBC’s political editor.

KCBS made a bid to rehire Douglass in November 1988 under a three-year deal valued at $ 600,000, but later conceded that she may not have been free to negotiate at the time that a supposed deal was struck.

KNBC then cemented its lucrative four-year deal with Douglass, which reportedly provided her with three firm no-cut years and a fourth option year.

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