Sawyer, ABC tussle

Roseanne Arnold isn’t the only ABC diva playing hard to get in her contract negotiations with the network. “PrimeTime Live” anchor Diane Sawyer, the target of a multi-million dollar, four-way network bidding war, is proving just as difficult to keep in the Alphabet web fold.

Sawyer appeared in a taped segment but was absent from her anchor slot from Thursday’s edition of the hit newsmag. It’s highly unusual for the “PrimeTime” star, known for her resiliency and attraction to the spotlight, to be absent from her host role, especially during sweeps.

Sawyer called in sick Thursday, according to ABC News spokeswoman Liz Noyer. However, she was well enough to spend the day at ABC in contract negotiations, according to network sources. Inside ABC there was speculation that Sawyer was reluctant to go head-to-head with Thursday night’s edition of “Eye to Eye With Connie Chung,”‘ which featured a heavily promoted interview with ice queen-in-demand Tonya Harding.

“PrimeTime” has been on a hot streak as of late, but with the Harding segment expected to skate off with ratings gold, corridor talk along network row was that Sawyer was suffering from “contract fatigue” and didn’t think it would help her negotiating stance to take a face-to-face drubbing from “Eye to Eye.”

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