Femme anchor agrees to pay cut

After a few days of hardball negotiations, KCBS news anchor Ann Martin has inked a new multiyear deal to remain the station’s primary femme anchor.

Martin had been one of the highest-paid anchors in the L.A. market, alongside KNBC’s Paul Moyer, but her estimated $1.7 million annual salary will be cut almost in half under the new deal, sources said.

After a few weeks of negotiations, Martin is said to have balked when KCBS made her a take-it-or-leave-it offer late last week (Daily Variety, April 27). Insiders said KCBS was poised to announce her replacement on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. report Monday, but the talks resumed at the “11th hour.”

Martin will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. report, but she’ll have a new co-anchor in Jonathan Elias, who joined KCBS last year.

Michael Tuck, a fixture at KCBS since 1990, has been shifted to the 4:30 p.m. report amid uncertainty about his future at the station.

KCBS recruited Martin, a longtime KABC anchor, in May 1994 with the hopes that her profile in the market would boost the station’s third-place standing in the local news race.

Since then, however, the station has gone through two general managers, corporate changes and much turmoil as its overall market share slips far behind KNBC, KABC, Fox O&O KTTV and in some dayparts, WB affil KTLA and indie KCAL.

KCBS has been operating without a G.M. since last September, when the well-liked John Culliton was axed by CBS brass after two years on the job.

Jerry Eaton, G.M. of CBS’ San Francisco O&O KPIX, has been shuttling up and down the coast in recent weeks to oversee KCBS on a part-time basis, but it’s unclear whether Eaton is a candidate for the permanent gig.

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