NEW YORK — Barbara Walters, who has reportedly been fielding offers from the competition, has reupped her contract with ABC News for an estimated $12 million per year — a record high for a news personality.
Under the five-year deal she will continue anchoring “20/20 Friday,” and produce and appear in two primetime “Barbara Walters Specials” each year. One of the specs will focus on the Academy Awards.
In addition, Walters, who will turn 69 next week, has renewed her commitment to ABC’s morning chatfest “The View” for five years. She will continue to appear on “The View” three times a week, in addition to co-exec producing. Show is co-owned by Walters’ production company Barwall Prods. and ABC Daytime.
ABC News declined comment on the pricetag, which would make Walters the highest-paid newsie. ABC News megastars Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings reportedly earn about $7 million-$9 million per year, as do NBC’s Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw and CBS’ Dan Rather.
Worth the price
But, the Alphabet web apparently thinks she’s worth every penny. “Barbara Walters is one of the most accomplished journalists ever to work in television news,” said ABC News prexy David Westin. “Barbara has made extraordinary contributions to the national discourse as well as to ABC News and we look forward to this next chapter in her storied career.”
Walters’ interview with Monica Lewinsky in 1999 was the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network. Her “20/20 Friday” interview with John and Patsy Ramsey attracted an audience of nearly 20 million, making it the highest-rated edition of the primetime newsmag in almost three years. “20/20 Friday” will have its season premiere Oct. 6.
Walters, who began her career as a writer and researcher for NBC’s “Today” show, became the first woman to anchor the nightly news when she co-anchored “ABC Evening News” with Harry Reasoner from 1976-78. This month marks her 24th anniversary with ABC.