“KTLA Morning News” entertainment reporter Sam Rubin is among the contenders for a similar post at KCBS-TV, the O&O confirmed Friday.

“We have talked to a number of people and Sam is one of the candidates,” KCBS news director John Lippman said.

As reported (Daily Variety, Oct. 16), KCBS and vet entertainment reporter Steve Kmetko will part company when his contract expires Nov. 20.

Kmetko also has a concurrent three-year deal with “CBS This Morning,” but he is expected to remain on the network morning program through Jan. 1–allowing him to catch the films released during the holiday movie season.

Rubin is considered to have the inside track. Lippman declined to call him the “top candidate.”

On KTLA’s top-rated morning newscast, Rubin is working without a contract and below the market rate (about $ 100,000 per year for someone coming in from a smaller market or station).

He is expected to be part of a proposed 9-10 a.m. local, low-cost weekday talkshow on KTLA that could hit the air next January. The program would feature some or all of the morning news team.

In contrast, Kmetko is understood to have earned the unusually large sum of $ 500,000 annually over the past three years, which takes into account his work for the station, the network and the defunct “Studio 22,” a weekly syndie program produced by the CBS Television Stations.

Kmetko cut his station, network and syndie deals under a different management regime in 1989 when he was being courted by Paramount’s syndie magazine”Entertainment Tonight.”

Lippman said the station offered Kmetko a new contract but that he passed. A newsroom source suggested the station made its first offer to Kmetko two weeks ago and demanded an immediate response.

Kmetko, who reportedly is being wooed by at least one other station in the market, would only say on Friday, “CBS has been exceptionally good to me during my 10 years there (the past five as an entertainment reporter).”

KCBS management has asserted that Kmetko wasn’t comfortable doing the type of reporting that it wanted under its new “Action News” format.

Per sources, Kmetko was displeased with the direction that Lippman and general manager Steve Gigliotti were taking the station.