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KABC vet hoists anchor for KCBS slot

Diaz had been in contract renewal talks for months

Longtime KABC anchor Laura Diaz is leaving the Alphabet’s Los Angeles station and is headed to KCBS in a move that left many L.A. station insiders scratching their heads Monday.

Diaz — who has anchored KABC’s highly rated 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts since 1997 — ankled her post after nearly two decades with the outlet. It is not clear what role Diaz will take at the much lower-rated CBS-owned KCBS.

Diaz’s departure from KABC was effective Monday, when Kathy Vara stepped in for her at 5 p.m. and Michelle Tuzee was skedded to do so at 11.

The renewal of Diaz’s contract with KABC had been under discussion for months.

Some insiders speculated Diaz left because she was seeking a pay raise that she was not offered, however, KABC topper Arnie Kleiner told Daily Variety the anchor indeed was in line for a pay hike.

“The offer we made Laura was substantially more than she is currently making at this station,” Kleiner said.

A rep for Diaz could not be reached for comment.

KABC news director Cheryl Fair announced Diaz’s exit to the station’s news team in a memo Monday that said Diaz “has chosen to leave ABC7. Her decision follows many months of discussions about her future at our station.”

Memo went on to say: “We’re proud of the opportunity ABC7 provided Laura to grow professionally over her 19 years at the station. We certainly appreciate all her efforts.”

It has not yet been determined who will replace Diaz permanently at 5 and 11. Also under consideration is Diaz’s host post with Sunday morning newsmag “Vista L.A.,” which is slated to continue as part of KABC’s sked.

The on-air lineup likely will be sorted out before the fall TV season gets under way.

Insiders were abuzz with the question Monday of where Diaz will land at KCBS.

KCAL news director Nancy Bauer Gonzales recently took the news reins at KCBS, adding the duties after KCBS owner Viacom bought KCAL, creating a duopoly in Los Angeles.

Diaz began reporting for ABC in Los Angeles in 1983.

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