KCBS has imported longtime Minneapolis-St. Paul news anchor Paul Magers to join the station’s key newscasts by the end of the year.

Magers, who has spent nearly 20 years at Twin Cities NBC affil KARE, will anchor KCBS’ 11 p.m. newscasts (opposite Laura Diaz), as well as some of the station’s early evening editions.

Magers’ arrival will shift current 11 p.m. co-anchor Harold Greene to early evening duty. KCBS is still working out how to divide its anchor lineup during the station’s 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. newscasts.

The hiring of Magers reps one of KCBS’ biggest attempts yet to become a major player in the local news ratings wars. Magers’ KARE newscasts dominate the competition, including convincing household wins in the recent July and May sweeps periods.

“We’ve been on a talent search for quite some time, in terms of adding an additional male anchor to KCBS and the duopoly (with KCAL),” said KCBS/KCAL prexy/general manager Don Corsini.

“Paul happens to be one of the premiere anchors in America, and we’re fortunate to have made a deal with him,” he said. “Look at what he’s done in Minneapolis, and we hope Paul will bring the same work ethic and expertise to L.A. as he has there over the last 20 years.”

Corsini declined to discuss specifics of the deal, but sources said Magers’ contract rivals that of KNBC heavyweight Paul Moyer, who’s believed to earn almost $3 million annually.

But luring Magers to KCBS may be worth the coin, given the double win it affords the Eye’s station group. Not only does it potentially give a shot in the arm to perennial underdog KCBS, but it takes out the main anchor on KARE — the chief competitor to CBS’ Twin Cities outlet, WCCO.

Magers’ contract with Gannett, which owns KARE, doesn’t expire until the end of the year. That means Magers won’t join KCBS until January, at the latest. Corsini said the anchor might be released from his deal following the November sweeps, however.

“I believe they’ll more than likely retain and utilize his services through November,” Corsini said. “They’d be foolish not to.”

As for Greene, Corsini said the anchor — who joined KCBS from KABC in 2001 — will still play “a prominent role” at the station.

“I don’t know ultimately how (anchoring assignments) are going to shake down,” he said. “But for sure Harold will continue to anchor at least two newscasts for the station each weekday.”

Magers has been with KARE since 1983; before that, he was a reporter/anchor at KGTV, San Diego, and a reporter at KATU, Portland.

His experience also includes serving as a substitute anchor on the weekend editions of NBC’s “Today” show.

“Paul is intelligent and enthusiastic, both on the air and behind the scenes,” said KCBS/KCAL VP/news director Nancy Bauer Gonzales. “He’s very strong when it comes to delivering hard news, and also has a great wit and personality that helps him form a strong bond with his audience and his co-workers.”