CBS’ Sean McManus: ‘There hasn’t been one single discussion about altering Katie’s role, adjusting her contract’

By kevin Comment

couric_2-3.jpgThis morning, The Drudge Report and NY Post reported that “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric was facing a pay cut as a result of network-wide cuts rolled out this week.

“There hasn’t been one single discussion about altering Katie’s role or adjusting her contract,” CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus tells TVNewser. “Not one single discussion with anyone involved in the decision-making process.”

In 2007, Forbes listed Couric as the highest paid journalist on television, with an estimated annual salary of $15 million per year. Her current contract with CBS expires next year.

“I actually do think that when Katie’s contract is up there will be a spirited competition for her services, based on the work that she’s done in the last few years,” said McManus pointing to numerous big interview gets. “What news organization wouldn’t want someone like that working for them.”

The Couric gossip comes as dozens of CBS News staffers lost their jobs this week. We reported that four “Early Show” staffers and the network’s Sci-Tech correspondent were among those cut.

“The scalebacks are unrelated to Katie’s salary, just like they’re unrelated to anybody else’s,” McManus said.

The exact number of layoffs has been unclear and McManus said, “The numbers that I have read have all been inaccurate in terms of the amount of people that have been laid off.”

While McManus admitted “it’s never fun” to have to layoff employees, he pointed to the recent successes at “60 Minutes,” “Face the Nation,” “Sunday Morning” and “48 Hours,” to the awards “Evening News” had won, and to the “real signs of life at ‘The Early show.'” “I think CBS News is doing about as well now as in recent memory,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind that the work we’ve done in recent years will continue.”

McManus said he didn’t anticipate any further layoffs and said what had taken place would not affect the network’s reporting.

Some of the cuts this week reportedly took place in overseas bureaus, increasing worries about the state of international coverage across the industry. “Look at the coverage that all the networks have had with recent international events,” McManus said, adding that the “coverage is as exemplary and as fine an example of good journalism as you’ll ever find.”