On the contrary to what some might think, it is not just actors who have the ability to demand large paychecks. Believe it or not, news anchors can require a hefty salary too. News anchors are the faces that people begin to recognize and come to rely on, to give them straight news. Many people find a comfort in seeing the same face every morning while drinking their cup of coffee. News anchors become the face of the network they represent which in turn, helps bring in more viewers. Anchors that can maintain a large viewership are attractive to networks since they will bring in more money from advertisers. Thus, these news networks have to write up attractive contracts in order to get these high demand news anchors on board. Here is a list of ten news anchors that have been able to sign good deals and earn large paychecks.
10. Chris Cuomo – $2.5 Million
CNN Anchor, Chris Cuomo got his start on ABC’s Good Morning America, where he served as an anchor between 2006 and 2009. He then went on to co-host ABC’s 20/20, with Elizabeth Vargas. Cuomo left the ABC network for CNN in the beginning of 2013, where he went to host CNN’s morning show, New Day. President of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker picked Cuomo for CNN’s morning show for his already established name in morning television, and for the passion that he brings to every story. CNN reportedly signed Cuomo with a $2.5 million deal.
9. Ann Curry – $5 Million
Anchor, Ann Curry became highly publicized when she was booted out of her co-hosting position on NBC’s Today. Behind the scenes of Today was filled with drama, including speculations of co-host, Matt Lauer threatening to not renew his contract if Curry was going to continue to sit beside him. Thus, Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, losing her position and her reported, $12 million a year salary. In June of 2012, Curry announced on Today, that she would be leaving her position for her new role with NBC as, Today Anchor at Large and International Correspondent for NBC News. She is still noted as one of the highest paid reporters for NBC, bringing in a salary of an estimated $5 million.
8. Scott Pelley – $5 Million
CBS Evening News Anchor, Scott Pelley is one of CBS’s most experienced reporters in broadcast journalism. As of May 2011, Pelley has not only been the anchor for CBS Evening News, but he is also the managing editor. Pelley has won numerous awards that include a George Polk award, a George Foster Peabody award and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton. Pelley first started working for CBS back in 1989, where he worked on covering assignments during the Persian Gulf crisis and presidential campaigns. He joined the 60 Minutes team in 2004 and still contributes stories. Even with all of this experience, according to Politico, the news anchor only brings in $5 million a year, which isn’t much when compared to his competition.
7. Megyn Kelly – $6 Million
Fox News Anchor, Megyn Kelly got her big break with Fox News Channel in 2004, when she was hired on as a Washington-based correspondent. She then moved on to co-anchor America’s Newsroom before she landed her own solo program on America Live. Kelly’s current role with Fox News Channel is anchoring, The Kelly File which focuses on late-breaking stories. Kelly is not just all brains, her good looks landed her an interview and racy spread with GQ, with the headline “She Reports, We Decided She’s Hot.” She has also stood out in the crowd at Fox News, with her pro-gay marriage stance that is the opposite of most of the opinions at the conservative news station. According to TV Guide, the anchor is said to bring in $6 million a year.
6. Rachel Maddow – $7 Million
Anchor, Rachel Maddow has been MSNBC’s breakout star since she started working for the network, back in 2008. Her Emmy-award winning show, The Rachel Maddow Show, provides viewers with her take on the biggest news stories of the day. Her show has been highly successful, giving it the title of the most successful show launch in MSNBC history. Maddow’s show has really revived MSNBC’s ratings and has received numerous awards including, “Outstanding Achievement in News and Television” presented by the Television Critics Association. Maddow received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and her doctorate degree from Oxford University. She attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, which made her the first openly gay U.S. resident to win the achievement. Maddow brings in a reported $7 million per year.
5. Shepard Smith – $7-$8 Million
Fox News Anchor, Shepard Smith is the chief news anchor and managing editor for the news channel’s breaking news division. On top of these duties, Smith, who has been with the news channel since its beginning in 1996, is also the anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting. The chairman of Fox News Channel, Roger Ailes, has called Smith is “go-to-guy” when it comes to the person he wants for breaking news coverage. Ailes has also praised Smith for his ability to “get a story and tell a story.” It is because of these high accolades that Smith was able to secure a deal with him, bringing in between $7 to $8 million per year.
4. Anderson Cooper – $11 Million
CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper is currently the anchor for CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, which is what they call a “nightly newscast that goes beyond the headlines.” Besides being a correspondent for CNN, Cooper is also a regular correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. The silver fox anchor has won numerous awards that include, eight Emmy awards and an Edward R. Murrow award. Despite Cooper’s journalism abilities, his show has shown a decline in ratings and the network as a whole has seen a decline in viewership over the past few years. However, the decline in viewers has not damaged Cooper’s ability to earn a reported $11 million per year.
3. Diane Sawyer – $12 Million
ABC World News anchor, Diane Sawyer has had quite a lucrative career within journalism and has broken the barrier for female anchors all around. Sawyer began working for CBS as a correspondent in 1978, after leaving her position working for President Richard Nixon’s administration. She went on to co-anchor CBS Morning News and was the first woman to work as a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes. She switched networks in 1989 when she moved to ABC to be a co-anchor of Primetime Live and after leaving Good Morning America, she took her current position as the anchor of World News. After all of her years in the business, Sawyer earns $12 million per year.
2. Bill O’Reilly – $20 Million
Anchor of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly has been with Fox News Channel since it was first conceived, back in 1996. The show fills the network’s 8pm time-slot and has been number one for 136 consecutive months. The O’Reilly Factor has also been the most watched cable program on a cable news network for 125 months, consecutively. It is with this type of viewership that O’Reilly has said to help make Fox News a profit center for the News Corporation. Thus, the network is pretty much at the knees of O’ Reilly, making it not surprising that they would agree to pay him $20 million per year.
1. Matt Lauer – $25 Million
NBC anchor, Matt Lauer has made a name for himself since he first joined Today, in 1994. However, it wasn’t until 1997 when he replaced Bryant Gumbel as the co-host of Today with Katie Couric that his fame took off. His career in journalism has included an array of memorable interviews from Presidents to Princes to celebrities, he has done them all. He has also provided viewers with live broadcasts from around the world which has contributed to Today’s series, Where in the World is Matt Lauer. Despite his success, Lauer has had a few rough years with the departure of Ann Curry and the blame being placed on him, he contemplated leaving the network for a fresh start. However, with a deal of earning $25 million per year and working only four days a week, Lauer was convinced to stick with NBC.
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