Gayle King is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renegotiation with CBS News to stay on “CBS This Morning” — and wants “George Stephanopoulos money” to stay, Page Six has learned.
King has one year left on her deal, and a source said: “Gayle is holding the show together, she wants George money — he got between $15 and $18 million to stay on at ABC.”
We revealed how King — who is on $6 million a year — was ready to walk amid all the chaos following the firing of Charlie Rose and Les Moonves.
She was furious over the departure of her EP Ryan Kadro in December after his exit was mistakenly linked with CBS’s payoffs.
We were also told how her co-host Norah O’Donnell’s future on “This Morning” is in doubt as she may oust Jeff Glor from the nightly news spot and take the show to DC.
It’s also believed that new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky is keen to spend more money to keep great talent at the network.
Her negotiations come as the popular host was widely praised Wednesday for a masterclass in interviewing with embattled singer R.Kelly, staying cool under pressure as he leaped up in front of the cameras to defend himself from sex abuse claims.
CBS News is now devoting a Friday night special to King. “The Gayle King Interview with R. Kelly,” will feature the journalist’s interviews with both Kelly and Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, two women who live with him, as well as unaired footage from the 80-minute sitdown.
This followed King’s BFF Oprah’s tweet: “Bravo @GayleKing for calm and steady focus during #RKelly interview. Outstanding job! Tell @CBSThisMorning we want to see the whole thing.”
The interview was Kelly’s first since he was arrested on 10 sexual abuse charges. Kelly has denied all of the accusations. He could face up to 70 years in prison if found guilty.
Even rival NBC hosts Sheinelle Jones, Craig Melvin, Al Roker and Maria Shriver were quick to praise her on the “Today” 9 a.m. hour Wednesday.
While O’Donnell complimented her colleague, she said she feared Kelly could have physically hurt her.
However, King told O, The Oprah Magazine: “I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me. After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave.
“So what I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that.”
“I just knew that I was never in danger. I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing. But I knew that I wasn’t in any real danger. I just kept thinking ‘Okay, Robert, go ahead’ and that’s what I said.”
CBS News reps declined to comment.
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