By ALEXANDER HITCHEN and JIM NELSON
Today show stars Matt Lauer and Al Roker are at war with co-host Katie Couric after NBC offered to pay her $25 million a year to stop her from leaving, The National Enquirer can reveal.
Sources say that network execs put up the whopping salary — which would amount to $100 million over the course of four years — so that Katie didn’t jump ship to CBS Evening News to take over from Dan Rather.
Katie, 48, is already America’s highest-paid TV journalist — she has a $65 million four-and-a-half year contract that is earning her a cool $14.4 million annually until 2006.
But the incredible new deal discussed at high-level secret negotiations reached the ears of co-workers… and drove them crazy! Particularly upset were Lauer, 47, who earns $8 million a year, and Roker, 51, who nets $2 million.
After Katie was spotted meeting with CBS boss Leslie Moonves this summer, she was expected to announce her decision to move before the end of the year.
According to a show source, execs agreed they should keep her at any cost because her departure could mean plummeting ratings for other NBC shows that follow Today. There were also worries that Good Morning America could overtake Today in the number one ratings spot if Katie left.
To read the rest of this article, pick up this week’s issue of The National Enquirer.
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