Rush made $400M? Even Dan Rather would blush.
Back in the 1980's there was a sort of bidding war on three major networks for talent at ABC, NBC, CBS.
Here's an interesting interview showing an idea of how much a major news anchors were making in the early to mid 1980's. It is Brian Lamb
interviewing Fred Graham. Both newsmen. Source: book-notes.org...
I submit just the juicy bits concerning the salaries of network new anchors during the 1980's.
"GRAHAM: You know, I don't understand why some people are making, you know, really astronomical amounts of money for doing work that does not appear
to be successful. There's been a lot of musical chairs with anchors at the networks, particularly with the women: Connie Chung, Diane Sawyer and on
and on. There must be four or five of them, and they've all gotten million-dollar contracts when they jump ship to another network. "
"LAMB: I remember reading in Ed Joyce's book, the gentleman that we showed here earlier, who was head of CBS News, that Dan Rather signed a contract
for 10 years for $36 million to be the anchorman. Why is that?"
"GRAHAM: That was part of what I mentioned earlier, the sort of Cecil B. De Mille approach to network news. Why they gave Dan an $800,000-a-year
raise. Peter Jennings was making $800,000 a year at that time, so Dan went up by the amount that Peter Jennings was making and Dan went to $3.5
million a year. Peter Jennings is now on the top of the ratings; Dan is at the bottom. And a lot of people think that one reason for ABC's success is
that the viewers feel more comfortable with Peter Jennings. But you have to ask yourself what was going through their minds when they were making
commitments like that."
"GRAHAM: No. I think it will continue in some kind of very special circumstances. I have an idea that the network evening news programs -- "CBS
Evening News," ABC, NBC -- may be the dinosaurs of the 1990s, and some or all of them may not survive into the 21st century because CNN's killing
them. And if you can get national, international news on television when you want it, you just don't have to arrive there when they tell you to in
the evening. So you can see now the network news operations trying to carve out new niches for themselves, and one of them is the kind of special
treatment of the news. And you see it in the anchorpeople being sent to Moscow and being sent to Johannesburg and to other places when news seems to
be stirring. And I think what they will do is I think they will still cover the big events -- the disasters, the wars, election night, that sort of
thing -- and they ill do prime-time stuff -- "60 Minutes," "20/20," whatever else survives there. So they are going to still need the very
well-known person to preside over that in a recognizable way, and I think they'll still pay them a lot of money."