But the deal still hasn't been finalized -- and now Page Six is reporting that staffers are afraid the network might not have the green to keep the beloved journalist. As Page Six writes, "deal negotiations at CBS are taking so long that staff now fear there's not enough money to keep her."
In early April, an industry source lamented to Page Six, "I don't know why they don't just throw $18 million at her and get this done."
But according to a high-level source, right now, "It's not like CBS News can all of a sudden find ABC or NBC money -- it has to come from somewhere." (The New York Post's gossip column has previously reported that Gayle was hoping to nearly triple her current salary of $5.5 million a year.)
CBS knows it needs Gayle, who delivered a ratings success in early March with a headline-making R. Kelly interview in which the R&B star addressed multiple sexual assault allegations against him. "The big priority is keeping Gayle," a CBS News insider told Page Six. "The only thing that would really hurt CBS News at the moment is losing her."
The network is even considering keeping Jeff Glor as the anchor on "CBS Evening News" despite previous reports that the network was likely to name current "This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell as the new anchor and move the evening news show to Washington, D.C., where Norah wanted to be based, claims the New York Post. But at the moment, added the CBS News insider, "The morning show is the big priority."
Despite buzz that CBS News's new president, Susan Zirinsky, has been given extra money for talent salaries, "there's not that much," the high-level source told Page Six.
Gayle has declined to discuss contract negotiations publicly. Page Six asked her about how things were going during Variety's Power of Women luncheon earlier in April and she didn't give up anything. "I never ever discuss contracts in the media," she said. "I think the best place to discuss a contract is with CBS."
According to Page Six, Gayle's contract is currently with lawyers.