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ABC Signs Walters to 3rd Multimillion-Dollar Pact

July 14, 1986|United Press International

NEW YORK — Barbara Walters has signed a new contract with ABC, it was announced today, 10 years after she startled the broadcast industry by jumping from NBC to ABC for a million-dollar contract and the chance to be the first woman to anchor the network evening news.

ABC refused to reveal what Walters, 55, will be paid under her new multimillion-dollar five-year pact, but a network spokesman said, "She did get a raise."

The contract calls for her to continue her role on the network's newsmagazine "20-20," to continue hosting her high-rated specials and to do other projects from time to time, such as the ABC special commemorating the 50th anniversary of Life magazine, to air in November.

Walters was a star of NBC's "Today" show in 1976 when ABC wooed her away, teaming her with Harry Reasoner to broadcast ABC's World News Tonight.

Reasoner did not want Walters as a co-host and made no secret of his hostility.

Walters stayed on World News Tonight for a little more than a year, then withdrew to concentrate on interviews and specials. Reasoner eventually left ABC to return to CBS and "60 Minutes."

'We Are Delighted'

Roone Arledge, group president of ABC News and Sports, renewed Walters' contract in 1981, when he took over as head of the news division.

"We are delighted," Arledge said today on renewing Walters' contract. "Barbara Walters is an extraordinary asset to ABC and one of the most outstanding journalists in the world. Time and again she has brought special recognition to our programs and to our network."

Walters recently was married for the third time, to Merv Adelson, head of Lorimar, one of the top independent Hollywood television production companies.

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