Stephen M. Silverman
July 23, 1998 12:00 AM

After reports surfaced that ABC newswoman Barbara Walters was seen dining with bigwigs from rival CBS, her home network announced yesterday that Walters, who turns 69 next week, had signed a new contract and will remain at ABC for the next five years. Walters will continue to anchor “20/20 Friday” and produce and star in her “Barbara Walters Specials” and the daytime chatathon “The View.” The network did not say how much it was paying her, but Variety put the figure at $12 million a year — a record for a news personality. By contrast, ABC News superstars Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings reputedly take home about $7 million-$9 million per year, as do NBC’s Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw and CBS’s Dan Rather.

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