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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 12:38 GMT
Letterman sticks with CBS
David Letterman
Letterman resassured fans he was not leaving
US talk show presenter David Letterman has rejected a multi-million dollar deal to jump TV networks to ABC and has opted to remain with CBS.

Letterman has reached an agreement with CBS on a new five-year, $150m-plus (106m) deal that will keep him on the network until 2007, according to reports.

Ted Koppel, host of Nightline
There were concens about the slot of Nightline

The 54-year-old presenter put paid to speculation about his future as he returned home from a Caribbean holiday.

"I've never been in a situation like this in my life," he said. "The whole thing has made me dizzy".

"We are thrilled that CBS will continue to be the home of David Letterman," said CBS in a statement.

Some industry analysts had expressed their concern that a defection to ABC would have forced the network, owned by Disney, to axe or push back its highly-regarded and long-running news programme, Nightline.

But ABC president Alex Wallau confirmed that Nightline would remain in its time slot.

'Pretty good'

"I would like to finish my career, a week from Tuesday, at CBS," Letterman joked during recording of his programme, Late Show, on Monday.

When Letterman's audience applauded his announcement, he added: "I know it sounds pretty good to you, folks, but there goes the vacation to Disney World."

Trade magazine Variety reported Letterman would receive about $31.5m (22.2m) in the first year of the new contract, with annual increases.

It reported that CBS will also continue to pick up production costs related to the Late Show programme and Letterman's production outlet Worldwide Pants.

The magazine added that Letterman had won assurances from CBS that the programme would be better promoted and that CBS-owned stations would shift seamlessly from their local news programmes into Late Show, a technique used to hold onto an audience.

The deal is said to be not financially much bigger than Letterman's previous contract.

See also:

07 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
'Tug-of-war' for Letterman
07 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
The long arm of Letterman
17 May 01 | TV and Radio
Letterman appeases Miss Colombia
15 Jan 00 | Americas
Heart scare for Letterman
13 Jan 00 | Americas
Hillary Clinton does Letterman
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