Matt Lauer Makes Top Annual TV News Salaries $17 Million

Matt Lauer, longtime anchor of the NBC's 'Today' show, who has seen two strong co-hosts "Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira" come and go on his watch, is the guy with the salary to beat when it comes to TV News.

According to TV Guide's upcoming salary issue, Matt Lauer's new contract with NBC earns him $17 million a year- a well-deserved figure, given the exotic bird hazards that Lauer has to face on the 'Today' show set. Brian Williams, host of NBC's 'Nightly News', earns $13 million annually $1 million more than ABC's 'World News' host Diane Sawyer.

Anderson Cooper's new deal with Time Warner--which includes 'AC 360' and his upcoming daytime talk show, 'Anderson is worth $11 million a year. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who hosts the top-rated show on cable news, gets $10 million per year- the same salary that former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann now draws at his new perch at Current TV.

Despite these bulging salaries, 'network news divisions and talk-show producers are also trying to hold down costs', TV Guide reports. 'Regis Philbin is leaving 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' instead of taking a cut in his $15 million salary'. And Piers Morgan 'is getting less than a third of what Larry King earned during his final year in CNN's prime-time lineup'.