Channel 4 cuts sports veteran Berman

Len Berman, a New York television sports fixture

since 1979, including for the past nearly quarter century at WNBC-TV, will

leave the station sometime in the next 30 to 60 days.

The station and Berman, 61, had been discussing for months a settlement of

his contract - believed to be the most lucrative among his anchor peers with an

annual salary one TV industry source estimated at $1 million.

Berman suggested last night he was relieved to be done with the nightly

grind and looking forward to a new phase in his career.

"This was something we have been talking about for a long time, and I think

it benefits both of us," he said. "I've been sitting at that desk for 23

years, every night. It's unbelievable ... I feel I have other talents besides

just reading sports news. And my wife [Jill] is jumping up and down."

The departure of Berman is the latest in a wave that has reshaped local TV

news, sweeping out many high-profile, high-priced personalities in an era of

severe cost-cutting.

Sports departments have been a frequent target, with the time devoted to

reports dwindling and many avid fans more apt to get their news from ESPN or

the Internet.

"The face of local news has changed, and sports has become less and less

valuable in a way in local news," Berman's agent, Sandy Montag, said.

Sal Marciano, a New York sports news veteran of 40 years, left Channel 11

at the end of last year and Channel 2 parted ways with its lead anchor, Ducis

Rodgers.

Recently, Russ Salzberg has been doing the late sports reports for both

Channels 5 and 9.

Berman's departure will leave only Bruce Beck as a sports anchor at Channel

4, where on one recent night news co-anchor Sue Simmons delivered the sports

report.

Berman, who lives in Port Washington, took over from Marv Albert on the 6

o'clock news in 1986 and the 11 o'clock edition in 1987.

He was known for "Spanning the World," in which he showed highlights from

the "wild and wacky" world of sports. He said that feature might live on in

some form.

Berman has a Web site, has written a third children's book due this fall

and is "open" to new projects.

"I work with some very special people on the air in Chuck [Scarborough] and

Sue and Janice [Huff]," he said. "Everything has changed off the air. It's a

different world. But there is no rancor. Both sides are happy. They're happy.

I'm happy."

Distinguished career

LEN BERMAN

AGE: 61

HOMETOWN: Long Island City

HIGH SCHOOL: Stuyvesant

COLLEGE: Syracuse

RESIDES: Port Washington

WIFE: Jill

1970-73: WLWD-TV, Dayton

1973-78: WBZ-TV, Boston

1979-82: WCBS-TV, New York

1982-84: NBC Network, including NFL pregame show

1985-2009: WNBC-TV, New York

AWARDS: Eight local Emmy Awards, six-time New York Sportscaster of the Year

ANCHOR START: Took over Channel 4's 6 o'clock sports from Marv Albert in

1986, and the 11 o'clock edition in 1987.

OTHER RECENT DEPARTURES AT WNBC-TV: Otis Livingston, Jay DeDapper, Carolyn

Gusoff, Monica Morales

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