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Discovery CEO David Zaslav signs new deal and gets a hefty raise

September 10, 2009 |  2:18 pm

Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav has extended his contract with the cable programming giant through early 2015 and will get a big raise as well. 

ZASLAV Zaslav will see his salary jump from $2 million a year to $3 million a year starting in 2011, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Also, his annual incentive compensation target will be bumped up to $4 million annually from $3 million in 2009 and will have annual increases of $500,000 from 2010 through 2014.

While most media companies have struggled in the last year or so, Discovery has bucked the trends in both ratings and revenue. Much of that can be attributed to the success of TLC, which has several successful new shows including the once-sweet and now controversial "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Besides Discovery and TLC, it also owns Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery, its crime channel.

Zaslav might need that extra money for aspirin. Discovery's next big bet, a cable network with Oprah Winfrey, has been going through some internal turmoil and there is doubt about whether it will launch in the first half of next year as planned. Actually, that wasn't as planned as the date has already been pushed back twice. Discovery also is creating a kids channel with Hasbro.

No word on whether Jon and Kate Gosselin will get a cut of Zaslav's new deal.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: David Zaslav. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images