Jerry Dunphy, anchor of KABC-TV's "Eyewitness News," has turned down a "multimillion-dollar" contract offer to stay at the station and instead will join Disney-owned KHJ/TV Channel 9 as chief anchor of a new three-hour prime-time newscast being developed for debut in January.
Dunphy resigned from KABC Friday after a 14-year tenure; his resignation becomes effective Monday. Dunphy will join KHJ before the debut of the 8-11 p.m. news program as chief anchor of an expanded evening newscast.
Dunphy will be replaced by KABC weekend anchor Harold Greene, who will move to the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. editions of "Eyewitness News," effective Monday.
Terry Crofoot, president and general manager of KABC, said Friday that Dunphy's contract expired this week, adding that Dunphy and KABC had been in contract negotiations for several months but had reached an impasse.
"We made him a multimillion-dollar offer, and he did not accept, and came in with an offer from KHJ--and we chose not to match it," Crofoot said. "Our offer was in the millions of dollars; their offer was higher than that.
"We wanted to keep Jerry Dunphy at KABC. We were very happy with him, and we're sorry to see him go. . . . What KHJ is trying to do is hire someone with a very high viewer profile, in hopes that his audience will follow."
Crofoot said that failure to reach an agreement with Dunphy over the last several months prepared the station for his resignation and allowed them to quickly announce Greene as his replacement.
In a prepared statement, KHJ President and General Manager Blake Byrne called Dunphy "unquestionably the top anchor on the West Coast and a legendary figure in broadcast journalism."
Jim Saunders, executive vice president and manager of the station, said Dunphy will help to plan the direction of the new newscast.
Byrne, Saunders and Dunphy were unavailable for further comment.
In the 1960s, Dunphy served as lead anchor in the nation's first expanded newscasts at KNXT (now KCBS-TV). He joined KABC as chief anchor in the 1970s.
Greene, who began his broadcasting career in 1964 at KDIG radio in La Jolla, worked at KABC as a news anchor from 1978-80, and returned to the station in 1982 after serving as managing editor and anchor of the early and late news broadcasts of ABC affiliate KGTV in San Diego.