New Young's McDermott Wants New Contract, Back Pay

As Deborah McDermott negotiates a new contract to continue as president of the former Young Broadcasting, she filed court papers this week to protect her interests, in case a deal is not reached. That move was unexpected; the new owners of the company have placed their faith in the well-regarded executive.

In addition to serving as president of what is now New Young Broadcasting, McDermott is also the interim general manager of the company's ABC affiliate in Nashville. And she likely has some sort of agreement in principle -- if not papers sitting on her desk -- although she declined comment through her lawyer.

Her new contract is not likely to be as lucrative as her previous one. That deal, inked in 2007, had a beginning base salary of $737,000, with the potential for a bonus that could exceed $1.1 million.

With McDermott expected to stay, it is unclear who will take over the CEO role at the company, which operates 10 stations, including the MyNetworkTV affiliate in San Francisco. Longtime head Vincent Young was terminated earlier this month, but still has a role with the company.



The company could opt to make McDermott its de facto top executive as the president, since management duties would be less. Seven of its stations are expected to be overseen by Gray Television.

An email to an executive working with the new owners, who took over after bankruptcy proceedings, was not immediately returned. Young Broadcasting emerged from bankruptcy this summer, shedding $800 million in debt and what it deemed bad contracts.

Its senior lenders are in control, and opted not to pick up McDermott's 2007 deal, looking instead to draft a new one.

Separate filings in federal bankruptcy court in New York this week have McDermott seeking a combined $1.8 million, but they are essentially procedural in nature and will likely go by the wayside.

The claims had to be filed by Aug. 30 or McDermott would have lost any opportunity to collect, should a new contract not be reached with the senior lenders now in control.

The guard-interests claims are based on McDermott's previous 2007 contract. If she leaves the company before a new deal, she argues she would be entitled to $1.47 million in severance, the equivalent of two year's base salary.

Separately, she claims she is still owed $272,000 in salary and $79,000 for paid vacation for her work during a period leading up to June 15.

Vincent Young also filed similar motions Monday, although it is unclear whether he is in negotiations with the lenders on a deal for his new non-executive chairman's role, or he intends to pursue collection of a combined $3.3 million. His lawyer has been out of the office and did not immediately return a call for comment.

McDermott has held a top corporate role at what was Young since 1996, when she became executive vice president of operations. She was named president in 2004.

Before taking on a corporate role, she led the Nashville station she now temporarily oversees. She also headed the ABC affiliates board.

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