The $400 million man: Limbaugh locked up through 2016

With fully $100 million guaranteed up front, according to Brian Maloney. And why not? No matter who wins in November, he’ll be on the offensive for the next two terms.

In what is being described as an unprecedented radio contract, Limbaugh will keep his syndicated show on-the-air and e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e through 2016 with CLEAR CHANNEL and PREMIERE RADIO.

Already host of the most lucrative hours since radio’s inception, Limbaugh’s total package is valued north of $400 million, according to media insiders.

The NEW YORK TIMES will claim this weekend that Limbaugh, marking 20 years this summer as a national host, has secured a 9-figure signing bonus for the new deal, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE.

“I’m having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have,” saith a man with 400 million reasons to say so. The monster NYT Sunday magazine profile (replete with sinister black-and-white cover photo, natch) just went live online but I haven’t had a chance to pick through it yet. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything update-worthy. Exit question one: For contract purposes, would reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine qualify as force majeure? Exit question two: Assuming that Limbaugh does better when he has a big target to attack (a safe assumption), would he benefit more from an Obama presidency or a McCain presidency? Most of us would say the former and I guess I would too, but note that (a) either way, he’ll still have a deep blue Congress to wrestle with, and (b) Maverick would present him with a convenient foil for a battle between centrist-style and red-meat conservatism. Whether that battle would do more for ratings than a standard Obama vs. Rush blue/red showdown, I don’t know, but it’s a battle that seems to be coming either way and this would put him out in front of it.

Update: Still skimming the NYT piece, but do not miss the description of his house. Plus this:

In the studio the day we spoke, Limbaugh was more emotional. “I thank God for my addiction,” he told me. “It made me understand my shortcomings.”

Being Limbaugh, he said he believes that most of these shortcomings stemmed from his inability to love himself sufficiently. “I felt everyone who criticized me was right and I was wrong,” he confided. But, he says, he left his insecurities behind in Arizona. “It’s not possible to offend me now,” he said. “I won’t give people the power to do it anymore. My problem was born of immaturity and my childhood desire for acceptance. I learned in drug rehab that this was stunting and unrealistic. I was seeking acceptance from the wrong people.”…

At dinner the night before, Bill O’Reilly’s name came up, and Limbaugh expressed his opinion of the Fox cable king. He hadn’t been sure at the time that he wanted it on the record. But on second thought, “somebody’s got to say it,” he told me. “The man is Ted Baxter.”

Limbaugh has a deeply conflicted attitude toward Sean Hannity, his one-time stand in and now perpetual No. 2 on the Talkers list. He speaks of the younger man with the same condescending affection that Muhammad Ali once showed Jimmy Ellis, a former sparring partner turned challenger. But he wanted me to remember who is the Greatest. “I have no competitors,” he said. “Hannity isn’t even close to me.”