David Zaslav re-ups with Discovery

President and CEO's contract extended through 2015

Discovery Communications has extended David Zaslav's contract through Feb. 1, 2015, in a move that will see the president and CEO earn a higher base salary.

The new salary of $3 million per year, effective in January 2011, is up 50% from the original $2 million that Zaslav signed for when he joined the company in 2007. His bonus target was raised from $3 million to $4 million for this year, with annual hikes of $500,000 lined up from 2010 to 2014.

Discovery re-upped Zaslav with more than two years left on his original agreement. "The board approached David in order to secure his leadership and provide the company with stability and continuity for years to come," Discovery founder and chairman John Hendricks said.

Shares of Discovery on Thursday rose 4.6% to $28.42 after hitting a 52-week high of $28.45.

"Discovery is a fantastic media company with an unmatched global footprint, strong brands and compelling content," Zaslav said.

Earlier in the day, Discovery said that Hendricks is returning to the fold to lead the charge on a five-year project designed to untangle the knotty questions about human existence.

The 60-episode series, "Curiosity: The Questions of Our Life," will begin rolling out in January 2011, with plans for a new hourlong episode to debut each month in the 8 p.m. Sunday slot.

Each installment of "Life" will address a specific issue related to humankind and our place in the cosmos.