Dan Rather Booted from 60 Minutes, CBS
Howie Kurtz reports that Dan Rather’s days with CBS are apparently over.
CBS executives have decided there is no future role at the network for Dan Rather, making it certain that the man who sat in the anchor chair for 24 years will depart by this fall. These executives recognize Rather’s contributions over four decades and are not trying to boot him because of the controversy surrounding his botched story on President Bush and the National Guard, say network sources who declined to be named while discussing a sensitive personnel matter. But the executives concluded there was no room for Rather at “60 Minutes,” particularly with incoming anchor Katie Couric planning to report a half-dozen stories a year and the hiring of CNN’s Anderson Cooper as a part-time contributor. Rather’s contract expires in November, but the sources say he might leave before that, depending on negotiations with CBS.
Rather, 74, declined to discuss his future this week. “I’m contracted to be a full-time ’60 Minutes’ correspondent, and I’m working on that contract,” he said. People familiar with Rather’s situation say he has had no serious negotiations with any of the cable networks but has attracted interest from people developing projects for television. Rather has said several times that “my best work is still ahead of me.” He is described by friends as hurt and puzzled by the attitude of CBS management.
While Rather deserved to be canned after the fake documents incident and his steadfast refusal to own up to what was at best shoddy reporting, pushing him out the door at this point with such a lame explanation is a head scrather. If Rather is costing them viewers, fine. But to say there’s not enough time for him what with Anderson Cooper coming aboard? Even Rather doesn’t deserve that.
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