August 16, 2006

CBS schedules Rather tribute

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Former "CBS Evening News"
anchor Dan Rather will appear on his old network one more time
with excerpts from a new interview done for an updated special
on his career.

"Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers" will air September 1 on
CBS. The special had been announced this summer as part of
Rather's departure from the network he called home for 44

The 9 p.m. hourlong special will build upon the foundation
of a previous retrospective of his career that aired on March
9, 2005, an hour after Rather left the "CBS Evening News"
anchor chair for the last time. A new interview with Rather was
taped last week at an off-site location that "48 Hours Mystery"
uses for interviews; it wasn't done at CBS News headquarters.

"We did a new interview for reflection on CBS News,
incorporating new material on his '60' (Minutes) pieces and
interesting stuff from there, and we remolded the special,"
said Susan Zirinsky, who worked with Rather at CBS News for
three decades and who is executive producer of the special.

The special's original airdate in 2005 averaged 9.2 million
viewers, but there is no chance that the updated special will
attract an audience that large. Fridays are one of the toughest
days of the week in broadcast TV; the Friday before Labor Day
will make it that much tougher.

As with the previous special, Rather doesn't have editorial
control over the finished product. The earlier show didn't
flinch from discussing "Memogate" -- the controversy
surrounding documents used in a "60 Minutes" piece by Rather
that questioned President Bush's military service in the Texas
National Guard during the Vietnam War. The September 1 show
won't ignore Rather's June departure from CBS News.

"Time moves on and you move on," Rather said in an excerpt
released Wednesday by CBS News. "What's changed is the location
where I'm working, but the nature of the work doesn't change.
I'm a lifetime reporter. That's what I've always dreamed of
being and I was very lucky to live my dream."

Zirinsky said Wednesday that one thing in particular came
through in the interview.

"He was incredibly gracious, reflective and, if I could use
one word, grateful. Grateful for the amazing 44 years,"
Zirinsky said.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter