June 20, 2006

Rather leaves CBS after 44 yrs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadcasting giant Dan Rather will
leave CBS News after 44 years as anchor and reporter where he
built a reputation as a hard-driving journalist known for his
quirky turn of phrase, the network said on Tuesday.

"Of all the famous names associated with CBS News, the
biggest and brightest on the marquee are (Edward R.) Murrow,
(Walter) Cronkite and Rather," said Sean McManus, president of
CBS News and Sports.

"With the utmost respect, we mark the extraordinary and
singular role Dan has played in writing the script of not only
CBS News, but of broadcast journalism."

CBS News said it was working on a prime-time special to
mark Rather's career to be broadcast in the fall. CBS said
Rather's contract was set to expire in November and that he had
been unable to reach agreement on a new deal.

Rather has told The New York Times he is considering
hosting and producing a news program for HDNet, a
high-definition television channel owned by fiery Internet
billionaire Mark Cuban's company.

But media pundits said in recent days the pending departure
of Rather, 74, whose reputation was tarnished in 2004 by
reporting a subsequently discredited report on President George
W. Bush's military record, was an unceremonious end for one of
the network's greats.

Rather's 50-year career in journalism saw him cover the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the civil rights
movement and Watergate. He has written six books, anchored six
presidential election campaigns and covered a dozen wars on
five continents.

Rather's broadcasts were known for his quirky "Ratherisms,"
such as on election night 2004 calling the race "hotter than a
Times Square Rolex." And he was a lightning rod for
conservatives who long accused him of liberal bias.