Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather has some harsh words for the show and Katie Couric.
Rather was on MSNBC, talking to Joe Scarborough (he's in Imus' spot in the morning right now) via phone. Although he said that Couric is a nice person, he also said that the show has been "dumbing it down, tarting it up," and that they're really focusing too much on celebrity coverage now.
That's Dirty Sexy Money, an upcoming drama on ABC, just to clarify. I didn't want you to think the U.S. Mint was printing up a new type of currency with Dan Rather on the bill in place of one of the presidents.
Although, that would be interesting. "Give me seven quaraters and two pennies for a Rather," you would say. The Rather would be worth $1.77 for some reason.
(Part 4 of 5)
They all made big news and big career moves that changed the face of some very popular programs. This whole domino effect started in April, when Katie Couric announced the "worst kept secret in television" that she was going to replace Bob Schieffer as the sole anchor of the CBS Evening News. She spent her summer conducting town hall meetings with regular folk to find out what they want in a national newscast. And her first broadcast made worldwide news because she debuted Vanity Fair's photographs of the elusive daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. The excitement over Katie lasted for about a week.
So, how does Gunga Dan feel about sharing a channel with fighting hotties? New York Magazine found out; he doesn't have a problem with it, though he doesn't think he'd watch it in his house. Sure, Dan. I'm sure your mind will change when your wife's away on a long weekend.
One of the experts interviewed was Connie Chung, who knows about this issue more than most; she spent two largely tension-filled years of the mid-nineties co-anchoring the CBS news with Dan Rather. "All this takes an enormous amount of time," she told Shister. "TV viewing rarely changes dramatically, whereas programmers do. I think Katie's holding her own nicely." She goes on to say that experts should stop constantly judging Couric.
I tend to agree with Connie. Yes, Couric's ratings aren't good (in fact, the article states, the November ratings were slightly lower than they were when Bob Schieffer was anchor). But she should be given room to find her legs, no pun intended. She did a pretty nice job on Election Night, which bodes well for her ability to cover breaking stories down the road.
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Just as the rumors predicted, Rather signed with Mark Cuban's HDNet to do a weekly newsprogram called Dan Rather Reports. He'll also be appearing as a guest panelist on Chris Matthews' syndicated show and will be talking to Larry King about his new venture tonight. And I'm sure he'll be giving plenty of "exclusive" interviews to the critics gathered at this week's Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, as he has arrived there yesterday to promote his new venture with Cuban. Now that he's unfettered by his relationship with CBS, I'm curious to hear what spills out of Dan's mouth about his exit. This might get interesting.
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The network is working on a retrospective of Rather's career, which will air in the fall. They will also make a contribution to his alma mater, Sam Houston University.
So what's Rather's next step? Well, he may work for Mark Cuban's HDNet, or he may do something else. But chances are, this isn't the last we've seen of Gunga Dan.
I don't have HDTV so I've never seen the network but, I have to wonder, does 74-year-old old-fashioned newsman Dan Rather match with the network?
Other articles, like these from Reuters appear to be more definitive; one even quotes Rather as saying that "finishing details are being worked out for me to leave CBS News after 44 years." Stay tuned on this one.
My guess? There are contract negotiations going on, but I'm sure Bradley is working the same way he always has, and the press is just trying to find juicy stuff to tease with about a longtime TV personality (shocking the press would do that, I know). The NYDN even tries to get him to talk about his contract, and he says he doesn't discuss his contract with anyone. I think that's the right response to that question no matter what the situation. I really doubt Bradley is walking around the CBS offices with a donut, talking to people in their cubicles, not doing any work, going back to his office to pout and play solitaire on his computer until producers give him more money.
1. ER was originally set in Boston, but NBC already had St. Elswhere set there, so they asked for the setting to be changed. Chicago was chosen "for no especially good reason."
Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather has good wishes and warnings for incoming anchor Katie Couric. During an appearance at the annual National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Rather, who was honored at the NAB conference along with Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings, wished Couric luck, but warned that she would need to be a leader and have a passion for the news in order for her to succeed in the anchor chair.
Rather had no doubts that the CBS Evening News would be different under the reign of the current Today show co-host, who will be leaving the morning news show at the end of May. He added that the role of the news anchor is not like the one a field journalist would have; it's more of a management position where the organization takes on the personality of the person behind the desk.
So, there's a good possibility that everyone will have a colonoscopy dressed up as SpongeBob SquarePants sometime during Couric's tenure.
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