Will Rather Leave CBS?

Have CBS and Dan Rather had it with each other?

In the aftermath of Memogate, Rather's relationship with his fellow CBSers completely disintegrated. Years of pent-up frustration at Rather's autocratic management style and personnel control of CBS News came to an abrupt end as remnants of the old Cronkite guard and new-school suits coalesced to throw Rather from the anchor's chair and cast him as an occasional reporter on "60 Minutes."

It seems now that Dan may have had enough of the demotion, and that CBS is just fine with cutting the cord. Rumors are starting to spread that Rather, whose contract with CBS expires in November, is not coming back to the network. And that it's a mutual decision. CBS head Les Moonves, having succeeded in revamping his entertainment division long wanted to turn his attentions to news, only to be stymied by the prickly pear Rather, who loudly and publicly declaimed any attempts to rein him in as "destroying hard news."

It's not likely that if Rather left CBS, he'd quit television news cold turkey. He's too addicted to seeing himself on TV, say those who know him.

Where might Rather go if he did leave CBS? CNN would seem the most likely perch for the ousted anchorman, seeing as he's praised it repeatedly in the past, and that it's currently headed by another former CBSer, Jonathan "Pajamas" Klein, one of Dan's most vocal non-CBS defenders during the Memogate debacle, and a fellow liberal Democrat. Pointing against such a move is that Rather will be turning 75 this year; he's already two years older than CNN's main draw Larry King, whom many media analysts say is getting too long in the tooth.

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