CBS will televise a one-hour prime-time tribute to Dan Rather the night he leaves the evening news anchor chair, and its producer says it won’t avoid the story that has clouded his final days on the job.
“Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers” will air at 8 p.m. March 9, an hour after he anchors his final evening newscast after 24 years, the network announced Thursday.
Rather, 73, will talk about last fall’s ill-fated “60 Minutes Wednesday” story about President Bush’s military service, said Susan Zirinsky, the show’s executive producer.
CBS fired the story’s producer and asked for the resignations of three executives because it could not authenticate documents used in the story.
The memoir will look back on the stories Rather has covered in a CBS News career that began in 1962. In addition, starting Feb. 28, the “CBS Evening News” will air an eight-part series in which Rather looks back at the most significant stories he’s covered.
NBC offered Tom Brokaw a two-hour prime-time send-off when he stepped down as “Nightly News” anchorman last year. But Brokaw went out on a wave of goodwill, on top of the ratings, while Rather’s newscast is a distant third and executives are mulling a dramatic revamp.
And the fallout from the Guard story continues to linger: The three executives asked to resign Jan. 10 have yet to do so, with either a legal settlement or court fight looming. CBS would not comment on their status.