Dan Rather’s days at CBS are numbered, and before Dan has a chance to be “as frustrated as a perverted farm hand with an electric cow milker during a power outage,” he’ll be signed by CNN. That’s my guess, anyway.
CBS executives have decided there is no future role at the network for Dan Rather, making it certain that the man who sat in the anchor chair for 24 years will depart by this fall.
These executives recognize Rather’s contributions over four decades and are not trying to boot him because of the controversy surrounding his botched story on President Bush and the National Guard, say network sources who declined to be named while discussing a sensitive personnel matter.
My money is on this: Dan Rather will end up at CNN. The timing, the need, the mutual desperation and the opportunity are all aligning Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and CNN may soon get the “courage.”
Dan Rather knows he must leave CBS if he is ever to get back his credibility (an aspiration which is as futile as trying to regain ones virginity, but don’t upset Dan with the bad news just yet). None of the other over-the-air networks will hire Rather, he doesn’t want to retire, and CNN needs something, anything, to bring ratings up. It all adds up to Dan Rather ending up at CNN after his CBS contract expires in November ofÃ‚Â this yearÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ maybe sooner.
Compared to CNN, Rather is still “huge,” in sheer number of viewers.
Here will be the thought process on the part of CNN. Let’s say that, from 6 to 7 p.m., CNN has around 600,000 viewers on any given weeknight, give or take a hundred thousand (depending on if something better is on PBS). Then we’ll assume that Dan Rather, when he anchored “The CBS Evening News,” had around 6 million viewers per night. Hey, that’s a 900 percent increase in viewers for CNN, assuming Rather drags all his old viewers over with him. This of courseÃ‚Â is a ridiculous and outrageous assumption, but for people who have proven to be adept at nothing but, it will appear a realistic expectation.
Dan Rather will be a logical choice for CNN because they have an historic inability to spot a liability from CBS. You would think that CNN would ponder taking Rather on board with a trepidation not seen since a paperboy considered accepting a route that included the Neverland Ranch, but this won’t be the case when it comes to Dan Rather.
Before you think, rightly so, that Dan Rather is Nielsen kryptonite because of the National Guard document fiasco, whose power to repel would extend to cable news networks as well, consider this: So what.
Previous moves made by CNN prove that they just don’t get it.
When CNN began noticing a troubling ratings problem in 2004, they turned to the former “CBS News” executive Jonathan Klein to head programming and editorial direction. Under Klein, “CBS News” was consistently beaten in the ratings, but the “board room” sales pitch to CNN suits was probably along the lines of “Yeah, but he was never beaten by FOX News!”
No, seriously, that’s how they think.
Can you believe that Rather is stillÃ‚Â standing behind his National Guard document story? Dan should heed the age old advice: “Stop digging when you hear Chinese.”
After he’s done at CBS, Dan will be thrilled that this painful chapter in his career is over, and perhaps it will be time to start anew at CNN, where nobody purposefully pushes a liberal agenda Ã¢â‚¬â€œ because they don’t know how not to.
In putting CBS behind him and jumping on board CNN, assuming the deck is still above water, Dan will be, as he might say, “as happy as Pee Wee Herman in a peepshow with a pocket full of quarters.”
Still in denial, but happy.
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