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Dan Rather: CNN & CBS ‘A Marriage that Makes Sense in Theory’

danrather_5-11.jpgDan Rather appeared on Julie Menin‘s “Give and Take” interview show where he discussed, at length, the possibility of a partnership between his old network, CBS, and cable news net CNN as well as the direction he thinks CNN should be heading.

“I do think there would be advantages to each side, both CBS and CNN. From where I sit…the greatest advantage would be for CNN,” Rather says. “But one doesn’t want to underestimate the internal problems of, in the end, who’s going to have the final say.” Rather says he could see a scenario where “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric, whom he considers an “excellent interviewer,” replaces CNN staple Larry King.

Rather speaks candidly in defense, however, of his old friend King, “[CNN execs] haven’t stood up for him when he’s come under attack or criticism, which is one of the things that good management does,” Rather says. “I can’t believe that [CNN/US President Jon Klein] subscribes to what they haven’t been doing for Larry.”

“The problem for CNN as a whole is not Larry King,” He added. “He has extremely poor lead-ins. He has the toughest competition on television — the 8-10 slot on Fox has done extremely well in terms of ratings. It’s a behemoth.”

Rather sympathizes with what CNN is trying to accomplish in what he calls a “tremendously competitive environment,” but says, “There’s a belief that to be serious you have to be dull. Sometimes I think CNN falls into that trap, which we’ve all fallen into from time to time.”

After the jump, watch the full interview with Rather in which he discusses more about what CNN could do going forward and explains why he thinks Fox News has succeeded.

Related: Check out parts 1, 2, and 3 of TVNewser’s Media Beat interview with Rather for mediabistro.com.


“Give and Take” appears on WNBC’s New York Nonstop channel. The sit-down with Rather airs Sunday.

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