NBC, CBS deny Russert 's replacing Rather


NBC and CBS issued vehement denials of a Drudge Report item reporting that CBS had offered Tim Russert Dan Rather's job as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

"There's absolutely positively no truth whatsoever to the rumor that Matt Drudge published," said a CBS spokeswoman. An NBC spokeswoman was even more succinct: "It's simply not true," she said.

The CBS spokeswoman said Rather has at least another year on his contract and that as far as the network is concerned, Dan is still the man to the head up the news division's flagship broadcast. As far as any succession plan is concerned, she said, "there is no activity on that front."

Rather will be 70 in October. He replaced Walter Cronkite as anchor in 1981. Drudge reported that Russert was the first to be approached by CBS, as the Rather broadcast has seen continued ratings declines in the top TV markets. - Steve McClellan