There are two things to keep in mind as eyes turn to Rather's replacement. First, the choice must be blessed by CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves. The Viacom co-president is known for involving himself in casting decisions, from sitcoms to reality shows. Second, Moonves likes stars.
It's far from certain that Rather's successor at the CBS Evening News will be either of two highly touted internal candidates, chief White House correspondent John Roberts and 60 Minutes Wednesday correspondent Scott Pelley. Neither is anything close to a household name. Some TV news executives and agents believe that Moonves is likely to go on a star search. Here are some possibilities and their odds:
John Roberts: 2-1. The in-house favorite.
Scott Pelley: 3-1. Roberts' predecessor on the White House beat with solid reporting chops.
Diane Sawyer: 5-1. Pure star power. With a year-to-year contract as co-anchor of Good Morning America and Primetime Thursday, she could be pried loose.
Stone Phillips: 15-1. Longtime co-anchor of NBC's Dateline, he's well-known but has little live-news experience.
Lesley Stahl: 20-1. The anchor of 48 Hours Mystery is one of the network's only household names younger than 70.
Lester Holt: 20-1. The lone minority candidate who comes up is the MSNBC and weekend Today anchor.
Charles Gibson: 20-1. Sawyer's respected GMA co-host has the chops, but he's 61years old. Still, he might be tired of the early wake-up call.