Dan Rather Reports for HDNet

See Ad Age Video: Mark Cuban Touts His New Journalism Star

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Dan Rather is back, and this time, he's in high def. Only three weeks after his bitter break with CBS, Mr. Rather and HDNet announced that he will produce and host a weekly news program, "Dan Rather Reports," beginning in October.

'This is journalism'
The hour-long "Dan Rather Reports" will feature uncensored news reports, interviews and investigative pieces. "This won't be the corporate news or short-segment news you find on broadcast or cable networks," Mark Cuban, HDNet co-founder, said in an e-mail. "This is journalism." Mr. Cuban and Mr. Rather discussed their joint venture at the Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday.

Mr. Rather's June departure from CBS came after a controversy surrounding a September 2004 news story questioning President Bush's Texas Air National Guard record. After the documents in the story were proved false, Mr. Rather stepped down as anchor of "CBS Evening" News in March of 2005.

CBS contract expiration
Mr. Rather continued to contribute to "60 Minutes," then left CBS in June, five months before his contract was up, saying that CBS offered him an office, but not much else. When he departed CBS, Mr. Rather was very clear about wanting to be able to do meaningful work, and not sit around waiting out a contract.

"As a team player I intend to give Mark and HDNet all of the hard work, loyalty and fearless, high-quality reporting possible," Mr. Rather said in a press release.

Mr. Cuban brushed away questions at the press conference about opposition to Mr. Rather, and whether or not that might make marketers shy away from the new show. "If advertisers don't see Dan the right way, we're still going to have the show without advertising," Mr. Cuban said. "I think it's important to have integrity in journalism."

Wide appeal
HDNet, launched in September 2001, provides high-definition cable TV content, and advertisers only pay for HD viewers. HDNet features news in HDNet's World Report, along with sports, music and entertainment programming. The network has a wide and varied audience and appeals to many demographics, Mr. Cuban said.

"We're thrilled that Dan is now part of HDNet," said Mr. Cuban, in a press release. "Now that he is finally released from the ratings-driven and limited-depth confines of broadcast television, I am excited about the impact Dan can have on the future of news."

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