Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wednesday 15 June 2005

Rather Won't Retire So Viacom To Split Company

Veteran Newsman Stays Put, Says Best Work Still Ahead

Frustrated that CBS veteran newsman won't retire, Summer Redstone and the board of directors at Viacom voted yesterday to split the company in two.

One company will contain Viacom's MTV, Nickleodeon, Showtime, Paramount Pictures and Simon & Schuster. The other will carry CBS, its television stations and radio networks and outdoor advertising.

"He just won't leave", fumed Redstone after the announcement of the split.

Rather, who retired from anchoring the CBS Evening News back in March, refused comment, other than saying that "my best work still lies ahead".

Rather first joined CBS in 1962 and inherited the anchor chair after legendary newsman Walter Cronkite retired in March of 1981.

Sagging ratings and a controversy over documents on President Bush's National Guard Duty, during the 2004 Presidential campaign ultimately forced Rather's retirement.

Rather and CBS News reported the documents as a scoop, however, a detailed study determined to them be forged, resulting in the firing of four of Rather's colleagues. Rather, while reporting the results of a the study of the documents, never admitted that they were fake

In announcing his retirement from the CBS Evening News, Rather did not retire from CBS and was moved over to the CBS program 60 Minutes.

"You would have thought, after the scandal, he's leave" said Redstone. "We offered a very generous retirement package but he refused it".

"They should have fired him years ago, when he walked off the set".

Redstone was referring to the incident in 1987, when upset that the network was cutting into his news broadcast due to a tennis match, Rather walked off the set, leaving the network dark for nearly six-minutes.

Redstone offered, that by splitting the company, they can assign Rather to any property and is considering placing Rather with "something on MTV

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