Tuesday, March 9, 2021

This Day in TV History: Dan Rather replaces Walter Cronkite

40 years ago tonight, the CBS Evening News transitioned from Walter Cronkite to Dan Rather. Though there had been a buildup to this first Rather newscast, and though reporting at the time indicated Cronkite had chosen his successor, the iconic personality reportedly grew to regret leaving and to resent Rather. Maybe he didn't like Rather opening the show by saying, "Good riddance to bad rubbish; Danny R is in the hizzy!"

Actually, you can watch the first episode here thanks to one awesome uploader:

Cronkite was facing the supposed mandatory retirement age at the network, and he expressed interest in doing things like more specials and his new series Universe (a flop). So CBS probably hoped for a smooth passing of the baton.  Really it wasn't until years later that most of the stuff came out about tension between the two.

As for Rather, he stayed on more than two more decades at the network before leaving amid controversy, one of several issues he had during his long tenure.  The 60 Minutes episode we discussed was post-Rather taking over as anchor, and so he wasn't one of the cast at that time, but it's important to remember he had a significant and varied career at CBS News even before taking over the anchor chair on the flagship news program.

No comments:

Post a Comment