Rather: There's No Heir Apparent

Dan Rather may one day be succeeded by CBS correspondents Scott Pelley or John Roberts — but he takes issue with the "heir apparent" tag used to define his successor. 

"Nobody's been designated as the heir apparent [at CBS]," Rather told CNN's Larry King Tuesday night. "I don't like the phrase ‘heir apparent,' to tell you the truth. This isn't royalty. 

"Look, I have no illusions about the fact that — it is a fact that I'm a reporter who got lucky," he said. "The next reporter who gets lucky and moves into the seat where Walter Cronkite once held forth, Douglas Edwards once held forth, and in radio days where Ed Murrow — will be another very lucky reporter." 

Rather also says he's not prepared to drop anchor for years to come. 

Rather, 70, told King that he's on the verge re-upping his deal with CBS. 

"I once came close, very, very close to coming to CNN and that's true. But that was back before the turn of the century," the CBS Evening News anchor said on Larry King Live

"I expect, you know, to finish whatever may be left of my tattered career at CBS," Rather said. 

"So as long as I feel good about it, and have my health, as long as CBS wants me to do it, I'll do it," he said. "I can't give you a date because I don't know one. 

My prayer nearly every night is just, God, give me one more day of doing it, because boy, I sure love it," he said. 

Rather's talk of renewing his contract is not unexpected. Reports have been circulating for months that he's close to extending his contract through 2006. 

Rather is believed to take home about $7 million a year. His announcement comes just one week after rival Tom Brokaw said his plans to step down as NBC Nightly News anchor at the conclusion of the 2004 Presidential election. Brokaw named MSNBC/CNBC anchor Brian Williams as his heir apparent to take over Nightly News.

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