Following is the text of a CBS News press release as e-mailed to FOX News Channel Nov. 23, 2004:
DAN RATHER ANNOUNCES PLANS TO STEP DOWN FROM THE "CBS EVENING NEWS" ANCHOR CHAIR IN MARCH 2005
Dan Rather announced today that he will step down as anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" on March 9, 2005, 24 years after his first broadcast in that position.
Rather will continue to work full-time at CBS News as a correspondent for both editions of "60 Minutes," as well as on other assignments for the Division.
"I have decided to leave the 'CBS Evening News' on March 9, 2005," said Rather. "I have been lucky and blessed over these years to have what is, to me, the best job in the world and to have it at CBS News. Along the way, I've had the honor of working with some of the most talented, dedicated professionals in the world, and I'm appreciative of the opportunity to continue doing so in the years ahead.
"I have always said that I'd know when the time was right to step away from the anchor chair. This past summer, CBS and I began to discuss this matter in earnest — and we decided that the close of the election cycle would be an appropriate time. I have always been and remain a 'hard news' investigative reporter at heart. I now look forward to pouring my heart into that kind of reporting full-time."
Leslie Moonves, Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, Viacom, and Chairman, CBS, said: "Dan's 24 years at the 'CBS Evening News' is the longest run of any evening news anchor in history and is a singular achievement in broadcast journalism. He has been an eyewitness to the most important events for more than 40 years and played a crucial role in keeping the American public informed about those events and their larger significance. We congratulate him on all he has accomplished and look forward to the future."
Andrew Heyward, President, CBS News, who has worked closely with Rather since they both joined the 'CBS Evening News' in March 1981 — Rather as anchor and Heyward as a field producer — said: "Dan's dedication to his craft and his remarkable skills as a reporter are legendary. He has symbolized the 'CBS Evening News' for nearly a quarter century. He'll continue to apply his talents to everything he does at CBS News. I look forward to saluting his extraordinary tenure in the 'Evening News' chair early next year."