Report: CBS Wooing Lauer, Russert for Rather Job

CBS is reportedly wooing "Today" show host Matt Lauer (search) and "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert (search) to replace Dan Rather (search) as CBS news anchor.

Newsweek magazine reports Monday that CBS has approached both men to see if they'd be interested jumping networks to take over what has traditionally been one of the most powerful jobs in television.

Both are still under contract to NBC. But the opportunity to anchor a nightly, national newscast might be too much to resist.

No matter, the news that CBS is aggresively looking outside of CBS for Rather's replacement indicates the network wants to dramatically overhaul its news show — which has been lagging behind NBC and ABC for more than a decade.

Other names have been swirling around in the storm left behind by Rather's sudden announcement that he will be leaving his anchor seat next March, a year or so ahead of schedule.

Rather and CBS News were seriously embarrassed by a "60 Minutes Wednesday" report earlier this fall that cast doubt on President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas National Guard — a report CBS later conceded was based on apparently false documents.

The very public stumble has afforded CBS' brass to shake up the entire news operation — which has been something of a sacred cow in the corporate structure of the network.

CBS newsmen John Roberts and Scott Pelley remain the front-runners for the job. Both came up through the ranks of CBS, are younger that Rather and experienced at filling in for Dan.

But it appears that CBS is going after — and willing to pay big bucks for — a recognizable star, if possible.

CBS declined to comment on the Newsweek report.