Dan Rather Reportedly Considering Offer From HDNet

Dan Rather, who's nearing a deal to leave CBS News after 44 years, reportedly is considering an offer from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to do a weekly news program for Cuban's HDNet cable channel.

Rather, 74, would be the host and producer of the one-hour program, The New York Times reported Friday.

Rather told the Times he had gotten several offers, including two from what he described as major networks, but said, "What I expect to do, what I hope to do, is bring this HDNet thing to fruition."

He said he had received a three-year contract from Cuban's company, but had not yet signed it, the Times reported. He was approached earlier this year by Cuban, a high-tech mogul and widely known owner of the Mavericks team, which is now tied, 2-2, with the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association finals.

Rather could not immediately be reached for comment, his spokeswoman, Kim Akhtar, said. His agent, Richard Liebner, also was unavailable for comment, as was an HDNet spokeswoman.

HDNet is an all-high-definition television channel that currently carries original news and music programming as well as films and reruns of network programs. It is available to subscribers with high-definition access on certain cable systems and through satellite services including DirecTV and Dish.

Rather stepped down in March 2005 after 24 years as CBS' anchorman. He took much of the public blame for a discredited 2004 story that questioned President Bush's military service, an episode that clouded his final months on the job. Since leaving the anchor chair, he has been a correspondent for "60 Minutes," where he contributed eight stories last season. His last report, a profile of the Whole Foods market, ran on June 4.

In recent weeks he reportedly was told by CBS News, which he joined in 1962, that it would not extend his contract past its November expiration date. He and the network have since been trying to negotiate a deal that would enable him to leave early, perhaps within days.

The 15 months since he left the "Evening News" and joined "60 Minutes" have been among the most frustrating of his career, Rather told the Times.

"I've done virtually nothing for six weeks," he said. "Anybody who knows me knows that's not the way I like to work."