Conventional wisdom among journalists is that it's not good practice to disparage colleagues, because you never know when you'll have to work with them — or for them.

That sentiment holds true for media bigwigs as well.

But when the gloves do finally come off, it's usually not a pretty sight.

Just look at the pummeling Dan Rather has taken over the last year in the media and even in the halls of CBS News itself, where after 44 years the embattled former anchor is unceremoniously stepping down.

CBS announced today that it has reached an agreement with the 74-year-old newsman for his exit from the network, after Rather complained that he has been "virtually forgotten" since he left the anchor chair six months ago.

Sean McManus, the networks news and sports chief, said in a statement that the troops were working on an hour-long tribute show highlighting Rather's long career.

Rather, for his part, is said to be in talks with HDNet to host his own show.

"Dan is hungry to do something unique and exciting," HDNet owner Mark Cuban told The Hollywood Reporter.

Hopefully Cuban's Dallas Mavericks won't have any overtime games leading into Rather's show. We wouldn't want a repeat performance of the infamous incident where Rather walked off the set and left the network blank when the U.S. Open tennis tournament pre-empted the beginning of his Evening News broadcast several years ago.

I wonder if Cuban will reunite Dan with his one-time co-anchor of the CBS Evening News, Connie Chung. I hear she's moving on to "bigger" things now that she's been mercifully cancelled at MSNBC.

"I could make more on skid row," Chung screeched in an ill-advised, ear-splitting rendition of "Thanks for the Memories" on Saturday night, making fun of cable television's more down-to-earth pay scales than what she was used to at the networks — where on-air talent gets paid boatloads of money to show up and read a prompter that is usually written by much smarter, albeit lower-paid staffers.

Here is a link to Chung's awful idea of a joke on Gawker.com, that no doubt has Bob Hope spinning in his grave.

Warning: keep the volume down, unless you want someone, thinking you're dying at your computer, to call 911.

Poor Connie. Did MSNBC actually expect her to work, and take a reasonable salary for her efforts? I'd bet her contributions at the keyboard amounted to "Hello, I'm Connie Chung," while her producers filled in the rest.

Chung performed her awful song as a farewell to the show she's been co-hosting with hubby Maury Povich for the last six months. If you weren't aware of that, don't sweat it. You're among the majority.

Connie Chung indeed appears to be dumb as a rock.

How else could one fathom such a ridiculously embarrassing stunt, where she praised her husband for "speaking on Dubai" — ooh, so impressive, and maligned cable TV as something she deigned to do for very little money — as if the anachronistic, overpaid media star and her overpaid talk show host husband needed much more of the green stuff.

Give me a break, Connie. You rang the bell, and so now the gloves are off.

Thanks for the memories, Connie. I hope you already signed the contract for the "bigger" thing you were singing about. After that "American Idol"-esque bad audition, you might have sung your last.

Saved by the Grrr

Apparently actor Dustin Diamond, best known as "Screech" on the laughable show "Saved by the Bell" — which also spawned Mario "Pet Star" Lopez and Elizabeth "Showgirls" Berkley — didn't fare as well as his aforementioned co-stars.

Diamond is doing standup comedy these days, and business is so bad that the bank is foreclosing on his home in a Milwaukee suburb.

Now, money problems are not unique in this country, and I certainly have sympathy for his plight, but the fact that he's selling T-shirts as donations so that he won't lose his house is such a Grrr I don't know where to begin.

The T-shirt has a photo of Diamond holding a sign that says, "Save My House." The back of the shirt reads, "I paid $15.00 to save Screech's house."

First, didn't Diamond save any money from the long-running "Saved by the Bell"? Surely he could have afforded to buy his modest Wisconsin home outright, no?

Second, any person who would buy a T-shirt for Diamond should ask themselves if good old Screech would do the same for them in their time of need. Now, I don't know Diamond personally — maybe he gives all his money to charity. I don't know.

But I do know that if I were a standup comic, and the gigs weren't paying the mortgage, you'd bet your butt I'd be washing dishes, or driving a tow truck, or making pizzas or something else to make that mortgage payment.

I certainly wouldn't be selling T-shirts online.

In fact, I probably wouldn't be able to afford the production of those T-shirts, and if the T-shirt company is doing it gratis, for publicity, then they should just pick up the balance on the house because of all the media coverage Screech has delivered.

Father's Day Grrrs

Looking for a late Father's Day gift?

Browsing books on Sunday at the gift-ideas-for-dad shelf, I discovered that good books for dad — at least to one B & N store manager — are books about guns, automobiles and even one about the art of the obituary, where "select" obits from the nation's papers are featured.

Hmmm. That sounds like a great idea for a Father's Day gift. Here you go Dad, a book about death. It looked to me that the store manager simply replaced the "Bargain Books" sign with the "Gift Ideas for Dad" sign, because the books were mostly copyright 1912.

But in case you're not looking to send your father to the grave just yet, you could always help him along by encouraging the idiot in him, like Sears' "Caroling Dads" do.

I bet Connie Chung got her ill-conceived parody idea from these silly commercials featuring actors playing fathers singing tunes like "O Plasma Screen" or "Silver Bells," where the dads are shown fumbling with the tools and singing new lyrics to those tunes.

It's another fine example of the brains behind some of the biggest advertising agencies in the world.

Why are all men in television commercials really dumb, really horny and really distracted by sporting events? Why do they really love beer? Watching commercials these days is enough to really make you go Grrr!

Click Here for Your Grrrs

Respond to Mike | The Grrr! Page | Video: Watch Mike's Real Deal Webcast