CBS News has scheduled a prime-time salute to Dan Rather, with the newsman talking about what it was like to leave as "CBS Evening News" anchor after a quarter-century and his plans for the future.

The special, "Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers," didn't exactly get a plum time slot: CBS will air it at 9 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. CBS said it wanted to get the special on the air before Katie Couric's debut as evening-news anchor on Sept. 5.

CBS promised the special as a good-faith gesture to Rather when it announced in June that he would be leaving.

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It incorporates material from a prime-time Rather special that ran shortly after he stepped down as anchor in March 2005, but with a fresh interview. Rather is joining HDNet, a small network for owners of high-definition sets, to do a news show this fall.

"The CBS News audience, they stuck by me through sunshine and storms, and through the good times and bad times," he says in the show.

Rather was "incredibly gracious" during the process of making the show, said Susan Zirinsky, executive producer.

"He is grateful," she said. "He is grateful for stepping back and looking at what is an incredible contribution to CBS and to journalism. He's very proud of that."

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