CBS executives and Rather's representatives appear close to a deal that will end Rather's association with CBS News after more than 40 years, according to an executive knowledgeable about the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
Rather, 74, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he has had no conversations about continuing at "60 Minutes" beyond the television season that ended last month. Another story published Thursday in The Washington Post quotes CBS executives who declined to be identified that network bosses have concluded there is no future role at CBS for Rather.
CBS News President Sean McManus would not comment on the reports Thursday, a spokeswoman said. Rather did not immediately return a call to his office.
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.
CBS News seems eager to usher in a new generation at "60 Minutes," where Katie Couric will start in the fall as a correspondent and CNN's Anderson Cooper will begin contributing stories. Other new correspondents like Lara Logan and Scott Pelley are also competing for airtime there.
Meanwhile, veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley has signed a contract to continue with the broadcast, according to industry executives who spoke on condition of anonymity. There had been public reports of hard-nosed negotiations between CBS News and Bradley, who inherited Mike Wallace's spot as the first correspondent to identify himself following the ticking stopwatch at each show's opening. Bradely did not immediately return a call for comment.
Rather told the Inquirer that he has had no conversation with McManus — other than twice saying hello when they saw each other at functions — since McManus took over in October.
"We've had no conversations about carrying on at `60 Minutes,"' Rather said. "My position is, I want to work. Maybe it's my hubris, but I still think there are things I can contribute, and I want an opportunity to do that."
He told the newspaper that while he would like to stay at CBS News, "the question is whether they have anything for me to do that I think is meaningful."
He contributed eight stories to "60 Minutes" last season, including an examination of North Korea's secretiveness and former President Clinton's AIDS-fighting efforts. His last report, a profile of the Whole Foods market, ran on June 4.
"60 Minutes" is in repeats now for the summer. CBS News is owned by CBS Corp.