Rather Heads to HDNet

As speculated in HD Notebook (June 22, 2006) and elsewhere in recent weeks, since his abrupt departure from CBS News after more than 40 years, veteran newsman Dan Rather will sign on with HDNet for his own investigative news show, "Dan Rather Presents."

The HD channel, co-founded and owned by outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban, reaches about three million homes in the digital universe via DBS -- a mere fraction of the 100 million-plus dwellings potentially reached by CBS over cable, DBS and terrestrially (as well as, now, online). But Cuban told The Washington Post he doesn't program HDNet for ratings; he programs it "for happy subscribers."

Cuban told the Post this week the new program will give Rather, 74, a chance to do news "in what I like to call' fearless mode,' what Dan calls 'with guts.'" Rather announced his plans with the HD outlet this week during the TV critics' tour in Los Angeles, which previews the fall season. He is expected to kick off with HDNet in October.