Three weeks after his bitter divorce from CBS, Dan Rather is already eyeing a comeback.
The veteran newsman is teaming up with billionaire media mogul Mark Cuban's HDNet to anchor a weekly news program that will premiere on the premium high-definition channel this October.
Word of Rather joining forces with the cable/satellite purveyor had been floating around for weeks, but HDNet officials waited until Tuesday to formally announce his hiring at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California.
"HDNet is excited to announce today that one of the most accomplished news journalists of our generation, Dan Rather, will produce and host Dan Rather Reports," the cable channel said in a release.
Rather, 74, stepped down from the CBS Evening News anchor desk in March 2005 in the aftermath of "Memogate," a discredited report that cast doubt on President Bush's National Guard service and led to the firing of three of CBS News coworkers.
He remained with the Eye for another year in a diminished capacity, contributing a handful of pieces to 60 Minutes.
Last month, Rather confirmed that CBS had refused to renew his contract, effectively ending his 44 year run at the network.
Enter Cuban. After getting word of Rather's imminent departure, the Internet mogul and Dallas Mavericks owner expressed interest in making an offer, telling the Hollywood Reporter last month that he thought Rather, a native Texan, was "being held back by the corporate structure of CBS."
"They prefer pretty faces, earnings per share and fluff to news with a payoff," Cuban told the trade. "Dan is hungry to do something unique and exciting. So we are talking about how he can do that with HDNet."
Dan Rather Reports purports to tackle hard-hitting news in an hourlong documentary format.
Rather is also in talks with AOL to create original content for its news site, including video reports. No word exactly what role Rather would play, but it would mark the first major foray into broadband for the man once hailed as Edward R. Murrow's successor.
Additionally, Rather will take part in at least two roundtable discussions on NBC Universal's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show over the next two Sundays.
Rather will be paid scale for his participation and is not expected to be a regular on the show.
One pressing question is how Rather will be identified.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, Rather's peeps requested that he not be labeled "Dan Rather, former CBS News anchor" during an appearance last week on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.
In any case, Rather is scheduled to be back on the air this Wednesday CNN's Larry King Live, where he will give in-depth answers for the first time regarding his acrimonious split with his former employer and talk about his post-CBS plans.
Rather's HDNet deal makes him the last of the so-called "Voice of God" anchors to find a new home doing documentary work on cable. Former ABC Nightline anchor Ted Koppel and NBC Nightly News man Tom Brokaw are both hosting various news programs for the Discovery Channel and the BBC.