CBS won’t be unveiling its new-look nightly newscast in the immediate future, so it’s turning to one of its veteran correspondents to fill the anchor chair temporarily after Dan Rather steps down.

The network says Bob Schieffer, host of the Sunday-morning show “Face the Nation” and the chief Washington correspondent for CBS, will take over as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” on March 10. Rather is leaving the anchor desk March 9 after 24 years.

CBS is calling Schieffer an “interim anchor” who will fill the post while the network comes up with a new format for its evening newscast, which trails NBC and ABC in the ratings. Network head Les Moonves has said that CBS is considering a number of options for changing the look of the newscast, possibly involving multiple anchors or a different way of delivering the day’s stories.

Schieffer has been with CBS since 1969 and has covered the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department during his career.

He’s hosted “Face the Nation” since 1991 and also anchored the weekend “Evening News” and filled in for Rather numerous times in the past. His work has earned six Emmy Awards for news.

Rather’s departure, announced in December, comes on the heels of a discredited “60 Minutes Wednesday” story he reported about President Bush’s National Guard service.

Documents supporting the allegations that Bush had shirked Guard duty were immediately called into question and eventually proven to be bogus; the source who provided the documents also came under fire.

As a result of the story, CBS News commissioned an outside review of its news-gathering system. The panel’s report blistered the news division’s practices and has led CBS to ask for the resignation of four producers.


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