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CBS's Dan Rather Guest Host On CNN's 'Larry King Live'

NEW YORK (AP) - Yes, that WAS Dan Rather appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" to conduct an hour's worth of interviews about the crisis with Iraq. Rather's bosses at CBS said Tuesday they consider it good publicity that the evening news anchorman appeared as a guest host Monday night on a competing network's program. ABC and NBC said they wouldn't allow anchors to take on the same assignment. Subbing for the vacationing King, Rather interviewed Defense Secretary William Cohen, Iraqi United Nations Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon and Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., about the confrontation between the United States and Iraq. Rather has been a co-host of "Larry King Live" in the past, but this was his first time doing it on his own, CNN spokeswoman Caroline Teasdale said. At the time, CBS was airing coverage of the Winter Olympics. CNN used portions of the interviews during news broadcasts later Monday and Tuesday. It helps CBS if Rather has an opportunity to show skills as a hard news interviewer that he doesn't frequently get on the evening news, said Jonathan Klein, executive vice president of CBS News. "Dan's number one, number two and number three priorities are the 'CBS Evening News,"' Klein said. "He's never going to do anything that is contrary to the best interests of the broadcast." Rather, who is friendly with King, turned down an offer to join CNN last year, instead signing a lucrative contract extension with CBS. CBS and CNN have worked together on other occasions; CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour also works part-time for "60 Minutes" on CBS. NBC anchor Tom Brokaw was a guest host of King's program in 1995, before NBC started the competing MSNBC cable news network. ABC's Hugh Downs and Jeff Greenfield both were hosts before that network established a policy banning such a practice. "We're not in the business of farming out our anchors and correspondents to other news organizations," said ABC spokeswoman Eileen Murphy. ABC does allow its personnel to appear as guests on King's show and other programs, she said.

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