Dan Rather

Rather spent 24 years anchoring the CBS Evening News before his unceremonious departure from the network in 2005. These days he anchor Dan Rather Reports on HDNet.

Rather earned a journalism degree and served as a Marine before starting off his career as a reporter for the Associated Press. He transitioned to TV a few years later, earning his big break when he reported on 1961's Hurricane Carla for a Houston's CBS affiliate: Ever the drama queen, Rather tethered himself to a tree during the storm so he could continue his reporting. The move attracted the attention of execs at CBS headquarters in New York and Rather was almost immediately offered a job covering national news. He went on to serve as the network's White House correspondent during Watergate, famously sparring with President Nixon at a 1974 press conference. In 1981, Rather landed the spot of anchor of the CBS Evening News following the retirement of Walter Cronkite, negotiating an unprecedented 10-year, $23 million pay package.

Whatever anxiety Rather had during his early days quickly dissipated as his down-home manner charmed audiences and made the CBS Evening News the highest-rated evening news broadcast by the mid-'80s. But his time at the top was short-lived. By the early '90s, the show had slipped to third place behind Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, and CBS explored a range of other formats to reinvigorate the broadcast, such as pairing him up with Connie Chung, a strategy that proved ineffective. Rather continued to plod along until he became embroiled in scandal in 2005 involving a phony story about George Bush, which led to his eventual departure from CBS a year later. He now hosts a show called Dan Rather Reports on Mark Cuban's lightly-viewed cable channel HDNet. [Image via Getty]