'60 Minutes' Wednesday Canceled

Network Says Ratings, Not Documents Scandal, Behind Decision

CBS is canceling the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes, the network announced ahead of the unveiling of its new fall schedule Wednesday.

Lead Correspondent Dan Rather will contribute stories to the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes, said CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves.

"This was a ratings call, not a content call," Moonves said.

The newsmagazine was where Rather reported last September that Mr. Bush skirted some duty while in the Texas Air National Guard and a commander felt pressure to sugarcoat an evaluation of him. An independent panel later concluded that documents used in the story could not be verified, and that that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the broadcast.

Moonves said that story didn't figure in the decision to cancel it, "not even slightly."

Over seven seasons, the broadcast has won numerous honors, including 10 Emmys, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, four Peabody Awards and two RTNDA/Edward R. Murrow Awards.

But the 60 Minutes spinoff has been sinking in the ratings, a decline accelerated by the success of the ABC drama "Lost" in the same time slot. The show also has one of the oldest audiences in prime-time television, considered a turn-off to advertisers.

Moonves said CBS News President Andrew Heyward was telling his staff of the decision on Wednesday and it was too soon to tell whether any layoffs will result.

CBS will likely run news specials during the year in prime-time, he said.

The show was Rather's home base since he stepped down as anchor of the CBS Evening News in March.