Neither Cuban nor his executives vet story ideas or scripts. Cuban just writes the checks and watches Rather's show when it airs. This independence comes at a price, however. During his 44 years with CBS News, Rather became perhaps the nation's best-known newsman, reaching 18 million viewers a night at his peak. HDNet is only available in about 20 million households—top 25 outlets like USA or the Discovery Channel boast more than 100 million. And since Cuban won't pay for Nielsen ratings, Rather has little idea how many people are watching. HDNet's mainstays are mixed martial arts, pro wrestling, a travel show hosted by women in bikinis, and "Girls Gone Wild Presents: Search for the Hottest Girl in America."
PUBLISHED: March 7, 2011
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4099 words)