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Bob Schieffer may stay on evening news as commentator with Couric

NEW YORK (AP) _ There's a good chance Bob Schieffer won't leave the ``CBS Evening News'' after he's replaced as anchor by Katie Couric in September.

Schieffer said Tuesday that he's leaning toward accepting the network's offer to deliver a commentary on the evening news once or twice a week, and also be available to talk with Couric on-air about big stories.

``I kind of think this might be something fun to do,'' he said, ``but I want to make absolutely sure that this is what I want to do.''

Schieffer's 13-month stint as evening-news anchor replacing Dan Rather has proven an unexpected boon to CBS. While the broadcast is still in third place behind NBC and ABC, it's the only one that has gained viewers over the past year. The plainspoken, 69-year-old anchor has drawn much of the credit.

The idea to give Schieffer a role in a Couric-anchored broadcast, first reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, could help ensure a smooth transition by reassuring Schieffer's fans that he's not being rudely cast aside.

It could also further set CBS apart from its competitors. Although there's a history of commentary on evening-news broadcasts, from people like John Chancellor, Eric Sevareid and Howard K. Smith, it hasn't been done for several years on any of the three networks.

Schieffer said he'll decide over the summer. The ``Face the Nation'' host said he has to decide how hard he wants to work; he had long said he planned to retire from CBS News when he turned 70 next February.

He currently does a commentary at the end of ``Face the Nation'' each week, and although it's usually only about 250 words, sometimes it's harder to write short than write long, he said. Easter Sunday's commentary about religious tolerance took him more than six hours to write on Saturday _ theoretically his one day off, he said.

He's also rethinking his retirement plans.

``With all the excitement that Katie has created by coming over here, it really has rekindled some of my competitive juices,'' he said. ``I think it would be fun to be part of this.''
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