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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Network looking to change news format post-Rather

From wire reports

CBS will probably replace Dan Rather on the evening news with a multianchor, perhaps multicity format that changes the “antiquated” way of reporting the day’s top stories, network chief Leslie Moonves says.

Moonves told television critics that he believes many young viewers are turned off by a single “voice of God” anchor in the Internet age.

Rather announced in late November that he was stepping down from the “CBS Evening News.” It’s unclear whether a new format would be ready when Rather leaves in early March or whether an interim successor would be named.

Moonves wouldn’t comment on reports that NBC’s Katie Couric had been contacted. He also wouldn’t rule out a role for Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, whose “The Daily Show” skewers politicians and the news media each night. Moonves is co-chief executive of Viacom, which owns both CBS and Comedy Central.

Regular ‘Raymond’ finale

Don’t look for a supersized final episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Television’s most popular sitcom will end its nine-year run on May 16 with a regular half-hour show, CBS announced.

“We didn’t want to milk the story into an hour,” series star Ray Romano said.

Of course, CBS will precede that 30 minutes with an hourlong retrospective to make it an attractive event for advertisers.

The cast is filming the finale this week and keeping tightlipped on whether the battling Barone family will exit arguing.

Brad Garrett, who plays Romano’s brother, Robert, said he hasn’t been approached about a potential spinoff, but added: “I love the character. I’m open to it.”

Taking a cue from NBC’s strategy for the “Friends” finale, CBS is asking viewers to vote next month on their favorite episodes of “Raymond.” The top five vote-getters will be shown each Monday from Feb. 28 through March 28.

‘ ‘70s’ aren’t over

Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher are leaving, but “That ‘70s Show” will keep on truckin’ into an eighth season in 2005-06.

“We think it still has life in it,” Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman told television critics.

Berman says she expects both Grace and Kutcher to make guest appearances next season. Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith all are set to return.