In 1973, a team made up of Frank Mankiewicz, Kirby Jones, and Saul Landau landed a 14-hour interview with Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. CBS, however, refused to buy the footage unless a star like Dan Rather did some interviews himself. Rather and a CBS News team returned to Cuba for another 12½ hours of interviews. Produced by Leslie Midgley and Gordon Manning, the show interweaved the two sets of interviews in which Castro discussed, among others, the Bay of Pigs invasion and Watergate.
The reviews were mixed. While the Washington Post bemoaned the lack of “conventional, Rather-style interrogation,” Variety called it “overall, a first rate start for Rather at the helm of Reports.” Dan Rather interviewed Fidel Castro several times in the course of his career, in 1979 for 60 Minutes, in March 1985 and in 1995 when the Cuban leader came to the United States as well as in 1996 for a CBS Reports shot in Cuba.