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60 Minutes


60 MINUTES. The first of the modern "newsmagazines," 60 Minutes debuted on 24 September 1968 over the CBS television network. By 1975, it settled into the Sunday evening time slot, where it remained. 60 Minutes presented two or three separately produced short documentaries each week, all under the editorial supervision of executive producer Don Hewitt, who had been with the show from its outset. The correspondents who have appeared on the show are Mike Wallace (1968–), Harry Reasoner (1968–1970,1978–1991), Morley Safer (1970–), Dan Rather (1975–1981), Ed Bradley (1981–), Diane Sawyer (1984–1989), Meredith Vieira (1989–1991), Steve Kroft (1989–), and Leslie Stahl (1991–). Beginning in

1978, Andy Rooney began offering short observational segments.

Providing a prime-time venue for serious investigative reporting, for a while 60 Minutes was known for the confrontational manner in which correspondents like Mike Wallace approached their interview subjects-victims. What is most surprising about the show, however, is its extraordinary commercial success. It spent nineteen straight seasons in the Nielsen top ten (from 1977 to 1996), five as the most watched program on network television. Other networks, hoping for similar successes, introduced a variety of newsmagazines based on the 60 Minutes model. In 1999, CBS introduced 60 Minutes II.


Madsen, Axel. 60 Minutes: The Power and Politics of America's Most Popular TV News Show. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1984.


See alsoTelevision: Programming and Influence .

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