60 Minutes

60 Minutes Cast

Series Description

60 Minutes on CBS is an investigative series on CBS similar to that of ABC's "20/20" and NBC's "Dateline NBC". It premiered on September 24, 1968 and has ever since become known for its hard-hitting reports about scam artists, government waste, political corruption, corporate corruption, and other stories concentrating on wrongdoers. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of 60 Minutes stories is the fact that the investigators typically expose the wrongdoers during "in your face" interviews with confrontational questioning by the interviewer. When the scoundrels realize that they've been exposed, their fumbling and embarassment can be either very pleasing or very disturbing for viewers to watch.

60 Minutes Cast


Lesley Stahl (1991-)
Morley Safer (1970-)
Scott Pelley (2003-)
Steve Kroft (1989-)
Mike Wallace (1968-2006)
Dan Rather (1968-1981, 2005-2006)
Charles Kuralt (1968-1979)
Walter Cronkite (1968-1981)
Harry Reasoner (1968-1970, 1978-1991)
Roger Mudd (1968-1980)
Eric Sevareid (1968-1969)
Bill Plante (1968-1995)
John Hart (1969-1975)
Bob Schieffer (1973-1996)
Morton Dean (1975-1979)
Ed Bradley (1976-2006)
Marlene Sanders (1978-1987)
Diane Sawyer (1981-1989)
Charles Osgood (1981-1994)
Meredith Vieira (1982-1985, 1991-1993)
Charlie Rose (1984-1991)
Forrest Sawyer (1985-1987)
Harry Smith (1987-)
Connie Chung (1990-1993)
Paula Zahn (1990-1999)
John Roberts (1992-2005)
Russ Mitchell (1995-1998)
Christiane Amanpour (1996-2005)
Bob Simon (2005-)
Bryant Gumbel (1998-2002)
Lara Logan (2005-)
Katie Couric (2006-)
Anderson Cooper (2006-)


Andy Rooney (1978-2011)
James J. Kilpatrick (1971-1979)
Nicholas Von Hoffman (1971-1974)
Shana Alexander (1975-1979)
Stanley Crouch (1996)
Molly Ivins (1996)
P. J. O'Rourke (1996)
Bill Clinton (2003)
Bob Dole (2003)

60 Minutes Trivia:

The 60 Minutes news show on CBS was inspired by a 1964 to 1966 Canadian news series titled, "This Hour Has Days" that was highly controversial at the time. It was criticized for using hidden cameras, editing interviews rather than running them in their entirety, and for surprising interviewees with TV cameras shoved in their faces instead of scheduling interviews in advance. The controversial format became adored by a large percentage of viewers and critics, however, as numerous news series have copied it since. The 60 Minutes TV show itself has won way too many awards to mention here! It currently (2009) holds the record as the longest running TV series of any type in prime time. Meet the Press, the Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Disney anthology series have been on the air longer but not exclusively in prime time.

60 Minutes is also the longest running prime time series in the same time slot other than nightly news programs. 60 Minutes has aired at 7PM Eastern time on Sunday evenings since 1975!

60 Minutes has another distinction as being the only TV show in the U.S. TV history to never have any theme music! The only audio representing the show is that "tick, tick, tick" of the clock counting off the "Sixty Minute" duration of the show.

In the beginning, Harry Reasoner was the more traditional correspondent on 60 Minutes. He covered stories in a less aggressive manner than the other reporters. When President Richard Nixon "went to war" with network news agencies in the early 1970s, that type of reporting disappeared from the format altogether. 60 Minutes fought back against the President's attempt to "quiet" the press by aggressively covering the growing disatisfaction with the Vietnam War. They covered stories on U.S. war abuses, Canada's acceptance of U.S. draft dodgers, and the general lack of progress in fighting the war. To say the least, when the Watergate scandal hit, 60 Minutes was among the most vocal critics of Nixon's foul-mouthed, gestapo like behavior.

From 1971 to 1979 when Andy Rooney joined the cast with his social commentaries, there was a segment of the 60 Minutes news show that lasted only three minutes and was called, "Point/Counterpoint". A representative of the political left would debate against a member of the conservative right wing. That segment would later be used by CNN's Crossfire program as a basis for the show. Point/Counterpoint was lampooned by "Saturday Night Live" on several episodes with Dan Aykroyd playing the right-winger and Jane Curtin playing the liberal. As a harsh depiction of the "know-it-all" attitude of conservatives as perceived by liberals, Aykroyd usually began his reaction to what Curtain has said by beginning with, "Jane, you ignorant slut"!

In the spring of 2003, a version of "Point/Counterpoint" returned to 60 Minutes when Senator Bob Dole and former President Bill Clinton argued ten mini-debates. Perhaps due to the desire of a former President and U.S. Senator to appear "civilized", the debates didn't have anywhere near the "punch" of the "Point/Counterpoint" debates. To make matters worse, both participants still got a fair amount of criticism for participating in something that diminished the offices they had held.

Initially, CBS didn't have a lot of faith in 60 Minutes. They felt that the "in your face" type of reporting might be rejected by viewers of the late 1960s who had generally been raised to be polite. Ratings soon proved otherwise, however, and by 1979 60 Minutes was the number one show on the air! Certainly CBS had to be pleased that the advertising rates had risen from $17,000 for a 30 second spot in 1975 to a whopping $175,000 in 1982!

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