Aug 19, 2009

'60 Minutes' creator Don Hewitt has died

Don Hewitt, creator of '60 Minutes' and pioneering figure in broadcast news, has died. He was 86.

From the New York Times:

During a career at CBS News that lasted more than half a century, Mr. Hewitt served as a living bridge — from the birth of television journalism in the long shadow of radio, through its golden-age as an unrivaled fixture in dens and family rooms, to its middle-age present, under siege from the Internet. As a director and producer, Mr. Hewitt helped shape the early broadcasts of pioneers like Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite, and presided over CBS’s coverage of such watershed moments as the presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960; the assassination of Mr. Kennedy in 1963; and the NASA space missions of the late 1960’s

But it was as creator and executive producer of “60 Minutes” that he had his biggest impact — imagining, in effect, what an electronic version of “Life” magazine would be like, and then bringing that confection to the screen with a mix of hard-hitting investigative pieces and celebrity profiles. As tour guides, Mr. Hewitt recruited a cast of reporters that included Mike Wallace and Dan Rather, and later Leslie Stahl, who were soon as recognizable as the politicians they confronted and the entertainers they interviewed. Whatever their line-up in a particular television season, they were presented to their Sunday night audience as equals.
Hewitt died of cancer.

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