First on TVNewser: Andy Rooney‘s “60 Minutes” commentary on Sunday is expected to be his last regular appearance, TVNewser has learned.
Rooney, who began his whimsical end-of-show pieces in 1978, was MIA from last week’s 44th-season premiere.
Rooney turns 93 in January. He moves slowly, and his hearing and sight are not what they used to be. Over the years, ’60′s’ resident curmudgeon has been criticized frequently for being out of touch with contemporary culture.
Rooney could not be reached for comment. CBS News is expected to confirm the move soon.
In a June 2010 interview with TVNewser, Rooney said that he intended to work at ‘60’ until he “dropped dead.” He added: “Until somebody tells me different, I’m not going to quit.”
No word on who will take over Rooney’s two-minute slot. Regardless, he’s expected to keep his CBS office, where he shows up six days a week, sometimes seven. An accomplished author, Rooney will likely concentrate on his writing.
Rooney joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.” Until a few years ago, he wrote his pieces on a manual typewriter from his days as a London correspondent for Stars and Stripes during World War II.
Longevity at ’60′ is nothing new. Original correspondent Mike Wallace, 93, worked full-time until 2006, then popped up occasionally until ’08.
The late Don Hewitt, ’60′ creator and long-time executive producer, was 81 when he was nudged from the throne in 2004. He died five years later.
> Update: CBS press release after the jump. “There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” said Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and the executive producer of “60 Minutes.”