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Posts Tagged ‘Don Hewitt’

Don Hewitt: Quotes from the ‘Kid’

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

hewitt_3-18.jpgDon Hewitt was every reporter’s dream — a veritable quote machine.

The irrepressible “60 Minutes” creator, who lost his battle against pancreatic cancer Wednesday at age 86, had absolute opinions about absolutely everything, and he delivered them with evangelical passion.

Hewitt wasn’t always right, but he was always certain. What else would you expect from a guy whom 91-year-old Mike Wallace liked to call “kid?”

As I looked over the many interviews I did with Hewitt over 25 years, his statements about age and death were particularly resonant. Here are some of them:

“Will I die at my desk? I’m not going to die. This [news] release has to be my obituary, because there’s never going to be another one.”
-January 2003, on CBS’s announcement of his new 10-year contract.

“I like it that Mike calls me a kid. I am a kid. I’ve never grown up. I’d like to believe I have genetic wiring that keeps me young. There was a great line from Satchel Paige: ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?’ I’d be 32.”
-January 2003, same interview.

“I’m going to stay at CBS until I go gaga. They signed me forever.”
-January 2004 interview.

More after the jump.

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Sunday’s “60 Minutes” to be a Tribute to Don Hewitt

DOnHewitt_8.19.jpgCBS News has announced that this Sunday “60 Minutes” will devote its entire hour to the news magazine’s creator and former executive producer, Don Hewitt, who passed away this morning.

The “60 Minutes” correspondents are working on individual segments that will tell the story of the legendary newsman’s life, and lasting contributions to the TV news industry.

> Earlier: TV news executives and anchors remember Don Hewitt

August Has Been Good for Newsmagazines

On the day the TV news world lost a visionary creator of the genre, there is news about the strong ratings for several broadcast newsmagazines. In addition to “60 Minutes,” the show the late Don Hewitt created, CBS’ “48 Hours,” and NBC’s “Dateline” are putting up strong August numbers.

Friday’s two hour “Dateline” was #1 in Total Viewers (6.04M) and the A18-49 demo for the time slot while the Monday 10pm episode was #1 in the A18-49 and A25-54 demos drawing 6.9M Total Viewers. The previous Monday, Aug. 10th episode of Dateline was #19 for the week in Total Viewers (6.3M) and #17 in the A25-54 demo. The prior week the show put up big numbers too.

We reported yesterday about CBS’ “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes” being the most-watched shows on Saturday and Sunday night, respectively.

Remembering Don Hewitt: “Don was Among the First to Realize: Television without Context Amounts to Pictures with Noise”

Statements from TV news executives on the death of Don Hewitt:

• CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves:

“In the history of journalism, there have been few who were as creative, dynamic and versatile as Don Hewitt. The depth and breadth of his accomplishments are impossible to measure, because since the very beginnings of our business, he quite literally invented so many of the vehicles by which we now communicate the news. He will be missed by our entire industry, but most of all by his many, many friends at CBS both past and present who continue to be inspired by his professionalism, grit and dedication to the truth.”

• CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus:

“Don’s creativity, drive and outright enthusiasm were an inspiration to everyone at CBS News. He shaped the television news business from its earliest moments through the creation of his masterwork, 60 MINUTES, which is still a vibrant and successful symbol of his colossal influence.”

• EP of “60 Minutes” Jeff Fager:

“It is a sad and difficult time for all of us who work at 60 Minutes. Don was a giant figure in our lives and will always have an impact on this broadcast – there’s a part of him in every one of us, and it affects every decision we make. He will be remembered as a brilliant editor and story teller, an irrepressible force who changed journalism forever. Those of us who knew him and worked with him will remember him simply as a great guy to be around. He was full of life, usually armed with a joke, and he always found a way to make our stories better. I will miss Don very much.”

• NBC News president Steve Capus:

“This is an enormous loss. Virtually everything we do everyday goes back to the innovations that Don Hewitt brought to our craft. To say he was a pioneer doesn’t do him justice. He was a visionary, a brilliant producer, master story-teller, tough as nails, and a tour de force. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Don through the years and always enjoyed his stories about his legendary productions, from presidential debates to unforgettable 60 Minutes broadcasts. His family and CBS colleagues are in the thoughts of everyone at NBC News.

• ABC News president David Westin:

“Don Hewitt taught us all by his example just how good television news could be. He was a brilliant producer, a formidable competitor and a good friend. He changed television journalism which will not be the same without him.”

Click continued to see the remembrances from TV news anchors…

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Don Hewitt – 1922-2009


Don Hewitt, the legendary CBS News producer and creator of “60 Minutes,” has died. Sources inside CBS News tell us Hewitt died this morning, but did not have any further information.

Hewitt, 86, was last seen publicly at the funeral for Walter Cronkite July 23. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March.

> More: From Hewitt’s bio on

Hewitt began his career with CBS News in 1948 as an associate director of “Douglas Edwards with the News,” then served as producer-director of the broadcast for 14 years. He later became executive producer of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”

Hewitt is best known for “60 Minutes”, the groundbreaking news broadcast he created in 1968 and stepped down from as its executive producer in June 2004. It remains the most popular television program in history, making the top-10 list for an unprecedented 23 straight seasons – a record five of them as the number-one broadcast. It is still the number-one news program.

Hewitt began his journalism career in 1942 as head copyboy for the New York Herald Tribune after attending New York University for one year. During World War II, he served as a correspondent in the European and Pacific theaters (1943-45). He later became night editor of the Associated Press’s Memphis bureau (1945-46), went on to become editor of the Pelham (N.Y.) Sun (1946-47) and was the night telephoto editor for Acme News Pictures.

> More: Images from the life and career of Don Hewitt in a special slideshow on…

> More: When Hewitt stepped down from “60 Minutes,” where he’d spent 36 years, CBS News produced a special called “Tell Me A Story.” A portion is below:

Click continued to see the Don Hewitt obituary, produced by CBS News…

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Gathering for the Funeral of Walter Cronkite


Les Moonves, Katie Couric and Sean McManus at St. Bartholomew church for the funeral for Walter Cronkite.

We’re keeping our eye on and the funeral service for Walter Cronkite which will begin at 2pmET. Already at St. Bartholomew in Midtown Manhattan we’ve spotted Bill Plante, Bob Schieffer, Aaron Brown, Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith; Steve Kroft chatting with Linda Mason, who was the first female producer on the Evening News and is now an SVP at CBS News. One pew in front of Mason is Katie Couric who is seated between CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus and CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves.

ABC News president David Westin arrived around 1:20pm and is sitting with Diane Sawyer.

Also, Connie Chung, actors Jerry Stiller and his wife Anne Meara. Brian Williams arrived on the church steps at 1:25 followed by Barbara Walters and Charlie Gibson arriving arm-in-arm at 1:27pm and Tom Brokaw and wife Meredith at 1:35pm. A few minutes later Andy Rooney arrived with his son, ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney. NBC News president Steve Capus, Dan Rather, Don Hewitt, former 60 Minutes correspondent-turned-NBC anchor Meredith Vieira also spotted.

Again, you can watch coverage of the service on


Brian Rooney and his father Andy Rooney arrive at St. Bartholomew Church

> 2:20pm: From Andy Rooney’s eulogy: “Walter was such a good friend. I can’t get over it… I just feel so terrible about Walter’s death I can hardly say anything. Please excuse me. Thank you.”

The cable news networks are dipping in to the funeral while NY1 in New York City is carrying the funeral live.

Click continued to see a list of some of the other tvnewsers in attendance, and more pictures from after service..

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How Cable News Covered the Death of Walter Cronkite

As the special report on CBS came to an end at 8:21pm, the cable news networks began their coverage of the death of Walter Cronkite.


• CNN’s Campbell Brown began continuing coverage at 8:18pm and included phone interviews with Don Hewitt, Susan Zirinksy and former CBS Newsman, now CNN anchor John Roberts. At 9pmET, John King in for Larry King, continued the coverage which included an interview with Katie Couric from her CBS News studio. CNN remained with live coverage at 10pm replacing an AC360 special about Pres. Obama in Africa. John King continued in the anchor chair talking with Bob Schieffer and Morley Safer by phone, and Susan Zirinksy, from the CBS studio during which she held up the script from the CBS Evening News the night Pres. Richard Nixon resigned. Cronkite had thrown it in the trash that night, and Zirinksy pulled it out and has kept it since.


• Anchor Jon Scott broke in to The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News at 8:19 and continued with live coverage until 10pm preempting Hannity. When Scott signed off just before 10, he said Fox was dedicating the Greta Van Sustern Apollo 11 special in memory of Waler Cronkite. Scott returned for updates during the special’s commercial breaks. Scott’s guests included Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Barbara Walters and Linda Mason an SVP at CBS News who was Cronkite’s first female producer on the Evening News.


David Shuster, filling in on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, reported the news at 8:19 and returned live at 10pm to anchor. Rachel Maddow hosted her show at 9pm and was accompanied for most of the hour by Dan Rather, the man who replaced Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1981. Other guests included Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw.

‘That’s the Way it Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite’ to Air Sunday on CBS

CBS will preempt 60 Minutes this Sunday for a special on the life of Walter Cronkite, who died earlier this evening in New York.

Some of the biggest names in politics, news and entertainment – including Pres. Barack Obama, CBS News colleagues Mike Wallace, Morley Safer and Don Hewitt, Katie Couric, George Clooney, Robin Williams and Spike Lee will share their own memories of the industry’s elder statesman as part of the special.

Susan Zirinsky, who once produced for Cronkite, is the executive producer of “That’s the Way it Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite.”

Click continued for more details…

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CBS Statements on the Death of Walter Cronkite

Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports:

“It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite. More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments. No matter what the news event was, Walter was always the consummate professional with an un-paralleled sense of compassion, integrity, humanity, warmth, and occasionally even humor. There will never be another figure in American history who will hold the position Walter held in our minds, our hearts and on the television. We were blessed to have this man in our lives and words cannot describe how much he will be missed by those of us at CBS News and by all of America.”

Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor, CBS Evening News, correspondent, 60 Minutes:

“When I think of Walter Cronkite, I think of his high journalism standards, integrity – but most of all his humanity. I think he was so trusted because he exhibited a sense of purpose and compassion, night after night. He was the personification of excellence.”

Don Hewitt, executive producer, CBS News, creator of 60 Minutes and Cronkite’s first executive producer on the CBS Evening News:

“How many news organizations get the chance to bask in the sunshine of a half-century of Edward R. Murrow followed by a half century of Walter Cronkite?”

Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes commentator:

“I’ve been proud over the years to see Walter become, not just one of the best known people on television but one of the best known people in the whole world of people. He was proud of me, too and there’s no better feeling in life than that. I wouldn’t trade Walter Cronkite liking me for just about anything I’ve ever had.”

Statements from Les Moonves, Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Rick Kaplan, Susan Zirinksy, Charles Osgood, and more…

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60 Minutes Creator Don Hewitt Hospitalized

hewitt_3-18.jpgDon Hewitt has been hospitalized with pancreatic cancer, reports Liz Smith on

The 60 Minutes creator and longtime EP of the program is 86.

Last year he received the Edward R. Murrow lifetime achievement award in broadcast journalism.

> Update: According to a CBS News internal memo obtained by TVNewser, Hewitt is not hospitalized. Instead, he is “at home,” and “going to Sloan-Kettering this weekend for tests to determine if he should have surgery on a small growth discovered on his pancreas.” The full note, after the jump…

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