It is 6:25 PM, and Scott Pelley is calmly reading notes, as he fiddles with his glasses in his right hand. Next to the “CBS Evening News” anchor, his colleague and “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer waits for the program to begin. We are in what was once a skybox in the Time Warner Cable Arena. As usual with the political conventions, they have been transformed into television studios and production offices, with the small space filled with people and equipment.
The lead story on this evening’s newscast was an excerpt from Pelley’s interview with the Navy SEAL who wrote the tell-all book about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Pentagon announced that he revealed classified information, and threatened to take action just hours earlier.
It was a huge get for Pelley, and for “60 Minutes,” which has had more than its fair share of huge gets.
“We had been working on it for six weeks, maybe two months,” Pelley told me after the program. His name already changed for the “60″ story, one of his other concerns was his appearance, which had to be disguised. The traditional methods weren’t enough.
“He was scared for his safety,” Pelley said. “We told him we wouldn’t turn on the cameras until he was satisfied with his appearance.”
The end result, Pelley said, was “amazing.”