He spoke to David Zurawik, TV critic for The Baltimore Sun about why he’s leaving, viewer reaction to the news and what his final words on-air are going to be.
Q. I have seen different numbers on your run at WJZ. Can we nail it down? Is it actually 40 years??
A. My 40th anniversary was this past Monday. I’m going out Friday at 40 years and 4 days.
Q. Now this isn’t a mandatory-at-65 retirement, is it? I know some media companies once had that rule. But that’s not the deal at CBS, is it? You’re choosing to step down, right?
A. I am choosing… It’s my choice. My contract was up at the end of May. So, during contract negotiations, I just decided I didn’t want to do this any more.
Q. Since the news of your retirement, there has been a lot of social media affection expressed by viewers. What’s that feel like as you are going out the door?
A. I’m very gratified. I’ve always appreciated the support I’ve got over the years — and the help I’ve got when I needed it. So, I’m thrilled that everybody would like me to stay, because that’s a pretty high compliment. But I started the ball rolling, and I can’t see a reason to stop it at this point or change my mind.
I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I don’t plan to sit in a rocking chair at 64 and 1/2. I don’t plan to stop coloring my beard and my hair. I assume there’s gray under there, but I haven’t seen it.
Scott also talked about his long-running relationship with morning weatherman Marty Bass and what he’s going to say as his final sign off.
A. I’m still trying to formulate in my mind what I’m going to say my last 30 seconds on the air Friday. But one thing I think besides the support of people is the support on my partner.
You know, Marty and I clicked some time ago. And I hear all those stories about how I control Marty or I calm Marty down. I don’t believe that. Neither of us controls either of us. But we do support each other. … We’ve been working together since when Oprah left for Chicago.
… I’m gratified people think this matters. I think it’s the continuum and I’m just stepping off. I’ve tried to formulate something to say that people will remember: I wanted to go out standing up, at the top of the game and healthy enough to do something else.