Previously, we brought you part one of our list of 15 interesting facts about 60 Minutes. Now check out eight more facts about the longest running prime time show in television history, now in its 48th season of hard-hitting, investigative reporting.
Number Eight: 60 Minutes Holds the Record for Most Emmy Awards Won
60 Minutes has won 133 Emmy Awards. No other program has come close to this number.
Number Seven: Andy Rooney Was Featured the Most Times of Any Correspondent
Rooney wrote an impressive 1,097 original essays for 60 Minutes. Andy Rooney has technically appeared on the program (including summer repeats) at least 1,500 times.
Number Six: One Controversy Was Turned into a Hit Movie
When Brown & Williamson’s former vice president of research and development told the program’s producer about the company’s attempt to hide the health risks on their cigarettes, the report was met with opposition. CBS Corp. refused to let Hewitt and 60 Minutes air the story, although it was eventually broadcast on February 4, 1996. In 1999, the incident sparked the Oscar-winning film, The Insider.
Number Five: Intended to Be a Television Version of Life Magazine
When Don Hewitt first conceived of the program, he wanted to create a program featuring important investigative reporting techniques within a news magazine format. Some of the first episode’s segments included visits to presidential contenders’ homes, commentary about the American electoral system from the perspective of European writers, an interview with the attorney general, a scripted reading, the shortened version of an award-winning short film, and a meditation on perception versus reality.
Number Four: Its Correspondents Rarely Share Airtime with Each Other
As part of the initial format of the program, no host was seen on screen with another host. This was done to foster a sense of intimacy between the host and the viewer, although on a few occasions, correspondents can be seen on camera together. One such occasion was when all five correspondents sat down with Bill Clinton in 1995 to discuss the United States’ involvement in the Bosnian conflict.
Number Three: One Report Almost Cost Dan Rather His Job
During the presidential election in 2004, 60 Minutes II (a 60 Minutes spinoff that was eventually canceled) claimed to obtain documents from George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. However, the documents had not been authenticated before the report aired. This bit of sloppy reporting cost a number of CBS News executives to either be fired or forced to quit. Dan Rather also resigned from the program as well, but it has been rumored that he would have retired a year later anyway.
Number Two: The Program’s Creator Also Produced the First Televised Presidential Debate
Before ever coming up with the idea for 60 Minutes, Don Hewitt, who was a producer and director at CBS since 1948, produced the first ever televised presidential debate in 1960. The broadcast was widely seen as one of the deciding factors in the election’s outcome. Hewitt was also producing the CBS Evening News when Walter Cronkite announced the passing of JFK.
Number One: The Stopwatch Logo Was Not Originally Part of the Show
Though it started being used in the show’s first season, the stopwatch was actually introduced a couple of shows in. Now one of the most iconic parts of the show, the stopwatch has gone through a few makeovers regarding its background colors and the color of the words over it. The last makeover happened in 2006 when the stopwatch was changed from its diagonal position to its current upright position. Thank you for reading our list of 15 interesting facts about 60 Minutes. We hope you enjoyed it!