1097: ANDY ROONEY TO STEP DOWN FROM ’60 MINS’ ROLE
Andy Rooney will announce on this Sunday’s “60 Minutes” that it will be his last regular appearance on the broadcast. Rooney, 92, has been featured on “60 Minutes” since 1978.
He will make the announcement in his regular essay at the end of the program, his 1097th original essay for “60 Minutes”. It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer.
“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”. “His contributions to ’60 Minutes’ are immeasurable; he’s also a great friend. It’s harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on ’60 Minutes’ when the urge hits him.”
Rooney began his run on “60 Minutes” in July 1978 with an essay about the reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. He became a regular feature that fall, alternating weeks with the dueling James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander before getting the end slot all to himself in the fall of 1979. In Rooney’s first full season as the “60 Minutes” commentator, the broadcast was the number one program for the first time.
He had been a contributor to “60 Minutes” since the program’s inception. During the first season of the broadcast in 1968 he appeared a few times in silhouette with Palmer Williams, a “60 Minutes” senior producer, in a short-lived segment called “Ipso and Facto.” It was one of many experiments the program’s creator, Don Hewitt, tried as an end for the program. Hewitt settled with the Point/Counterpoint segment that Kilpatrick and Alexander appeared in for a few years before finding the perfect coda for “60 Minutes” in Andy Rooney.
Rooney also produced “60 Minutes” segments for Harry Reasoner during the broadcast’s first few seasons.
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