40 Years Times "60 Minutes"

September 25th, 2008

The stopwatch still ticks for 60 Minutes, which first aired forty years ago today.

The newsmagazine has not only been a critical success, but also a popular one. According to The Complete Directory to Primetime Network and Cable TV Shows by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, 60 Minutes was the #1 rated show for the 1979-80 season as well as 1982-83 season, and a three-year run between 1991-1994 (besting Home Improvement, Roseanne, and Seinfeld in this period).

Created by legendary producer Don Hewitt, the original correspondents were Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner. Focusing on the show's "magazine" format, Variety opined on the show's premiere that "it should easily build a larger following than either Look or Life across the nation."

Many highlights from the series entire run (including the opening of the first show) are available for viewing on the CBS News website: 60 Minutes— 40 Years At the Top (1968-2008).

Also among the program's notable contributors who have been interviewed by the Archive of American Television through the years, include: Wade Bingham, Ed Bradley, Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl, and Joseph Wershba.

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