Don Hewitt

Producer / Creator of "60 Minutes"


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Don Hewitt (1922-2009) speaks about the beginnings of broadcast journalism. He recalls the days of Douglas Edwards with the News. He discusses his role in the Kennedy-Nixon Debates of 1960, and how CBS news covered the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Hewitt further reflects on the profound influence of Fred Friendly, Edward R. Murrow and William Paley. He recounts the creation and success of 60 Minutes, and recalls correspondants Mike Wallace, Lesley Stahl, Dan Rather, and Ed Bradley. He concludes by discussing what he feels represents the best of television. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on April 15, 1997 in New York, NY.

"I said, 'In all these hours of entertainment, couldn't you find sixty minutes for some kind of a news magazine?'"

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Don Hewitt on the early differences between CBS and NBC's news operations
Don Hewitt on Edward R. Murrow taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy
Don Hewitt on the fictional character "Hildy Johnson" from the play "The Front Page" and the feature "His Girl Friday"
Don Hewitt on covering the political conventions in 1948 and 1952, and on anchors Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite
Don Hewitt on being dismissed from CBS News in 1964, and on the creation of 60 Minutes
Don Hewitt on the first episode of 60 Minutes, and on the spate of 60 Minutes clones
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his first experience with the word "television," and his overview of the early days of television; on his first job, at the "New York Herald Tribune"
On his experience during World War II; on his first job at CBS, and covering the sinking of the Andrea Doria and the Queen Elizabeth Coronation; on the early differences between CBS and NBC's news operations

Chapter 2

On producing Douglas Edwards with the News, and on inventing a method for superimposing names on air; on covering the Korean War for CBS News, and on how the technology of the industry has changed; on covering the political conventions in 1948 and 1952, and on anchors Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite
On why the public trusted Walter Cronkite; on Edward R. Murrow taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy; on Fred Friendly's impact on network news; on producing the Kennedy-Nixon debates

Chapter 3

On the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debates; on early sponsorship of network news programs
On CBS News covering the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy; on being dismissed from CBS News in 1964, and on the creation of 60 Minutes; on Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, and on the success of the show
On the first episode of 60 Minutes, and on the spate of 60 Minutes clones; on the monetary success of 60 Minutes; on the CBS coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin hearing

Chapter 4

On how television changed the public's opinion of the Vietnam War and on the coverage of the Gulf War; on the correspondents of 60 Minutes; on Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, and on finally having female correspondents on the show
On Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, and on the Brown & Williamson Tobacco affair on the show; on the then-future of 60 Minutes, and on the audience of the show; on the most rewarding aspect of being a producer of television news, and on what represents the best of television
On various people with whom he worked in his career; on the fictional character "Hildy Johnson" from the play "The Front Page"; on an encounter with Nikita Khrushchev, and on stealing NBC's convention plans one year

Chapter 5

Don Hewitt on various people he worked with in his career
Don Hewitt on b-roll footage of pictures of his career- Hewitt describes them first, and the pictures follow with no sound- with John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy-Nixon debate; with John F. Kennedy; with Lyndon B. Johnson; with Ronald Reagan; with Dwight David Eisenhower; with his father; with William S. Paley; with Richard Nixon
Shows

60 Minutes

View Show Page
Don Hewitt on being dismissed from CBS News in 1964, and on the creation of 60 Minutes
Don Hewitt on Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, and on the success of the show
Don Hewitt on the first episode of 60 Minutes, and on the spate of 60 Minutes clones
Don Hewitt on the monetary success of 60 Minutes
Don Hewitt on the correspondents of 60 Minutes including Morley Safer, Dan Rather, Ed Bradley, and Harry Reasoner
Don Hewitt on Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, and on finally having female correspondents on the show
Don Hewitt on Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, and on the Brown & Williamson Tobacco affair on the show
Don Hewitt on the then-future of 60 Minutes, and on the audience of the show

Douglas Edwards with the News

View Show Page
Don Hewitt on producing Douglas Edwards with the News, and on inventing a method for superimposing names on air
Topics

Gulf War

View Topic
Don Hewitt on television's coverage of the Gulf War

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Don Hewitt on his experience during World War II
Don Hewitt on covering the Queen Elizabeth Coronation
Don Hewitt on covering the Korean War for CBS News, and on how the technology of the industry has changed
Don Hewitt on producing the Kennedy-Nixon debates
Don Hewitt on the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debates
Don Hewitt on CBS News covering the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy
Don Hewitt on the CBS coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin hearing
Don Hewitt on how television changed the public's opinion of the Vietnam War
Don Hewitt on television's coverage of the Gulf War

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Don Hewitt on CBS News covering the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

View Topic
Don Hewitt on producing the Kennedy-Nixon debates
Don Hewitt on the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debates

Korean War

View Topic
Don Hewitt on covering the Korean War for CBS News, and on how the technology of the industry has changed

Queen Elizabeth Coronation

View Topic
Don Hewitt on covering the Queen Elizabeth Coronation

Television Industry

View Topic
Don Hewitt on early sponsorship of network news programs

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Don Hewitt on covering the political conventions in 1948 and 1952, and on anchors Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite

Vietnam War

View Topic
Don Hewitt on the CBS coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin hearing
Don Hewitt on how television changed the public's opinion of the Vietnam War

War

View Topic
Don Hewitt on his experience during World War II
Don Hewitt on covering the Korean War for CBS News, and on how the technology of the industry has changed
Don Hewitt on the CBS coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin hearing
Don Hewitt on how television changed the public's opinion of the Vietnam War
Don Hewitt on television's coverage of the Gulf War

World War II

View Topic
Don Hewitt on his experience during World War II
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Don Hewitt on the most rewarding aspect of being a producer of television news, and on what represents the best of television

News Producer

View Profession
Don Hewitt on the most rewarding aspect of being a producer of television news, and on what represents the best of television
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Don Hewitt on producing Douglas Edwards with the News, and on inventing a method for superimposing names on air
Don Hewitt on producing 60 Minutes
Don Hewitt on executive producing 60 Minutes
People

Ed Bradley

View Interview Page
Don Hewitt on the correspondents of 60 Minutes: Ed Bradley

Walter Cronkite

View Interview Page
Don Hewitt on why the public trusted Walter Cronkite
Don Hewitt on covering the political conventions in 1948 and 1952, and on anchors Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite

Douglas Edwards

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on producing Douglas Edwards with the News, and on inventing a method for superimposing names on air
Don Hewitt on covering the political conventions in 1948 and 1952, and on anchors Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite

Fred Friendly

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on Fred Friendly's impact on network news

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy Debates

Nikita Khrushchev

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on an encounter with Nikita Khrushchev, and on stealing NBC's convention plans one year

Bill Leonard

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on Bill Leonard

Edward R. Murrow

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on Edward R. Murrow taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy, and on Murrow's influence

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy Debates

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on William S. Paley

Dan Rather

View Interview Page
Don Hewitt on the correspondents of 60 Minutes: Dan Rather

Harry Reasoner

View Person Page
Don Hewitt on the correspondents of 60 Minutes: Harry Reasoner

Morley Safer

View Interview Page
Don Hewitt on the correspondents of 60 Minutes: Dan Rather

Frank Stanton

View Interview Page
Don Hewitt on Frank Stanton

All Interviews

Q
S