Every week on The Strombo Show, George kicks things off with the Nod To The Gods, a shoutout to one of the legends of rock and roll (last week: The Band). Consider this story a nod to the TV gods: on this day 45 years ago, the very first broadcast of 60 Minutes aired on CBS.
In television, few shows make it to their 10th season, let alone their 45th. But as anyone who grew up watching the broadcasts on Sunday evenings can tell you, 60 Minutes was special. The idea was hatched in 1967 by CBS news producer Don Hewitt, who was looking for a format to explore stories that required more analysis than the standard two-minute news segment would allow, but didn't necessarily merit a full hour-long documentary. His solution, writes Richard Bartone for the Museum of Broadcast Communications: a groundbreaking "news magazine," which could accommodate everything from breaking news and features to satire and commentary.
Forty-five years on, the news magazine is a standard broadcast format, as is the mix of high and low culture that the show helped pioneer. In a short piece on the history of the show, the current executive producer Jeff Fager quotes Hewitt as asking, "Why can't you put Marilyn Monroe in the same broadcast as the president?" That first broadcast featured some elements that would become standard over the years — especially the familiar faces of Mike Wallace and Andy Rooney — and a few that were killed off, like on-air essays from European intellectuals and a strange black-and-white animation on the history of creativity.
Like many U.S. news broadcasts, 60 Minutes featured a couple of Canadians over the years, most prominently the Toronto-born Morley Safer, who was a correspondent during the first season and continues to host the program part time. The Fox News correspondent John Roberts, who was also born in Toronto, made a couple breaking news-related appearances on the show (he got his TV start on Citytv's The NewMusic in the '70s and '80s).
In 2012, George interviewed Dr. Sanjay Gupta, currently a correspondent on 60 Minutes, about his new hospital novel Monday Mornings: