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60 Minutes

60 Minutes is the name of an American magazine-format television news program produced by CBS News. The program, which since 1968 has aired at 7 P.M. on Sundays, has often been a leader in the ratings, both because of its provocative content and because it occupies the time slot immediately following CBS broadcasts of NFL football. The executive producer of 60 Minutes is Don Hewitt. CBS has announced that Hewitt will retire in 2004 and will be replaced by Jeff Fager, who now produces the spin-off program "60 Minutes II" which began airing on weeknights in 1999.

The name is also used by Australian and New Zealand television current affairs programs, which are based on the American show.

The American version is also broadcast on some foreign television networks and stations, and some segments are shown on American Airlines.

The American 60 Minutes

The American 60 Minutes has always stood out from the rest with its unique style, awards, and ability to generate news and controversy. The program (together with its contributors) has won untold Emmy and other prestigious awards over the 35 years it has aired.

The format consists of five or six long-form news stories, without superimposed graphics. The stories are introduced from a set which has a backdrop resembling a magazine story on the same topic. The stories, often investigative, usually address topics which were previously the subject of stories in national newspapers such as The New York Times.

One common theme to the stories, or 60 Minutes' schtick if you will, involves some cheating corporate executive or other high-placed alleged wrongdoer who is asked to comment on a story adverse to him or her. Invariably, the alleged wrongdoer does not want to comment and is shown running away from the pursuing 60 Minutes reporter and camera crew.

Other themes which have been associated with the show include its "Point-Counterpoint" debate segments, which originally featured James J. Kilpatrick on the conservative side of the dabate and Shana Alexander for the liberals. This format was lampooned during the early years of the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live, with Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd as the debaters; Aykroyd would begin his remarks with, "Jane, you ignorant slut." The "Point-Counterpoint" segments were recently revived featuring Bob Dole and Bill Clinton.

The show usually ends with curmudgeon Andy Rooney expounding on some trivial topic such as why they don't make paper clips the way they used to, or on the superiority of manual typewriters over personal computer systems.

The show begins and ends with the image and sound of a Heuer stopwatch.

The program's correspondents and commentators have included:

Australian 60 Minutes

The Australian 60 Minutes premiered February 11, 1979. It airs on Sunday nights on the Nine Network.

The program's correspondents and commentators have included: