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60 Minutes
The phrase "60 MINUTES" in Square 721 extended typeface above a stopwatch showing a hand pointing to the number 60.
Title card used since October 2006
Genre News magazine
Created by Don Hewitt
Presented by

See Correspondents section
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 55
No. of episodes 2500+
Executive producer(s)
  • Don Hewitt (1968–2004)
  • Jeff Fager (2004–2018)
  • Bill Owens (2019–present)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 60 minutes, including commercials
Production company(s) CBS News Productions
  • CBS Media Ventures
  • CBS News Radio
Original network CBS
Picture format NTSC (1968–2008)
HDTV 1080i (starting 2008)
Original release September 24, 1968 (1968-09-24) – present
Related shows 60 Minutes (Australia)
48 Hours
Face the Nation
CBS Overnight News

60 Minutes is an American television news magazine broadcast on the CBS television network. Debuting in 1968, the program was created by Don Hewitt and Bill Leonard, who chose to set it apart from other news programs by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation. In 2002, 60 Minutes was ranked number six on TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time", and in 2013, it was ranked number 24 on the magazine's list of the "60 Best Series of All Time". The New York Times has called it "one of the most esteemed news magazines on American television".

Originally airing in 1968, the program began as a bi-weekly television show hosted on CBS hosted by Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner. The two sat on opposite sides of the cream-colored set, though the set's color was later changed to black, the color still used today. The show used a large stopwatch during transition periods and highlighted its topics through chroma key—both techniques are still used today. In 1972, the program began airing from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, although this time was sometimes disrupted by broadcasting of NFL games on Sundays. Since then, the show has generally kept the Sunday evening format, although the start time has occasionally been shifted. The program now generally starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. If sports programming is airing that afternoon, 60 Minutes starts at 7:30 p.m. Eastern or at the game's conclusion.

The show is hosted by several correspondents; none share screen time with each other. Full-time hosts include Lesley Stahl, Scott Pelley, Bill Whitaker, and John Dickerson. Several spinoffs of the show have been made, including international formats of the show.

Broadcast history

Early years

60 Minutes
Since the show's inception in 1968, the opening of 60 Minutes features a stopwatch. The Aristo (Heuer) design first appeared in 1978. On October 29, 2006, the background changed to red, the title text color changed to white, and the stopwatch was shifted to the upright position. This version was used from 1992 to 2006 (the Square 721 type was changed in 1998).

The program employed a magazine format similar to that of the Canadian program W5, which had premiered two years earlier. It pioneered many of the most important investigative journalism procedures and techniques, including re-editing interviews, hidden cameras, and "gotcha journalism" visits to the home or office of an investigative subject. Similar programs sprang up in Australia and Canada during the 1970s, as well as on local television news.

Initially, 60 Minutes aired as a bi-weekly show hosted by Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner debuting on September 24, 1968, and alternating weeks with other CBS News productions on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The first edition, described by Reasoner in the opening as a "kind of a magazine for television," featured the following segments:

  1. A look inside the headquarters suites of presidential candidates Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey during their respective parties' national conventions that summer;
  2. Commentary by European writers Malcolm Muggeridge, Peter von Zahn, and Luigi Barzini Jr. on the American electoral system;
  3. A commentary by political humor columnist Art Buchwald;
  4. An interview with then-Attorney General Ramsey Clark about police brutality;
  5. "A Digression," a brief, scripted piece in which two silhouetted men (one of them Andy Rooney) discuss the presidential campaign;
  6. An abbreviated version of an Academy Award-winning short film by Saul Bass, Why Man Creates; and
  7. A meditation by Wallace and Reasoner on the relation between perception and reality. Wallace said that the show aimed to "reflect reality".

The first "magazine-cover" chroma key was a photo of two helmeted policemen (for the Clark interview segment). Wallace and Reasoner sat in chairs on opposite sides of the set, which had a cream-colored backdrop; the more famous black backdrop (which is still used as of 2020) did not appear until the following year. The logo was in Helvetica type with the word "Minutes" spelled in all lower-case letters; the logo most associated with the show (rendered in Square 721 type with "Minutes" spelled in uppercase) did not appear until about 1974. Further, to extend the magazine motif, the producers added a "Vol. xx, No. xx" to the title display on the chroma key; modeled after the volume and issue number identifications featured in print magazines, this was used until about 1971. The trademark stopwatch, however, did not appear on the inaugural broadcast; it would not debut until several episodes later. Alpo dog food was the sole sponsor of the first program.

Don Hewitt, who had been a producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, sought out Wallace as a stylistic contrast to Reasoner. According to one historian of the show, the idea of the format was to make the hosts the reporters, to always feature stories that were of national importance but focused upon individuals involved with, or in conflict with, those issues, and to limit the reports' airtime to around 13 minutes. However, the initial season was troubled by lack of network confidence, as the program did not garner ratings much higher than that of other CBS News documentaries. As a rule, during that era, news programming during prime time lost money; networks mainly scheduled public affairs programs in prime time in order to bolster the prestige of their news departments, and thus boost ratings for the regular evening newscasts, which were seen by far more people than documentaries and the like. 60 Minutes struggled under that stigma during its first three years.

Changes to 60 Minutes came fairly early in the program's history. When Reasoner left CBS to co-anchor ABC's evening newscast (he would return to CBS and 60 Minutes in 1978), Morley Safer joined the team in 1970, and he took over Reasoner's duties of reporting less aggressive stories. However, when Richard Nixon began targeting press access and reporting, even Safer, formerly the CBS News bureau chief in Saigon and London, began to do "hard" investigative reports, and during the 1970–71 season alone, 60 Minutes reported on cluster bombs, the South Vietnamese Army, draft dodgers, Nigeria, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland.

Effects from the Prime Time Access Rule

General Schwartz on 60 Minutes
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz in an interview with Lara Logan, April 15, 2009.

By 1971, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced the Prime Time Access Rule, which freed local network affiliates in the top 50 markets (in practice, the entire network) to take a half-hour of prime time from the networks on Mondays through Saturdays and one full hour on Sundays. Because nearly all affiliates found production costs for the FCC's intended goal of increased public affairs programming very high and the ratings (and by association, advertising revenues) low, making it mostly unprofitable, the FCC created an exception for network-authored news and public affairs shows. After a six-month hiatus in late 1971, CBS found a prime place for 60 Minutes in a portion of that displaced time, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern (5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time) on Sundays in January 1972.

This proved somewhat less than satisfactory, however, because in order to accommodate CBS' telecasts of late afternoon National Football League (NFL) football games, 60 Minutes went on hiatus during the fall from 1972 to 1975 (and the summer of 1972). This took place because football telecasts were protected contractually from interruptions in the wake of the infamous "Heidi Bowl" incident on NBC in November 1968. Despite the irregular scheduling, the program's hard-hitting reports attracted a steadily growing audience, particularly during the waning days of the Vietnam War and the gripping events of the Watergate scandal; at that time, few if any other major network news shows did in-depth investigative reporting to the degree carried out by 60 Minutes. Eventually, during the summers of 1973 through 1975, CBS did allow the program back onto the prime time schedule proper, on Fridays in 1973 and Sundays the two years thereafter, as a replacement for programs aired during the regular television season.

It was only when the FCC returned an hour to the networks on Sundays (for news or family programming), which had been taken away from them four years earlier, in a 1975 amendment to the Access Rule, that CBS finally found a viable permanent timeslot for 60 Minutes. When the family-oriented drama Three for the Road ended after a 12-week run in the fall, the news magazine took its place at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (6:00 p.m. Central) on December 7, 1975. It has aired at that time since for 47 years as of 2022, making it not only the longest-running prime time program currently in production, but also the television program (excluding daily programs such as evening newscasts or morning news-talk shows) broadcasting for the longest length of time at a single time period each week in U.S. television history.

This move, and the addition of then-White House correspondent Dan Rather to the reporting team, made the program into a strong ratings hit and, eventually, a general cultural phenomenon. This was no less than a stunning reversal of the historically poor ratings performances of documentary programs on network television. By 1976, 60 Minutes became the top-rated program on Sunday nights in the U.S. By 1979, it had achieved the #1 spot among all television programs in the Nielsen ratings, unheard of before for a news broadcast in prime time. This success translated into great profits for CBS; advertising rates increased from $17,000 per 30-second spot in 1975 to $175,000 in 1982.

The program sometimes does not start until after 7:00 p.m. Eastern, due largely to CBS Sports live sporting events. At the conclusion of an NFL game, 60 Minutes will air in its entirety and delay all subsequent programs. However, in the Pacific time zone, 60 Minutes is always able to start at its scheduled time as live sports coverage ends earlier in the afternoon. The program's success has also led CBS Sports to schedule events (such as the final round of the Masters Tournament and the second round and regional final games of the NCAA men's basketball tournament) leading into 60 Minutes and the rest of the network's primetime lineup.

Starting in the 2012–2013 season, in order to accommodate a new NFL scheduling policy that the second game of a doubleheader start at 4:25 p.m., CBS changed the scheduled start time of 60 Minutes to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time (or game conclusion) for Eastern and Central Time Zone stations which are receiving a game in that window. The start time remains at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/Pacific (or game conclusion if a late single game is airing in the eastern markets) on stations which are not broadcasting a late game in a given week (or for Western time zones even if a Doubleheader airs) .

Radio broadcast and Internet distribution

60 Minutes is also simulcast on several former CBS Radio flagship stations such as KYW in Philadelphia, WBBM in Chicago, WWJ in Detroit and KCBS in San Francisco all are owned by Audacy except for IHeartRadio's WBZ in Boston. When it airs locally on their sister CBS Television Network affiliate, even in the Central and Eastern time zones, the show is aired at the top of the hour at 7:00 p.m./6:00 p.m. Central (barring local sports play-by-play pre-emptions and breaking news coverage) no matter how long the show is delayed on CBS Television, resulting in radio listeners often hearing the show on those stations ahead of the television broadcast. An audio version of each broadcast without advertising began to be distributed via podcast and the iTunes Store, starting with the broadcast on September 23, 2007. Video from 60 Minutes (including full episodes) is also made available for streaming several hours after the program's initial broadcast on and Paramount+.


60 Minutes consists of three long-form news stories without superimposed graphics. There is a commercial break between two stories. Each story is introduced from a set with a backdrop resembling pages from a magazine story on the same topic. The program undertakes its own investigations and follows up on investigations instigated by national newspapers and other sources. Unlike its most famous competitor 20/20, as well as traditional local and national news programs, the 60 Minutes journalists never share the screen with (or speak to) other 60 Minutes journalists on camera at any time. This creates a strong psychological sense of intimacy between the journalist and the television viewer.

Web content

Videos and transcripts of 60 Minutes editions, as well as clips that were not included in the broadcast are available on the program's website. In September 2010, the program launched a website called "60 Minutes Overtime", in which stories broadcast on-air are discussed in further detail. Previously the show had a partnership with Yahoo! for distribution of extra content.

Correspondents and hosts

Current correspondents and commentators

Current hosts
  • Lesley Stahl (host, 1991–present, co-editor)
  • Scott Pelley (host, 2003–present)
  • Bill Whitaker (host, 2014–present)
  • Cecilia Vega (host, 2023-present)
Current part-time correspondents
  • Anderson Cooper (2006–present) (also at CNN)
  • Norah O'Donnell (2015–present)
  • Sharyn Alfonsi (2015–present)
  • Jon Wertheim (2017–present)

Former correspondents and hosts

Former hosts
  • Mike Wallace ꝋ (host, 1968–2006; correspondence emeritus 2006–2008)
  • Harry Reasoner ꝋ (host, 1968–1970, 1978–1991)
  • Morley Safer ꝋ (part-time correspondent, 1968–1970; host, 1970–2016)
  • Dan Rather (part-time correspondent, 1968–1975; host, 1975–1981 and 2005–2006) (now at AXS TV)
  • Ed Bradley ꝋ (part-time correspondent, 1976–1981; host, 1981–2006)
  • Diane Sawyer (part-time correspondent, 1981–1984; host, 1984–1989) (now at ABC News)
  • Meredith Vieira (part-time correspondent, 1982–1985 and 1991–1993; host, 1990–1991)
  • Bob Simon ꝋ (1996–2015)
  • Christiane Amanpour (part-time correspondent, 1996–2000; host, 2000–2005)
  • Lara Logan (part-time correspondent, 2005–2012; host, 2012–2018) (now at Fox News Channel)
  • Steve Kroft (host, 1989–2019; co-editor, 2019)
  • John Dickerson (2019–2021)
Former part-time correspondents


Commentators for 60 Minutes have included:

  • James J. Kilpatrick ꝋ (conservative debater, 1971–1979)
  • Nicholas von Hoffman ꝋ (liberal debater, 1971–1974)
  • Shana Alexander ꝋ (liberal debater, 1975–1979)
  • Andy Rooney ꝋ (commentator, 1978–2011)
  • Stanley Crouch ꝋ (commentator, 1996)
  • Molly Ivins ꝋ (liberal commentator, 1996)
  • P. J. O'Rourke ꝋ (conservative commentator, 1996)
  • Bill Clinton (liberal debater, 2003)
  • Bob Dole ꝋ (conservative debater, 2003)

ꝋ = Deceased

Ratings and recognition

Nielsen ratings

Based on viewership ratings, 60 Minutes is the most successful program in U.S. television history since it was moved into its present timeslot in 1975. For five seasons it was the year's top program, a feat matched by the sitcoms All in the Family and The Cosby Show, and surpassed only by the reality competition series American Idol, which had been the #1 show for eight consecutive seasons from the 2003–2004 television season up to the 2010–2011 season. 60 Minutes was a top ten show for 23 seasons in a row (1977–2000), an unsurpassed record, and has made the Top 20 for every season since the 1976–1977 season, except from 2005 to 2008.

60 Minutes first broke into the Nielsen Top 20 during the 1976–77 season. The following season, it was the fourth-most-watched program, and by the 1979–80 season, it was the number one show. During the 21st century, it remained among the top 20 programs in the Nielsen ratings, and the highest-rated news magazine.

On November 16, 2008, the edition featuring an interview with President-elect Barack Obama, earned a total viewership of 25.1 million viewers.

On October 6, 2013, the broadcast (which was delayed by 44 minutes that evening due to a Denver Broncos-Dallas Cowboys NFL game) drew 17.94 million viewers; retaining 63% of the 28.32 million viewers of its lead-in, and making it the most watched 60 Minutes broadcast since December 16, 2012.

On December 1, 2013, the broadcast (delayed 50 minutes due to a Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs game) was watched by 18.09 million viewers, retaining 66% of its NFL lead-in (which earned 28.11 million viewers during the 7:00 p.m. hour).

On March 25, 2018, the edition featuring Stormy Daniels giving details on her alleged affair with President Donald Trump drew 22.1 million viewers, the most since the 2008 Obama interview. The broadcast was delayed due to the NCAA men's basketball regional final on CBS between Kansas and Duke going to overtime.


Henry Schuster at the 68th Annual Peabody Awards for 60 Minutes-Lifeline
Henry Schuster at the 68th Annual Peabody Awards for 60 Minutes-Lifeline

As of June 26,  2017 (2017 -06-26), 60 Minutes had won a total of 138 Emmy Awards, a record for U.S. primetime programs.

The program has won 20 Peabody Awards.

The show received an Investigative Reporter and Editor medal for their segment "The Osprey", documenting a Marine cover-up of deadly flaws in the V-22 Osprey aircraft.

In 1983, a report by Morley Safer, "Lenell Geter's in Jail", helped exonerate a Texas man who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for armed robbery.

As of 2021, 60 Minutes is the longest continuously running program of any genre scheduled during American network prime time. It has aired at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sundays since December 7, 1975 (although since 2012, it moves to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Sundays if a CBS affiliate has a late NFL game).

Meet the Press debuted in 1947 in prime time, but it has been a daytime program since 1965. The Walt Disney anthology television series, which premiered in 1954, and the Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has aired since 1951, have aired longer than 60 Minutes, but none of them has aired in prime time continually.


The main 60 Minutes show has created a number of spin-offs over the years.

30 Minutes

30 Minutes was a news magazine aimed at children that was patterned after 60 Minutes, airing as the final program in CBS's Saturday morning lineup from 1978 to 1982. It was hosted by Christopher Glenn (who also served as the voice-over for the interstitial program In the News and was an anchor on the CBS Radio Network), along with Betsy Aaron (1978–1980) and Betty Ann Bowser (1980–1982).

60 Minutes More

60 Minutes More was a spin-off that ran for one season from 1996 to 1997 on the channel CBS Eye on People. The episodes featured popular stories from the past that were expanded with updates on the original story. Each episode featured three of these segments.

60 Minutes II

In 1999, a second edition of 60 Minutes was started in the United States, titled 60 Minutes II. This edition was later renamed 60 Minutes for the fall of 2004 in an effort to sell it as a high-quality program, since some had sarcastically referred to it as 60 Minutes, Jr. CBS News president Andrew Heyward said, "the Roman numeral II created some confusion on the part of the viewers and suggested a watered-down version". However, a widely known controversy which came to be known as "Rathergate", regarding a report that aired on September 8, 2004, caused another name change. The program was retitled 60 Minutes Wednesday both to differentiate itself and to avoid tarnishing the Sunday edition, as the editions were editorially independent from one another. It reverted to its original Roman numeral title on July 8, 2005, when the program moved to Fridays in an 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time slot to finish its run. The show aired its final broadcast on September 2, 2005.

60 Minutes on CNBC

In 2011, CNBC began airing a 60 Minutes spin-off of its own, called 60 Minutes on CNBC. Hosted by Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft, it aired updated business-related reports seen on the original broadcasts and offers footage that was not included when the segments first aired. It ended in 2015.

60 Minutes Sports

In 2013, CBS's sister premium television network Showtime premiered 60 Minutes Sports, a monthly spin-off focused on sports-related stories and classic interviews from the show's archives. Personalities from CBS Sports also contributed to the program. The spin-off was considered a competitor to HBO's Real Sports; it was cancelled in January 2017.

60 in 6

In June 2020, the show launched 60 in 6 on Quibi, featuring original weekly 6-minute programs. Correspondents are Enrique Acevedo, Seth Doane, Wesley Lowery, and Laurie Segall. It had originally set to launch in April 2020. On the June 21, 2020, broadcast of 60 in 6, Doane covered the show's exposure to COVID-19 in a piece titled "CBS News Battles COVID-19". The piece said CBS News flew in staffers, including from Seattle and Rome, in early March 2020 to begin filming promotional material for 60 in 6. This brought COVID-19-positive people in close contact with CBS employees; as a result, CBS Broadcast Center and several other buildings in Manhattan were temporarily closed.

60 Minutes+

In March 2021, Paramount+ premiered 60 Minutes+, a weekly spin-off aimed at a younger audience. The correspondents from 60 in 6 returned for this spin-off, as well as producer Jonathan Blakely. In January 2022, the show was cancelled after 30 episodes.

25th anniversary edition

For the 60 Minutes 25th anniversary in 1993, Charles Kuralt interviewed Don Hewitt, the active correspondents, some former correspondents, and revisited notable stories and celebrities.

International versions


The Australian version of 60 Minutes premiered on February 11, 1979. It still airs each Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. on the Nine Network and affiliates. Although Nine Network has the rights to the format, as of 2007, it does not have rights to stories from the U.S. program, which is owned by competitor 10 News Australia after Network Ten's acquisition by CBS in 2017. Nevertheless, stories from the flagship 60 Minutes program in the U.S. often air on the Australian program by subleasing them from Ten.


In the mid-1980s, an edited version (approx. 30 minutes in length) of the U.S. broadcast edition of 60 Minutes, entitled "60 Minutes: CBS im Dritten" ("60 Minutes: CBS on Channel 3") was shown for a time on West German television. This version retained the English-language soundtrack of the original, but also featured German dubbed.

New Zealand

The New Zealand version of 60 Minutes has aired on national television since 1989, when it was originally launched on TV3. In 1992, the rights were acquired by TVNZ, who began broadcasting it in 1993. The network aired the program for nine years before dropping it in 2002 for its own program, entitled Sunday, which is currently the highest-rated current affairs show broadcast on New Zealand television, followed by 20/20. 60 Minutes was broadcast by rival network TV3, before switching to the Sky Television owned Prime channel in 2013, when the contract changed hands.


In 1992, the GNT channel (now GloboNews) brought its original version with dubbed subtitles from that country. And later, in 2004, Rede Bandeirantes, planned a licensed localized version, but the plan was cancelled. And even so that year, it returned as a frame, i.e. a rubric in the program Domingo Espetacular on Rede Record, a competitor of Rede Globo's program Fantástico.


SIC Notícias acquired the broadcasting rights to the program in 2001. The original episodes were shown in Portugal with introductory and final comments by journalist Mário Crespo, who conducted the program until 2014. It is presently hosted by anchors of the aforementioned network on a rotational basis, who eventually adopted the previous model.


The news program of National Broadcasting of Chile (TVN), the public television network in that country, was named 60 Minutos ("60 Minutes") from 1975 to 1988, but the program had no association with the US version and no investigative reporting.

Other versions

  • A Mexican version, which featured Juan Ruiz Healy serving as anchor, aired in the late 1970s and 1980s.
  • A Peruvian version aired in the early 1980s, called 60 Minutos. However, in the late 1980s there was also a similarly named series, but unrelated to the series produced by CBS News.
  • Edited reruns of 60 Minutes interviews have aired on various cable channels in the United States, including TV Land and ESPN Classic.
  • In Thailand, 60 Minutes (Thailand) was broadcast on TV 9 (from 1995 to 1997) and BBTV Channel 7 (from 1999 to 2001).
  • In Catalonia, 60 Minutes has been broadcast by TV3 (Catalonia) for 27 seasons.
  • In France, M6 launched 66 minutes in 2006, a television magazine with a similar concept and format.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: 60 Minutes para niños

  • This Hour Has Seven Days, and W5 both of which pre-date 60 Minutes by a couple of years, are similar in journalistic style and format
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