Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don Hewitt

"60 Minutes" creator Don Hewitt died yesterday.

Hewitt's premise when constructing "60 Minutes" was simple, and it was even the title of his book-- "Tell Me a Story." That's all-- tell me a story.

"60 Minutes" got off to a slow start in 1968. It bounced around the CBS schedule for a while. It was at a time when TV news wasn't expected to be a piggy bank for station and network owners. CBS stuck with it. The show took off when it found its footing, and it found a good time slot, Sundays at 7 PM.

"60 Minutes" wasn't known for its flashy graphics or its hype. It attracted good correspondents, photographers, and producers. It also attracted a good audience, all because someone just wanted to tell a story.

Don Hewitt had cancer. He was 86.

Yesterday was a strange day. I finally got around to watching the CBS News hour long special on Walter Cronkite that ran on the Sunday after his passing last month. Of course, Don Hewitt was prominently featured. A few minutes after powering down the TV and powering up my computer, I learned that Hewitt had passed away.

And then this morning, ABC's World News Now re-ran a Person of the Week profile of Don Hewitt from 2004. It was done on the occasion of Hewitt's retirement. The anchor in the 2004 piece was Peter Jennings, who died on August 7th of 2005.

It got me thinking. Are there any "giants" left? The short list has Dan Rather and Mike Wallace. Maybe Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. Brokaw. There aren't many, and that is sad in and of itself.