Don Hewitt Dead: Creator of 60 Minutes Dies at Age 86
Don Hewitt, the creator of the popular news magazine 60 Minutes, died today at the age of 86. Hewitt had recently been diagnosed with a small tumor.
Hewitt created 60 Minutes in 1968 and served as executive producer of the program until his retirement in 2004. After his retirement from 60 Minutes, Hewitt was executive producer of CBS News.
The show was the first news magazine of its kind, spawning a host of similar programs like 20/20, 48 Hours, and Dateline NBC.
60 Minutes was hardly his only innovation. Indeed, Don Hewitt played a key role in the development of television news.
Hewitt also directed the first network television newscast, featuring Douglas Edwards, on May 3, 1948. He was the executive producer of the first half-hour network newscast when the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite became the first to go to a 30-minute format on Sept. 2, 1963. Among Hewitt's innovations was the use of cue cards for newsreaders, the electronic version of which, the TelePrompTer, is still used today. He was the first to use "supers" - putting type in the lower third of the television screen. Another invention of Hewitt's was the film "double" - cutting back and forth between two projectors - an editing breakthrough that re-shaped television news. Hewitt also helped develop the positioning of cameras and reporters still used to cover news events, especially political conventions.