’60 Minutes’ to Debut a New ‘Final-Minute’ Finish Section



There’s a last-minute change brewing at “60 Minutes.”

When the venerable CBS newsmagazine launches its 55th season this Sunday, viewers could discover a twist on the finish of the hour. The present is debuting a brand new finish phase, one thing that its prime producer hopes will resonate with crowds as a lot as earlier codas like “Level/Counterpoint” or the musings of Andy Rooney did of their respective eras.

“We’ve tried various things to fill the house, they usually felt a bit of unsatisfying,” govt producer Bill Owens tells Selection. “There wasn’t a consistency to it. I ended up giving that point again to the tales and the correspondents, so they’d every have 20 to 30 seconds extra. They had been all very joyful to have that point, but it surely felt like one thing was lacking.”

The brand new remaining piece to the present, “The Final Minute,” will enable for updates to previous “60 Minutes” tales; previews of items to come back; a go to to the archives for tales that may resonate with present occasions; possibly even a quick essay on a newsy matter. And the phase may have its personal sponsor, UnitedHealthcare, a uncommon likelihood for Madison Avenue to weave itself across the program. “It’s a house base for the present,” says Owens. “You’ll get one thing from it. It’s not empty energy.”

For Owens, who took the reins of this system as solely its third govt producer in 2019, the transfer is the latest aimed at making “60 Minutes” more relevant to current viewers, with out undermining the weather that preserve audiences returning every season. Throughout his tenure, Owens tried to launch a streaming counterpart to “60” with new correspondents and developed a new streaming channel of “60 Minutes” stories people can access via Pluto, the ad-supported venue operated by CBS guardian Paramount World.

There’s good motive to maintain the “60 Minutes” stopwatch ticking. Final season, the present, typically boosted by the soccer video games it follows, captured essentially the most viewers in primetime on seven totally different events. The final time it achieved such standing was within the 1992-1993 season. Even so, this is available in an period when capturing advert {dollars} is harder. Madison Avenue invested roughly $86 million in “60 Minutes” in 2021, in keeping with Kantar, a tracker of advert spending, representing a 22.5% drop from 2020, when that determine was almost $111.4 million. In the meantime, the price of a 30-second advert on the present dipped to $85,683 in 2022, in keeping with Commonplace Media Index, in contrast with $91,046 in 2020 — a 6% decline. The pact with UnitedHealthcare was not crafted based mostly on these directional figures.

“60 Minutes” has examined promoting innovation previously. As a part of a novel association crafted with Philips Electronics in 2005, the show was able to run longer story segments and fewer commercials in a single broadcast, with Philips paying round $2 million to be the only nationwide sponsor of the present.

Previous finish segments for “60 Minutes” have confirmed memorable. Each Rooney’s curmudgeonly musings and “Level/Counterpoint” had been lampooned by “Saturday Evening Stay.” The present even tried to revive “Level/Counterpoint,” by which a conservative and liberal joust. One effort, in 1996, featured Molly Ivins, Stanley Crouch and P.J. O’Rourke. One other, in 2003, included Bob Dole and Invoice Clinton. Neither caught on with viewers or producers.

Filling the house has confirmed difficult since Rooney left after a run that lasted between 1978 and 2011. “The query was, ‘How do you substitute Andy Rooney?’” says Scott Pelley, one of many newsmagazine’s correspondents. “And the speedy reply was, ‘You don’t.’”

Within the latest previous, says Owens, “60 Minutes” has merely had a fast “good night time” at its finish, however that’s not how Don Hewitt, the founding govt producer, envisioned issues. “Don Hewitt modeled or got here up with the thought of a TV present that was based mostly on {a magazine},” which frequently features a fast one-page function on the finish of the publication, says Owens. On the finish of the present, he provides, “there’s an expectation from the viewers that we’re going to give them one thing else.”

Correspondents — the core now facilities on Pelley, Lesley Stahl, Invoice Whitaker, Sharyn Alfonsi and Jon Wertheim, with common contributions from Anderson Cooper and Norah O’Donnell — have lots to supply this season. Whitaker has already traveled to Uganda to look at the potential for a brand new virus outbreak in bat-filled caves. “Persons are transferring into areas the place people haven’t lived earlier than, coming proper in opposition to bat carriers of viruses,” he explains. “Scientists try to see what is perhaps coming our manner.”

Pelley final week interviewed Ukrainian First Girl Olena Zelenska, who’s making an attempt to assist get Ukrainian youngsters present process most cancers remedy evacuated and into hospitals within the U.S. and elsewhere. He and a crew of producers have additionally been working to determine warfare victims present in a mass grave within the Ukrainian metropolis of Bucha and provides identities to individuals killed within the nation’s warfare with Russian.

And Sharyn Alfonsi has already shot a narrative about wild horses in Wyoming; explored items about sanctions on Russia and offshore wind energy; and interviewed Ida Garten, higher referred to as “The Barefoot Contessa.”

All three correspondents say they battle for as a lot time as they’ll get for his or her tales however acknowledge they often should cede a number of seconds for a very good trigger. “Once they inform you to chop a second or two, it looks like opening a vein,” says Alfonsi, however most TV journalists come up in opposition to such calls for usually. In addition to, the story is showing on “60 Minutes,” she says. “Complaining about any time being taken out is like complaining your diamond sneakers are too tight.”

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