"Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick..."
The longest-running Prime Time News
show, 60 Minutes
has been shown every Sunday night on CBS
since 1968. Known for the concluding segment in which Grumpy Old Man
Andy Rooney used to complain about whatever ticked him off this week until his October 2011 retirement and passing in the next month.
It also has that name with the Running Time in the Title
remains a bastion of actually good reporting in the increasingly-barren wasteland of US network TV news. Aside from the debacle with George Walker Bush's military service record
(though that involved former sister program 60 Minutes II
and not the mother show; II
got canceled after awhile) and a story about the tobacco industry tamped down by CBS's outgoing owner
which inspired the 1999 film The Insider
, it would be hard to accuse it of reporting on anything but real, worthwhile news, unlike most of the rest of the US Prime Time News
shows. They've been particularly clear in not reporting on anything even remotely resembling a Missing White Woman Syndrome
story, which the others are positively flooded with. About the only thing to criticize is Product Placement
interviews involving authors of books released by sister book publisher Simon & Schuster and some shilling of actors doing films for CBS Films, but that's about as bad as it gets usually. The former got them in trouble in November 2013, when a story about the September 11, 2012 Libyan embassy attack involving a witness who published a book with S&S described what he saw, but didn't actually see many of the events, was rushed to air and ended with the book pulled, and the producer of the story and correspondent Lara Logan taking a leave of absence in the aftermath after an apology which some found lacking.
Outside of the trademark ticking stopwatch, the program has absolutely no Background Music
of any form, which is a rarity in any genre of American television, where BGM is an absolute requirement to set a scene or tenor, letting the stories stand solely on the reporting and interviews.
It has seasons like most of American television, so in the off season they air partial re-runs, where they take articles run before and modify them slightly, perhaps slightly updating them (usually in the intro and ending commentaries). However, despite being in a really
crummy timeslot for decades (7 PM Sundays) the only time it was pre-empted for sports was when CBS had the Olympics. If an NFL game runs late, 60 Minutes
is shown in its entirety and the rest of the Prime Time
lineup timeshifted back as long as necessary, though in some time zones this isn't necessary, as football is usually over by the time the show is supposed to start.
Australia and New Zealand have their own versions
of 60 Minutes
which are similar in style and tone.
60 Minutes provides examples of:
- No Theme Tune
- The Pete Best: In the 70s, the show would end with a segment called Point/counterpoint in which a Conservative and a Liberal would debate an issue of the day. The Weird Al Effect has made parodies of the segment in the movies ( "Airplane!") and TV ("Saturday Night Live") more familiar to modern audiences than the segment itself. In the early 80s the segment was replaced by the more familiar "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney".
- Running Time in the Title: One of the better known examples.
- Spin-Off: Several of them over the years, though unlike Dateline and 20/20, they've been much more carefully done or generally consisting solely of archive content.
- The most well-known example was 60 Minutes II, a 1999-2005 show which aired mainly on Wednesdays or Fridays. Though done in by the controversy mentioned above, many of the current correspondents, including Scott Pelley and Lara Logan had their start on II.
- 60 Minutes Sports, airing on CBS's premium network Showtime beginning in January 2013 as a competitor to HBO's Real Sports; Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but produced exclusively for airing on Showtime.
- 60 Minutes on Classic, a program on ESPN Classic consisting solely of sports interviews from the show's archive; notable for being a CBS production on a network associated with ABC.
- 60 Minutes on CNBC, the same as above, only on CNBC and consisting of business-specific interviews. Also notable for being a CBS show on NBC, as NBC's news documentary unit has been mainly consumer interest-heavy in regards to business content.
- 60 Minutes on TVLand, again the same as above, but highlighting interviews with entertainers such as Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Jackie Gleason, and Norman Lear.
- 30 Minutes, a late-70's program on CBS that acted as the Edutainment Show bookend to the network's Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup with kid focused news content.