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Series / 60 Minutes

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"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.

60 Minutes remains a bastion of actually good reporting in the increasingly-barren wasteland of US network TV news. Aside from rare debaclesnote  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 withnote . 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 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.


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 the Pacific time zone 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:

  • Early Installment Weirdness: The ticking sound in its initial broadcasts (circa 1968) was noticeably different from the more distinctive ticking sound used in later seasons.
  • Intro Dump: A sample, from the 1980s:
    • "I'm Mike Wallace."
    • "I'm Morley Safer."
    • "I'm Harry Reasoner."
    • "I'm Ed Bradley."
    • "I'm Diane Sawyer. Those stories and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes."note 
  • No Theme Tune: 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.
  • 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 TV Land, 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.
    • 30 Minutes Bay Area, a half-hour concept show created by Don Hewitt that aired in the mid-2000s on CBS' San Francisco station, KPIX-5; the concept was intended to air on the other CBS O&Os, but for some reason it never was used anywhere else.


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