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Donald Shepard "Don" Hewitt[1] (December 14, 1922 – August 19, 2009) was an American television news producer and executive, best known for creating 60 Minutes, the CBS
CBS
television news magazine, in 1968, which at the time of his death, was the longest-running prime-time broadcast on American television.[2] Under Hewitt's leadership, 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
was the only news program ever rated the nation's top-ranked television program, an achievement it accomplished five times.[3] Hewitt produced the first televised presidential debate in 1960.[4]

Contents

1 Early life 2 College and early career 3 Career at CBS
CBS
News 4 Personal life and death 5 Honors 6 Bibliography 7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Hewitt was born in New York City, New York, the son of Frieda (née Pike) and Ely S. Hewitt (changed from Hurwitz or Horowitz)[5]. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Russia, and his mother's family was of German Jewish
German Jewish
descent.[1][6] Hewitt's family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, shortly after his birth, where his father worked as a classified advertising manager for the Boston Herald American. His family later lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from New Rochelle High School, in New Rochelle, New York. College and early career[edit] Hewitt attended New York University
New York University
and started his journalism career in 1942 as head copyboy for the New York Herald Tribune.[1] He joined the United States
United States
Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. After World War II ended in 1945, Hewitt returned to his job as copyboy for the Tribune, then worked for The Associated Press
Associated Press
at a bureau in Memphis, Tennessee. However, his wife Mary Weaver—whom he married while working in Memphis—wanted to go to New York City, so he moved back.[1][7] Back in New York City, Hewitt started working at the E.W. Scripps Company-owned photo agency ACME Newspictures, which was later merged into co-owned news service United Press[8][9] Career at CBS
CBS
News[edit]

This section needs expansion with: more details about Hewitt's contributions to 60 Minutes. You can help by adding to it. (August 2009)

Soon he received a lucrative offer at the CBS
CBS
television network, which was seeking someone who had "picture experience" to help with production of television broadcast.[7] Hewitt started at its news division, CBS
CBS
News, in 1948 and served as producer-director of the network's evening-news broadcast with Douglas Edwards
Douglas Edwards
for fourteen years. He was also the first director of See It Now, co-produced by host Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow
and Fred W. Friendly
Fred W. Friendly
that started in 1952; his use of "two film projectors cutting back and forth breaks up the monotony of a talking head, improves editing, and shapes future news broadcasts."[3] In 1956, Hewitt was the only one to capture on film the final moments of the SS Andrea Doria
SS Andrea Doria
as it sank and disappeared under the water.[3] Hewitt directed the televised production of the first 1960 U.S. Presidential candidate debate between Senator John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon
Richard M. Nixon
on September 26, 1960, at the CBS studios in Chicago. These were the first presidential-candidate debates ever televised. He later became executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, helming the famous broadcast of John F. Kennedy's assassination as the story developed.[10]

External video

"Life and Career of Don Hewitt", April 5, 1994, C-SPAN

He then launched the eight-time Emmy Award-winning show 60 Minutes. Within ten years, the show reached the top 10 in viewership, a position it maintained for 21 of the following 22 seasons, until the 1999–2000 season.[3] Hewitt was a primary figure in the televising of a 1996 60 Minutes documentary on the tobacco-industry scandal involving the tobacco company Brown & Williamson, in which the program reported the allegations of whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand.[11] The scandal was the inspiration for the 1999 film The Insider. Hewitt was portrayed in the film by Philip Baker Hall. Declining ratings at 60 Minutes—after decades of being in the top 10, the show had dropped in rankings to number 20—contributed to what became a public debate in 2002 about whether it was time for CBS to replace Hewitt at 60 Minutes. According to The New York Times, Jeff Fager, producer of 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
II, was being floated as a possible replacement,[3] speculation that proved to be accurate. The show was still generating an estimated profit of more than $20 million a year, but the decline in viewership and profit meant the show could no longer "operate as an island unto itself, often thumbing its nose at management while demanding huge salaries and perquisites."[3] Within a couple of years, Hewitt stepped aside as executive producer at the age of 81, signing a ten-year contract with CBS
CBS
to be an executive producer-at-large for CBS
CBS
News.[1] In January 2010, 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
dedicated an entire show to the story and memory of Don Hewitt.[12] Personal life and death[edit] Hewitt was married three times:

Mary Weaver with whom he had two sons: Jeffrey and Steven.[13] Frankie Teague Hewitt - American theater producer and founder of the Ford's Theatre Society
Ford's Theatre Society
who was responsible for restoring and reopening the historic site as a working theater. They had a daughter: Lisa Gabrielle Hewitt Cassara, former coordinating producer of the syndicated television show "A Current Affair";[14] and he adopted her daughter Jilian Childers from a previous marriage.[13] Marilyn Berger - American broadcast and newspaper journalist.[13] Through Berger, Hewitt is the great-uncle of Rob Fishman.

In March 2009, Hewitt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer from which he died on August 19, 2009, at his home in Bridgehampton, New York.[2][15] Honors[edit]

1987: Hewitt received the Paul White Award, Radio Television Digital News Association[16] 1988: In addition to several Peabody Awards given to 60 Minutes, Hewitt was given a personal Peabody Award, for his accomplishments that have "touch[ed] the lives of just about every American."[17] 1992: Hewitt won the Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Award for Excellence in Journalism.[18] 1993: Hewitt and 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
were elected to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.[3] 2008: Hewitt was honored with Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcast Journalism.

Bibliography[edit]

External video

Booknotes interview with Hewitt on Tell Me a Story, April 1, 2001, C-SPAN

In 1985, Random House
Random House
published Minute by Minute (ISBN 0394546415), a look at the history of 60 Minutes. In 2001, PublicAffairs published Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years and 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
in Television (ISBN 1586480170), in which Hewitt chronicles his life as a newsman. References[edit]

^ a b c d e Harris, Kathryn (August 19, 2009). "Don Hewitt, Creator, First Producer of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 86". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 19, 2009.  ^ a b Staff writer (August 19, 2009). "TV News Giant Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
Dies At 86". CBS
CBS
News. Retrieved August 19, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f g Rutenberg, Jim (November 25, 2002). " CBS
CBS
Wants '60 Minutes' Chief To Hand Over the Stopwatch". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2009.  ^ Steinberg, Jacques (August 20, 2009). "Don Hewitt, Creator of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 86". The New York Times.  ^ http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/13956/don-hewitt-on-his-judaism ^ The Tablet Magazine: " Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
on His Judaism - The ‘60 Minutes’ creator died today at 86. For the book ‘Stars of David,’ he talked about his religion." By Abigail Pogrebin August 19, 2009 ^ a b Steinberg, Jacques (August 19, 2009). "Don Hewitt, Creator of 60 Minutes,' Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2009.  (Website registration required.) ^ Photograph Identification Guide from the website of art historian David Rudd Cycleback ^ http://thedownholdproject.centraldesktop.com/publicdownholdproject/doc/1083944/w-NewsPicturesService ^ Sixty Minutes, rebroadcast of Memorial to Don Hewitt, 24 January 2010. ^ The Insider (Motion picture). Touchstone Pictures. 1999. Event occurs at 2:33:32. Although based on a true story, certain elements in this motion picture have been fictionalized for dramatic effect.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-02-15.  ^ a b c New York Times: "Don Hewitt, Creator of ‘60 Minutes,’ Dies at 86" By JACQUES STEINBERG August 19, 2009 ^ New York Times: "WEDDINGS; Lisa G. Hewitt, William Cassara" April 18, 1993 ^ Bauder, David (August 19, 2009). " CBS News
CBS News
pioneer Don Hewitt, who invented '60s Minutes' dies at 86". Chicago
Chicago
Tribune. Archived from the original on August 22, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2009.  ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27.  ^ Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
Personal Award Archived June 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. from the Peabody Award
Peabody Award
website ^ Arizona State University. " Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
School of Journalism
Journalism
and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
on IMDb Appearances on C-SPAN Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
- Daily Telegraph obituary A film clip "The Open Mind - Tell Me A Story . . . In 60 Minutes, Part I (2001)" is available at the Internet Archive A film clip "The Open Mind - Tell Me A Story . . . In 60 Minutes, Part II (2001)" is available at the Internet Archive

v t e

TCA Career Achievement Award

Grant Tinker
Grant Tinker
(1985) Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
(1986) Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
(1987) David Brinkley
David Brinkley
(1988) Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
(1989) Jim Henson
Jim Henson
(1990) Brandon Tartikoff
Brandon Tartikoff
(1991) Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson
(1992) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
(1993) Charles Kuralt
Charles Kuralt
(1994) Ted Turner
Ted Turner
(1995) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(1996) Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers
(1997) Roone Arledge (1998) Norman Lear
Norman Lear
(1999) Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke
(2000) Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
(2001) Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
(2002) Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
(2003) Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
(2004) Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
(2005) Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
(2006) Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore
(2007) Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels
(2008) Betty White
Betty White
(2009) James Garner
James Garner
(2010) Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
(2011) David Letterman
David Letterman
(2012) Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters
(2013) James Burrows (2014) James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
(2015) Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin
(2016) Ken Burns
Ken Burns
(2017)

v t e

Television Hall of Fame Class of 1989

Roone Arledge Fred Astaire Perry Como Joan Ganz Cooney Don Hewitt Carroll O'Connor Barbara Walters

v t e

International Emmy Founders Award

Jim Henson
Jim Henson
(1980) Shaun Sutton / Roone Arledge (1981) Michael Landon
Michael Landon
(1982) Herbert Brodkin (1983) David L. Wolper (1984) David Attenborough
David Attenborough
(1985) Donald L. Taffner (1986) Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau
(1987) Goar Mestre (1988) Paul Fox (1989) Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney
(1990) Adrian Cowell (1991) Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
(1992) Richard Dunn (1993) Film on Four (1994) Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
(1995) Reg Grundy
Reg Grundy
(1996) Jac Venza
Jac Venza
(1997) Robert Halmi Sr. (1998) Hisashi Hieda
Hisashi Hieda
(1999) John Hendricks (2000) Pierre Lescure
Pierre Lescure
(2001) Howard Stringer
Howard Stringer
(2002) HBO
HBO
(2003) MTV International
MTV International
(2004) Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
(2005) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(2006) Al Gore
Al Gore
(2007) Dick Wolf
Dick Wolf
(2008) David Frost
David Frost
(2009) Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
(2010) Nigel Lythgoe
Nigel Lythgoe
(2011) Ryan Murphy / Norman Lear
Norman Lear
/ Alan Alda
Alan Alda
(2012) J. J. Abrams
J. J. Abrams
(2013) Matthew Weiner
Matthew Weiner
(2014) Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes
(2015) Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes
(2016)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 67896669 LCCN: n85109360 ISNI: 0000 0000 7689 8655 BNF: cb16179312m (data) BN

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