How Does CBS Pick The Segments For ’60 Minutes’?

It’s America’s oldest and most-watched television broadcast. CBS’s 60 Minutes is an award-winning news segment that captures the attention of Americans every week, covering everything from politics to pop culture to science news. With so much ground to cover, it takes a lot of decision-making to decide which segment gets the 60 Minutes spotlight. Here’s how CBS decides the most newsworthy content.

CBS Cast
CBS News | Mark Davis/WireImage

CBS has been creating ’60 Minutes’ since the 1960s

The first episode aired on September 24, 1968. The first broadcast introduced 60 Minutes as a newsmagazine, but for television.

“Good evening,” Harry Reasoner said during the first episode. “This is 60 Minutes. It’s a kind of a magazine for television, which means it has the flexibility and diversity of a magazine adapted to broadcast journalism.”

The content touches on a variety of issues and current events, including politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. According to Variety, as of 2018, CBS shifted the focus of the show to a “hard-news” focused format. This meant more concentration of editors on breaking news and trending content. The audiences gave a positive response.

Since its creation, 60 Minutes grew into a weekly television special and a weekly web series that expands on the broadcasted content. In 2018, the series earned over 11 million views, making it one of the most popular television broadcasts. Even Oprah Winfrey took a part-time role with 60 Minutes. She reportedly left to campaign with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

CBS's "60 Minutes"
Donald and Melania Trump on ’60 Minutes’ | CBS via Getty Images

They interviewed well-known celebrities

A big reason for the success of the show includes the interviews of trending celebrities and political figures. Among the list of features are Former First Lady and Best-Selling Author, Michelle Obama, and current President and First Lady of the United States, Donald and Melania Trump.

Other current segments focused on local heroes and small-town stories with a large impact. Among the “Editors’ Picks” on the 60 Minutes website is their coverage of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team and their fight with the United States Soccer Federation. The “Editors’ Picks” also includes their study of the effects of electronics on children and an interview with Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Another CBS newsmagazine, 48 Hours, explores the crime and justice cases with an emphasis on court cases and mysteries that have yet to be solved. The series won multiple Emmy and Peabody Awards, including the 2017 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a News Magazine.”

What’s next for this CBS special news report?

Although CBS shifted the focus of 60 Minute’s news coverage, the popularity of this broadcast grew. According to Deadline, CBS renewed 60 Minutes for the 2019-2020 television season. CBS also renewed 48 Hours for their 30th season.

“Everyone is aggressive and assertive [at 60 Minutes],” 60 MinutesProducer Rich Bonin said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We all have our work-life balance out of balance, all of us. Nothing is given to you, whether you’re a man or a woman. You have to be first, you have to be fast, and you have to be tenacious.”

The show will continue its weekly broadcast on CBS, every Sunday night.

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