As part of its “New York Media” issue (more here), The Hollywood Reporter spoke to “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, and also profiled the long-running newsmagazine “60 Minutes.”
Pelley speaks kindly of the changes at CBS over the last couple of years, and also has a few words for Fox News, which revealed the real name of h Navy SEAL Pelley interviewed for his story about the Osama Bin Laden raid:
I cannot think of a reason journalistically that you would expose an undercover operator for the United States in that way. I cannot think in any public interest that was served, and now his life is in danger, the lives of all of his family members and extended family are in danger, and I could think of a reason to do that. If the people at Fox have a reason, I’d be awfully interested in hearing it, because I cannot think in any way how the public interest in the United States was served by that.
Marisa Guthrie pens the “60 Minutes” profile, and reveals some interesting behind-the-scenes details about the show, including comments from “60 Minutes” EP and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and CBS CEO Les Moonves.
On an upcoming story about African warlord Joseph Kony:
So now there will be no mention at all of Kony 2012 when Logan’s piece hits TV screens in late April. Six months in the making and with a price tag between $125,000 and $150,000, the segment is not even the most expensive for the newsmagazine. The show’s war-zone reporting in such hotspots as Afghanistan and Syria, where transportation, insurance and security cost dearly (private security can double the cost of a piece), easily can run to $200,000 for each segment. That’s more than double the cost of an entire hour of some newsmagazines in the postcrash media economy. And yet, the corporate bean counters have not descended.
“The most important thing about that show is the quality. They take time to do those stories,” says CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves, who persuaded Fager to take the chairmanship job at CBS News in early 2011 after many months of wooing. “Could Jeff do the show cheaper? Probably. But that’s not the place to scrimp.”
On the significance of the show:
“The TV-news audience is old,” concedes Fager. “But 60 Minutes is, in many households, a family appointment.” And it pulls in close to 4 million viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic — that’s more than Parks and Recreation, The Good Wife, The Mindy Project and all of the broadcast late-night shows. 60 Minutes booked $123 million in ad revenue in 2012, up from $115 million the year earlier, according to Kantar Media.