WASHINGTON — Following the exit path cleared by Don Hewitt, “60 Minutes” exec editor Philip Scheffler will leave the broadcast newsmag at the end of this television season, CBS said Friday.
Senior producer Josh Howard will take over the top editor role, while Scheffler will be a contributing editor.
Earlier this year, Hewitt — who created “60 Minutes” — announced he would leave CBS in the summer of 2004. “60 Minutes II” exec producer Jeff Fager has been tapped as his replacement.
Scheffler has spent 52 years at CBS News, 23 of them at “60 Minutes,” where he was Hewitt’s right-hand man.
“Phil has been a mainstay of CBS News since television’s infancy. Our reputation for journalistic excellence is based on the work of people like him,” said CBS News prexy Andrew Heyward.
Hewitt hired Scheffler in 1951 as a copy aide and cub reporter for “Douglas Edwards and the News,” CBS’s first network news program. Scheffler’s first assignment was to interview people on the street about whether Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower should run for the White House.
He worked for CBS’ evening news in the 1950s before going on to produce more than 100 special news broadcasts and documentaries in the 1960s and 1970s, many of them airing on “CBS Reports.”
“Everybody should be as lucky as I’ve been to have Phil Scheffler at my side. He’s as good an editor as I’ve ever worked with,” Hewitt said.