×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tensions Erupt at CBS News Over Top ‘60 Minutes’ Post

Staffers at CBS News are growing anxious over which of two internal candidates is most likely to win the top post at “60 Minutes” — and it’s making some people more cranky than Andy Rooney delivering one of his famous monologues for the show.

The executive producer slot at “60 Minutes” has been open since longtime chief Jeff Fager parted ways with CBS in September over a threatening text message he sent to a CBS News reporter. Now, staffers supporting either Bill Owens, the show’s executive editor, or Susan Zirinsky, the veteran CBS News producer, are trying to stir up unrest.

Zirinsky, the executive producer of “48 Hours,” sent an email to the show’s staffers on Friday calling for calm after The New York Post reported she had potentially gained an edge with executives trying to decide who should lead the show into the future. “Don’t believe anything you read,” Zirinsky wrote in the subject of the email, according to people familiar with the matter.

A CBS News spokeswoman said executives at the CBS Corp. unit had yet to come to a decision over who should take the helm at “60 Minutes.”

The back and forth between supporters of Owens and Zirinsky reveals the allure of the job. Only two people have served as executive producer of “60 Minutes” over its 51 seasons, and whoever becomes the show’s third leader stands to exert much influence in the world of journalism.

A significant portion of the staff would like to see Owens take the reins, according to several people familiar with the program. These people also note that “60” has an insular culture that would be difficult for anyone who has not worked there to navigate. On the other hand, there are also supporters for Zirinsky, who has also supervised award-winning documentaries and breaking news specials. She even served as the inspiration for Holly Hunter’s high-standards news producer in the 1987 film “Broadcast News.”

The two executives have not been outwardly adversarial in the past, but the appeal of the job and the jockeying around it appears to be leading their supporters to campaign for one by dismissing the other.

In the meantime, “60 Minutes” ticks on. Last Sunday’s episode drew the show’s largest audience since last March 25, attracting 14.1 million viewers. “60 Minutes” is also feeding audience into the new CBS drama “God Friended Me,” which lured 8.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

David Rhodes, the president of CBS News, and Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, a CBS News executive vice president, will decide who should lead the newsmagazine. If they are following any kind of timeline, it has not been made public.

More TV

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Tegna to Buy 11 TV Stations From Nexstar for $740 Million

    Tegna has set a deal with Nexstar to buy 11 TV stations — mostly Fox and ABC affiliates — serving eight markets for $740 million. The sale is contingent on Nexstar closing its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, which will make Nexstar the nation’s largest TV station owner by far. Nexstar projects the Tribune [...]

  • EMMA APPLETON as FEEF SYMONDS

    'Traitors' Producer 42 Hires Literary Manager Eugenie Furniss

    Eugenie Furniss is joining London- and Los Angeles-based management and production company 42 as literary manager, it was announced Wednesday. The company’s slate include movie “Ironbark,” a Cold War thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and TV series “Traitors,” a spy thriller coming to Netflix in the U.S. at the end of the month. Furniss joins 42 [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Fox Corp. Pays Disney Sale Dividend, Sets May 9 Investor Meeting

    Fox Corp. has handed over an $8.5 billion check to help Disney offset tax costs related to the 21st Century Fox acquisition. As spelled out in the Disney-21st Century Fox merger agreement, the Murdoch clan’s newly established Fox Corp. was on the hook to pay a special dividend to 21st Century Fox on the latter’s [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Netflix Drops 'Stranger Things' Season 3 Trailer (Watch)

    The “Stranger Things” kids are done playing board games in the basement. From the new trailer for season three, which Netflix just dropped, and The Who song “Baba O’Riley” blasting throughout, it would appear that the gang of Eleven, Mike, Lucas, Dustin and co. are about to experience their “teenage wasteland.” The trailer opens with [...]

  • Tim Roth Series ‘Tin Star’ Gets

    Tim Roth Series ‘Tin Star’ Gets Third and Final Season on Sky

    Tim Roth will star in a third and final season of “Tin Star,” the Sky original drama. Like earlier seasons, it will play on Amazon outside the U.K. Genevieve O’Reilly and Abigail Lawrie also return in the final chapter of the story, which is produced by Endemol Shine’s Kudos alongside Gaumont U.K. Rowan Joffe created [...]

  • Little Mix Star Jesy Nelson Making

    Little Mix's Jesy Nelson Making BBC Documentary About Mental Health and Body Image

    Little Mix star Jesy Nelson is making a one-off documentary for the BBC in which she will explore issues surrounding body shaming and mental health in the age of social media. “Jesy Nelson: My Story” will launch on the BBC’s youth-skewed online channel BBC Three and then play on BBC One. Girl band Little Mix [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content