UPDATE, 2:50 PM: The network’s press release is below. Said CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager about Rooney’s retirement, which Rooney will announce during his essay segment Sunday: “It’s harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on 60 Minutes when the urge hits him.”
PREVIOUS, 2:49 PM: Andy Rooney, who began his run as the end-of-show commentator on 60 Minutes in 1978, will make his final regular appearance on the CBS newsmagazine this Sunday, the network said today — though it’s possible that the 92-year-old will stay on in some reduced capacity. His final original essay — his 1,097th, according to the Associated Press — will be preceded during Sunday’s telecast by a career retrospective segment on Rooney with correspondent Morley Safer. The network is preparing a press release now.
He will make the announcement in his regular essay at the end of the program, his 1097th original essay for 60 MINUTES. It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer.
“There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” said Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and the executive producer of 60 MINUTES. “His contributions to 60 MINUTES are immeasurable; he’s also a great friend. It’s harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on 60 MINUTES when the urge hits him.”
Rooney began his run on 60 MINUTES in July 1978 with an essay about the reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. He became a regular feature that fall, alternating weeks with the dueling James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander before getting the end slot all to himself in the fall of 1979. In Rooney’s first full season as the 60 MINUTES commentator, the broadcast was the number one program for the first time. (more…)