Donald S. Hewitt (December 14, 1922 - August 19, 2009) was an American television news producer and executive, best known for creating 60 Minutes, the CBS news magazine in 1968, currently the longest-running prime time broadcast on American television.
Born in NYC, his family moved a couple times. For his high school years, they were in New Rochelle, New York, where Hewitt attended New Rochelle High School and wrote a sports column for the school newspaper. Hewitt attended New York University and started his journalism career in 1942 as head copyboy for the New York Herald Tribune.
Hewitt started at CBS News in 1948 and served as producer-director of the network's evening news broadcast for 14 years. He was also the first director of the landmark documentary news program See It Now, coproduced by host Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly. The program ran a series of pieces on Sen. Joseph McCarthy, critical of his methods. These pieces, especially the March 9, 1954 broadcast (video, transcript) are considered influential to the nationwide popular opinion backlash against McCarthy (NPR piece with commentator Walter Cronkite marking the 50th anniversary). McCarthy went on the program on April 6, 1954 (transcript), but it didn't help his cause.
Hewitt also produced the first Presidential debate on TV, Nixon vs. Kennedy.
Hewitt stepped aside as executive producer for 60 Minutes in 2004 at 81. He was involved when the program won numerous awards, and he himself was honored with other awards.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2009, which is currently considered his cause of death.
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