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'60 Minutes' Tries to Change with the Times

A generational shift is happening at "60 Minutes," which began its 42nd season last night. Steve Kroft, 64, the longest serving of the full-time correspondents, has emerged as the face of the program. For the most-watched news program on TV, this is also the first season without creator Don Hewitt, who passed away last month at age 86 and had been a lively presence in the newsroom.

In an attempt to lure a younger audience, a batch of new contributors has been added, bringing the number of reporters to 10. Producers also plan to make Afghanistan a major focus on the program this season, challenging conventional wisdom that the public has tired of the war. In addition, producers have added a boom camera in the studio to zoo ms in on the correspondents as they introduce their pieces, as a modern flourish.

Despite its age, the show seems to be going strong. Last season its audience was up 10% from the year before, the biggest in seven years. Competitors, such as NBC's "Dateline," largely pursue crime stories and celebrity interviews and get only about half that audience. Apparently, "60 Minutes" fervent embrace of hard news has made it singular -- and the most sought-after news platform in television.



Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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