Mike Wallace No Longer Lead Voice at ’60 Minutes’
For the first time since the show’s inception, “I’m Mike Wallace” will not be the lead-in to “To Minutes.”
Time for changes at ’60 Minutes’ (AP-CNN)
From the time “60 Minutes” began in 1968, the first face viewers saw after the ticking stopwatch has been Mike Wallace’s — until now. Ed Bradley will replace Wallace in that prominent position when “60 Minutes” begins its new season on Sunday, a further indication of a changing of the guard at television’s first and still most popular newsmagazine. With Dan Rather rejoining “60 Minutes” and the show absorbing personnel from the canceled “60 Minutes II,” there will be nine correspondents competing for space each week on a broadcast that generally runs three stories.
Instead of his booming voice announcing, “I’m Mike Wallace,” at the beginning of each broadcast, Wallace will instead be at the end of the opening segment, saying “these stories and Andy Rooney, tonight on ’60 Minutes.’ ” It’s a change that would be little noted on most broadcasts. But the opening is serious business at “60 Minutes,” and Wallace is the iconic figure the show has long been identified with.
Bradley, [Steve] Kroft and [Lesley] Stahl are now the featured players on “60 Minutes” and their faces will be seen each week in the opening. Wallace, Rather, Morley Safer, Scott Pelley, Bob Simon and Lara Logan have all been assigned producers and will also do stories.
It’s a crowded lineup at a rough-and-tumble broadcast where correspondents already compete, sometimes heatedly, for airtime. “It’s like managing an all-star team,” [executive producer Jeff] Fager said. “Not everybody gets in as many innings but the quality of the play is better. This place has always been competitive. They all want to get on the air so they’re making their stories better. Who’s that bad for besides the competition?”
It’s amazing that Wallace, now 87 years old, is still at it. Still, he’s earned the honor of starting off the show on which he is the signature player.