Don Hewitt – inventor of ’60 Minutes’ – passes and leaves a black hole in TV

Don Hewitt wasn't just a giant in the world of TV news. He was a founding father of television, with his hand still in the game well into the Internet age.

And he had a ball, leading "maybe the best life that any guy who ever chose journalism as a profession ever led," as he crowed during an interview in 2004 when, only reluctantly, he gave up the reins of "60 Minutes."

"They're making a change in a broadcast that doesn't need any change," said Hewitt, then 81, referring to himself.

Hewitt, who died Wednesday at age 86, invented "60 Minutes," of course. He envisioned it as a new kind of documentary program, borrowing from the words-and-images blend of Life magazine. It premiered in September 1968, and quickly proved two things: Great storytelling could deliver huge audiences to a news show and, consequently, earn the TV network lots of money from news, which until then was regarded as a network public service.

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