Jeff Fager became the first chairman of CBS News in February 2011, after reshaping its flagship broadcast, 60 Minutes, into an editorially more vibrant and news-conscious program that regularly makes Nielsen's Top 10 and wins unprecedented amounts of awards. His efforts to improve the hit program online have also made the 60 Minutes brand a hit on the Internet and the model of successful electronic journalism in the digital age. Fager is also expanding the brand to cable; 60 Minutes Sports, a sports-oriented edition which he co-executive produces, debuted on SHOWTIME Jan. 9, 2013.
As he continues to guide 60 Minutes, he is executing his plan to transfer that success to all of the news division's platforms, on television, radio and the Internet. That plan began with the appointment of Scott Pelley as network news anchor in June 2011. After two years, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley has won a Peabody Award and improved its audience: in its first season, it was the only network evening news broadcast to add total viewers and in its second season, it was the only network evening news broadcast to add viewers in the key news demographic of adults 25-54. In January 2012, Fager guided the re-launch of the network's morning news program, CBS This Morning, into a broadcast critically acclaimed for its fresh focus on harder news and its new team of talent.
In recognition for these and his other achievements, he received the 2013 Paul White Award, the highest honor given by the Radio, Television, Digital News Association.
Fager came to the chairman's position with more than 30 years of experience at every stage of the electronic news business, including 15 years at the executive producer level, seven of those at the helm of 60 Minutes. There, Fager upheld the program's legendary standard of quality storytelling but also instituted a new graphic look and emphasized more timely stories to keep it relevant in a new and challenging era. A pioneer in journalism's crucial mission to create and grow revenue streams online, he cultivated 60 Minutes' Internet presence by revamping 60Minutes.com and by initiating groundbreaking digital partnerships with Yahoo! and Comcast. He then built 60MinutesOvertime.com, an innovative, single-sponsored website that was the first to stream web-only 60 Minutes content. Fager also guided the creation and launch of the 60 Minutes iPad app, which is now one of the most popular paid apps available.
Thanks to these measures, 60 Minutes maintains an average television audience more than double that of its nearest newsmagazine competition, reaching an estimated 120 million unique viewers during the 2011-12 season, more than any other primetime non-sports program. 60 Minutes online, thanks mostly to his new digital initiative, streaming of 60 Minutes videos rose 53 percent, users increased by 40 percent and page views were up by 39 percent.
The Producers Guild of America voted him best producer in non-fiction television four times; he made TV Week's top 10 list of most powerful television news executives; and in 2012 and 2013, The Hollywood Reporter named him one of the "35 Most Powerful People in Media."
Before assuming control of 60 Minutes, Fager is credited with leading "60 Minutes II" to a slew of major awards over a short period of time as its executive producer for its first five seasons. The awards continued to flow when he took over 60 Minutes. 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II broadcasts executive produced by Fager garnered 38 Emmys, 10 Peabodys, 11 RTDNA/Edward R. Murrow Awards, five Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University batons, three Sigma Delta Chi Awards and three Investigative Reporting and Editing Awards.
As the executive producer of the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" from 1996 to 1998, Fager led the broadcast's highly praised rededication to hard news, enterprise reporting and increased foreign coverage. By the time he left to start "60 Minutes II," the CBS Evening News had gained more than one million viewers over the previous year, a gain unmatched by competitors.
Fager was also the senior broadcast producer for the CBS Evening News (1994-96) and covered many major international stories, including the war in Bosnia and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
He had been a producer for 60 Minutes from 1989 to 1994, primarily working with correspondents Morley Safer and Steve Kroft, and covered several major world events, including the Gulf War with Iraq in 1991. He was part of the original team that developed and launched 48 HOURS, the primetime CBS News magazine.
Fager served as a producer on the CBS Evening News, based in London (1985-88) and New York (1984-85), covering numerous international stories. He produced segments on Palestinian-Israeli conflicts in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan; the bombing of Libya in 1986; the Reagan Gorbachev summits in Geneva and Iceland; Gorbachev's first foreign visit, to Paris in 1986; and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
He was a producer for other CBS News programs between 1982 and 1984, including the weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, and was a broadcast producer for "Nightwatch," CBS's original overnight news broadcast. He joined CBS News from KPIX TV San Francisco, where he was a broadcast producer (1979-82). He began his career as a production assistant in Boston in 1977 at the CBS station WBZ-TV, then quickly rose through a succession of television and radio news positions, including news writer and assignment editor.
Fager was born in Wellesley, Mass. He was graduated from Colgate University in 1977 with a B.A. degree in English.