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Rooney: What Hewitt Didn't Like

<B>Andy Rooney's</B> Tribute To Don Hewitt

You've been watching some of Don Hewitt's favorite pieces that appeared on 60 Minutes.

Did you give any thought, while you were watching, to some of Don's least favorite pieces? I thought about that because I did a lot of things he didn't like.

Every week, usually on a Thursday, we went to Don's office and showed him my commentary for that Sunday's broadcast.

Sometimes he said, "OK." Sometimes he suggested changing a few words. Sometimes he'd say, "Andy, I'm your friend. I'm not going to show that. I want to protect you from yourself."

If he was in a good mood, he'd say something like "That's just not the real you, Andy" or maybe "You're better than that, Andy." If he wasn't in a good mood, he'd say "That's the worst piece of junk I ever saw."

There were some repeaters: things Don didn't like every time I did them.

For example, I always went to the Super Bowl and always did a piece. Don always threw it out. He hates the Super Bowl – hates football -- because when a game is on another network, opposite 60 Minutes, it kills our ratings.

Rooney On The Super Bowl: Not as many people watched the Super Bowl on television this year as last year, and I didn't watch it on television either. I went to Miami to see it and made some home movies while I was there with my new little camera. They said there was no smoking in the stadium, but I guess the people putting on the show hadn't read the sign.

The year the movie "Titanic" was so big, I did what I thought was a funny piece about making a sequel. We staged a miniature shipwreck in my office.

One time, I had the idea of doing a Mike Wallace-style interview with Mike Wallace. Don was determined to stop me from doing that.

Rooney: Could we ask you a few questions?

Hewitt: Mike, Mike, Mike. Could you come here please?

Rooney: Mr. Wallace, you were born in Boston, you went to school in Michigan. And you work in New York. What are you running from, Mr. Wallace?

So, it hasn't been all wine and roses between Don and me over the years, but nothing about the end of his time at 60 Minutes strikes me funny. This is a going-away party and I don't want him to go away.

Most of us are not good about facing the fact that everything ends, and I'm not taking the end of Don's time at 60 Minutes gracefully. It hurts.

We have known each other since 1942, when we were reporters together during World War II in London. We've been together or apart at CBS since 1949.

Don's job as producer of 60 Minutes will be taken over by Jeff Fager. It would make it easier for all of us here if we hated Jeff. We not only don't hate him, we like him a lot. He is extraordinarily capable. 60 Minutes will be just as good with Jeff producing it. It may even be better.

Without Don Hewitt, 60 Minutes will never be the same.

Written By Andy Rooney