Last Updated Feb 8, 2018 6:37 PM EST
Jeffrey Fager begins his 14th season as executive producer of 60 Minutes in the fall of 2017. His efforts to re-shape the broadcast into an editorially more vibrant, news-conscious program have kept it among Nielsen's weekly top 10 television shows since he took it over. Now entering its 50th season, 60 Minutes is the most-watched news program in America and was the only broadcast news program to grow its average audience in the 2016-17 season.
Fager wrote a book to commemorate the golden anniversary, "Fifty Years of 60 Minutes: The Inside Story of Television's most Influential Broadcast," published by Simon & Schuster, a CBS company.
His plans to improve the program online have also made the 60 Minutes brand a hit on the Internet. 60Minutes.com and 60MinutesOvertime.com have become the models of successful electronic journalism in the digital age.
In 2011, Fager became the first chairman of CBS News, a role in which he was asked to remake the rest of news division's platforms on television, radio and the Internet, in the same way he rejuvenated 60 Minutes, which he continued to oversee as executive producer. He achieved the most success by relaunching CBS This Morning with a new team that would bring a harder news focus to the program in keeping with CBS News traditions. The new format, featuring Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell, drew critical acclaim and more viewers. Five years later, CBS This Morning has grown 46 percent, and in 2017, finished the season with the network's best morning ratings in 29 years --- the only network morning news program to grow its audience.
His re-emphasis on hard news and the appointment of Scott Pelley to the anchor chair of the CBS Evening News resulted in higher ratings and more awards. The network's audience in that timeslot has grown 16 percent since 2012, while the broadcast's reporting has won the industry's highest accolades, including the Peabody and DuPont awards.
In recognition for these and his other achievements, Fager received the 2013 Paul White Award, the highest honor given by the Radio, Television, Digital News Association.
His mission as head of the news division complete, he returned full-time to 60 Minutes in January of 2015. Fager's 35 years at CBS News include experience at every stage of the electronic news business, including 21 years at the executive producer level, 13 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. He also expanded the brand to cable with 60 Minutes Sports, a sports-oriented edition he co-executive produced for SHOWTIME.
60 Minutes draws an average audience more than double that of its nearest news magazine competition and reached an estimated 107.7 million unique viewers during the 2016-17 season, more than any other primetime, non-sports program.
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; he is a perennial name on The Hollywood Reporter's "35 Most Powerful People in Media" list.
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 68 Emmys, 11 Peabodys, 17 RTDNA/Edward R. Murrow Awards, seven Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University batons, nine 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 re-dedication 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) for many major international stories, including the war in Bosnia and the Peabody Award-winning coverage of 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, Massachusetts. He was graduated from Colgate University in 1977 with a B.A. degree in English.