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NEW YORK (AP) — The iconic stopwatch won’t be reset, but for six episodes this fall, “60 Minutes” will become 90 minutes.
The CBS newsmagazine is stretching on some Sundays when CBS airs an NFL doubleheader, starting Oct. 8. Often, the show doesn’t air until 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast those nights (it usually starts at 7 p.m.).
The request to Bill Owens, the show’s executive producer, came from top CBS executive George Cheeks, and predated the strikes that have paralyzed Hollywood and left networks looking for more content. Owens said he needed to weigh whether the three extra hours across the six episodes would dilute the broadcast.
“My job is to protect the place,” he said. “I don’t ever want to harm a hair on the head of ’60 Minutes.’”
There will generally be two extra pieces on the 90-minute nights, and correspondents are already lobbying for more time to tell their stories. Extra producers have been brought in. Owens said the additional stories would likely lean toward feature or adventure fare, like one Bill Whitaker is preparing about a motorcycle race on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.
More than a half century in, “60 Minutes” remains the most popular show in television news. It averaged close to nine million viewers each week last season, ranking first among non-sports, prime-time programs in live viewing, seventh when a time-delayed audience of up to a week is added, the Nielsen company said.
The show’s stories get an