CBS News pioneer Don Hewitt dies at 86 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CBS News pioneer Don Hewitt dies at 86

NEW YORK, N.Y. - CBS News says Don Hewitt, the newsman who invented "60 Minutes" and produced the popular newsmagazine for 36 years, has died. He was 86.

CBS says he diedtoday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Hewitt joined CBS News in 1948, and in May of that year directed the first network television newscast.

He originated the use of cue cards for news readers and was the first to 'superimpose' words on the TV screen for a news show. Hewitt produced the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. Hewitt asked Kennedy if he wanted makeup. Kennedy, tanned and fit, said no. In a memorable mistake, Nixon followed Kennedy's lead and declined makeup.

Hewitt made his mark in the late 1960s when CBS agreed to try his idea of a one-hour broadcast that mixed hard news and feature stories. "60 Minutes" made its debut on Sept. 24, 1968, and Hewitt was the show's producer until the end of the 2003-2004 season.

Hewitt's death comes a month after that of CBS legend Walter Cronkite.

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