The show’s longest-tenured correspondent is known for his incisive interviews and impactful investigations. But he admits, “I’m not easy.”
Steve Kroft, the longest-tenured 60 Minutescorrespondent, will retire at the end of his 30th season on the iconic newsmagazine. His last piece — about what could be the biggest money laundering scheme ever — will air Sunday on the show’s 51st season finale. Kroft, 73, will announce his plan to step down at the conclusion of the broadcast. In September, 60 Minutes will air a retrospective of Kroft’s 50-year career in journalism.
Kroft’s exit comes in the wake of a difficult period for CBS News and 60 Minutes. The show and the news division overall were under intense scrutiny for nearly two years following the ouster of Charlie Rose in November 2017, amid widespread misconduct claims, and culminating last September with the exit of longtime executive producer Jeff Fager. But the ascension of Susan Zirinsky to president of the division and the February appointment of 60 Minutes executive Bill Owens to succeed Fager lifted a cloud of anxiety. Kroft’s decision to leave the show now, at the relatively tender age of 73, is notable for a show known for the longevity of its correspondent corps. Mike Wallace was nearly 90 when he filed his last piece, a 2008 interview with Roger Clemens. Morley Safer was 84 when he retired in 2016. Lesley Stahl, 77, who joined 60 Minutes in 1991, now becomes the show’s longest-serving correspondent. But Kroft also has slowed down in recent years, filing approximately eight to ten pieces a season for the past two seasons. And those who know him say he has been talking about retiring for some time.
Kroft has filed nearly 500 pieces for 60 Minutes, including stories that are among the broadcast’s most indelible interviews. His 1992 sit-down with Bill and Hillary Clinton — which aired after the Super Bowl and was watched by 34 million people — was remarkable for its wincing candor. Bill Clinton was fighting to save his candidacy after a supermarket tabloid revealed his 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers. And he was visibly peeved when Kroft asked if the Clintons’ marriage was “an arrangement.” Then, of course, Hillary Clinton infamously invoked Tammy Wynette. And then a light fixture came crashing down on the Clintons, causing them to jump off the sofa.
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