Friday, March 7, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Veteran CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker, who has been with the network for 30 years and based in Los Angeles since 1992, is moving East to join the cast of "60 Minutes."
CBS said Thursday that Whitaker will begin on the Sunday night show this fall. He will be the first full-time black correspondent on "60 Minutes" since the death of Ed Bradley in 2006, although Byron Pitts was a regular contributor before joining ABC News in 2013.
Whitaker, 62, has reported for most of CBS' newscasts and contributed profiles on the likes of Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear and Mike Tyson to "Sunday Morning." He was also based in Tokyo and Atlanta after joining CBS in 1984. He was CBS' lead reporter on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008 and George W. Bush's 2000 campaign.
He'll join Scott Pelley, Steve Kroft, Lesley Stahl, Bob Simon and Lara Logan as regular correspondents. "60 Minutes" also has occasional contributors including Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose, Sanjay Gupta and David Martin.
While "60 Minutes" is television's longest-running and most prestigious newsmagazine, it has had a rough year.
CBS in November ordered Logan and her producer to take a leave of absence following their much-criticized report on the attack to a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. The story was based heavily on a report from a supposed eyewitness whose account couldn't be verified, and an internal review said Logan shouldn't have been assigned the story after giving a public speech about al-Qaida.
Logan still hasn't returned to "60 Minutes," and CBS would not comment this week on when she will.
The network said Whitaker's hiring had nothing to do with the show being shorthanded with Logan's absence.
Critics said there have been other "60 Minutes" reports this season that have lacked the show's usual hard-hitting rigor, notably ones that looked at the National Security Agency and a drone delivery program in the works at Amazon.