Stahl Is Named to the Cast of ’60 Minutes’
Lesley Stahl, CBS’ chief White House correspondent and a reporter at the network since 1972, was named Thursday to join the cast of “60 Minutes.”
The appointment had been expected. Stahl, who also moderates the public-affairs show “Face the Nation” and until recently co-anchored the weekday late-night program “America Tonight,” recently was in Europe on a “60 Minutes” story that will air later this spring.
She will join the high-rated news magazine as soon as she can wrap up her current duties, CBS said. There was no immediate word on who will replace her at the White House or on “Face the Nation,” which she has fronted since 1983.
“There’s nobody better than Lesley Stahl as a reporter,” said “60 Minutes” executive producer Don Hewitt in an interview. “I’ll assume she’ll just be getting started in her tenure on the show six years from now, when I retire.”
By CBS’ account, Stahl is replacing Harry Reasoner, who will be retiring from full-time work on “60 Minutes” this spring, although he will contribute occasional essay-type pieces. But that job had been expected to go to Meredith Vieira, who had been working part-time on the show for the last two seasons. However, she recently was dropped from “60 Minutes” after she asked to continue the part-time arrangement because she is pregnant with her second child.
Vieira will go on maternity leave at the end of the season and is discussing with CBS executives what other assignments she might take when she returns.
Despite the departure of Vieira, only the second female correspondent in “60 Minutes’ ” 22-year history, Hewitt said that he had not felt compelled to pick another female correspondent for the show. “I said when we picked Diane Sawyer (as the first female correspondent, in 1984) that her name could’ve been Tom Sawyer, that gender wasn’t a factor. That’s the way I feel about Lesley.”
Stahl already has engaged in some news-gathering dramatics in the “60 Minutes” tradition. For her coming story on the “buying” of Romanian orphans by couples eager to adopt, she disguised herself as a mother who wants to adopt a child.