Saturday, November 21, 2020

YouTube Spotlight: "60 Minutes" Point/Counterpoint

One of the clips in this week's 60 Minutes video playlist is an example of the segment that preceded Andy Rooney's commentaries on the show: "Point/Counterpoint."

When the newsmagazine debuted in 1968, it featured "Digressions,"  which showed a then-behind-the-camera Rooney and producer Palmer Williams ("Ipso and Facto") making wry exchanges about one of the topics on the episode. "Point/Counterpoint" replaced it in 1972 with debates between two Washington newspapermen: conservative James Kilpatrick and liberal Nicholas von Hoffman.  Later, Shana Alexander sparred with Kilpatrick, and the ensuing dynamic is the source of the Dan Akroyd/Jane Curtin segments on Saturday Night Live:

The Andy Rooney commentaries in essence replaced the segment, though there was apparently some overlap. Kilpatrick himself said that 60 Minutes jefe Don Hewitt axed the bit after Alexander asked for a pay raise.

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