Andy Rooney is finally retiring from CBS’s 60 Minutes news program. He is expected to make an official announcement this weekend during his regular television segment. The broadcaster is 92 years old and insiders say he still wasn’t quite ready to leave the workforce.
Rooney joined CBS in 1948 as a writer and debuted on the weekly series as A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney in 1978. It all began when he was a replacement for the debate segment “Point/Counterpoint.” In the segment, he typically offers satire on a trivial everyday issue, such as the cost of groceries, annoying relatives, or faulty Christmas presents.
His appearances on A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney often include whimsical lists (e.g., types of milk, bottled water brands, car brands, sports mascots, etc.).
In recent years, his segments have become more political as well. Despite being best known for his television presence on the Sunday evening broadcast, he has always considered himself a writer who incidentally appears on television behind his famous walnut table, which he made himself.
The 92-year-old has been quite controversial at times for some what racial remarks but then later apologizing if he offended anyone. One example is in 1992 when Rooney said that it was “silly” for Native-Americans to complain about team names like the Redskins saying, “The real problem is, we took the country away from the Indians, they want it back and we’re not going to give it to them. We feel guilty and we’ll do what we can for them within reason, but they can’t have their country back. Next question.”
In 1990, he was suspended without pay for three months. It is believed that this punishment was for saying that “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead… to premature death.” He wrote an explanatory letter to a gay organization after being ordered not to do so.
After only four weeks without Andy, 60 Minutes lost 20 percent of its audience, and the CBS management then decided that it was in the best interest of the network to have him return immediately.
“There’s nobody like Andy, and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said.