THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media
Consider this proof of Kroft’s power: President Obama has never turned down the 60 Minutes veteran for an interview. The Indiana native chalks this up to his top-rated newsmagazine’s broad reach (60 is regularly watched by more than 14 million viewers) as well as his long-standing relationship with the president.
For viewers at home, Kroft’s appeal is his range. At 66, the journalist who got his start as a correspondent and photographer for Pacific Stars and Stripes during the Vietnam War is as apt to do a segment about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he is to sit down with The Eagles or South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. “I like investigative pieces, but I also like to cleanse my palate,” says Kroft of incorporating Hollywood fare into his regular workload.
While disappointed by today’s project-peddling celebrity culture, his wish list still has a few entertainment types on it. Among them: Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and producer Brian Grazer, along with the hard-to-book Harvey Weinstein and impossible-to-lure Jack Nicholson. But as the newsmagazine field has narrowed in recent years, Kroft, a married father, has distinguished himself with his dogged pursuit of stories that matter. In February, the Senate and House passed the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) after Kroft embarrassed lawmakers by shining a light on the dubious practice. On the Hill, they’re calling it “The 60 Minutes Act.”