'60 Minutes' expands int'l offerings

Iconic newsmagazine to work with local crews

"60 Minutes" wants to play even more on the global stage.

The 40-year-old CBS news magazine is iconic in the U.S. There are versions already around the world -- Australia and Scandinavia, for instance -- but it's not the exact same format as the U.S. version. CBS wants to change that this year.

It's marketing internationally a version of "60 Minutes" that will combine two pieces from the domestic edition plus a segment done to the show's standards by a crew local to the country under the "60 Minutes" banner. "60 Minutes" already runs overseas in about 50 countries in the U.S. feed in various shapes and forms. An Australian broadcaster, for instance, licenses the "60 Minutes" clock for its own version but it's not the same show.

"What we've known all along is that so many of our stories translate internationally," "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager said. He added that each program would be tailored to the country in which it airs, maybe not with stories from that week's "60 Minutes" but perhaps from the season. "60 Minutes" also would control the broadcast and hire the local crew.

To that end, CBS News has named Patti Hassler as executive editor of 60 Minutes Global, the new unit that will spearhead the international effort as well as its digital brand extensions on cable and the Web. Senior broadcast producer Bill Owens has been promoted to executive editor of "60 Minutes."

So far there isn't an international deal yet but Fager hopes that there's one in the fall.

CBS News' plans is part of a strategy it has had in recent years to build the brand beyond Sunday nights at 7. That has led to a "60 Minutes" edition on ESPN Classic and a partnership with Yahoo that Fager said led to 70 million streams this past year.

"We're very happy with that but we know there's a lot more we can do online," Fager said.
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