While it wasn't a shock, I was disappointed to hear the news that Andy Rooney would be leaving 60 Minutes as a contributor who we would spend a few minutes listening to at the end of each Sunday evening show. His appearances have been less frequent and he is ninety-two, so age does play a bit of a role. However, this will be the end of an era and the end of a strong piece of why 60 Minutes was such a good show.
Andy Rooney's career as a journalist for CBS dates back to 1949. However, his career on 60 Minutes began close to thirty years later. It all began in 1978, when he was fifty-nine. During the 1978-1979 season, his segment would alternate with a "Point/Counterpoint" with Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick, which was a debate segment on the show. At the end of the season, the segment was given to Rooney and he has held that position since. During his segments, Rooney would take the opportunity to speak what ever was on his mind in the grumpy old man style of his. While his comes off as being grumpy, he's filled with a ton of common sense and makes us feel the same way about a certain topic. Some of the most memorable segments of his in my book included the exposure of why milk wasn't as special today as it was back in the day. He then showed us what was really featured in a carton of half and half. While it should be 50% milk and 50% cream, like it originally was, you will now find other forms of additives that are added to the liquid. He also talked about the ridiculous prices of bottled water and how they make a big deal about how the water is bottled (in a glass wine-like bottle for instance), when all you're getting is the same water you can get anywhere else. This led him to conduct an experiment... fill up a water bottle with water from the foundation and sell it for a dollar, seeing what kind of result would come out of it. Other topics of discussion included the 2010 Winter Olympics, Presidents being named after cars (and how a name like "Lincoln" sounds like a much better car name than future possible candidates such as "Huckabee" or "Kucinich"), and then there is the segment where he went over gifts he received from his fans. These gifts could include anything from books to umbrellas.
Andy Rooney continues to be one of the strongest opinions in the country and it's unfortunate that such a good thing must come to an end. It will end the purpose of Frank Caliendo's sketches where he impersonates Rooney. However, for me, the end of the Andy Rooney era will mean more. Andy Rooney is one of my influences when it comes to my goals in journalism, and more specifically, column writing. When I was thinking of starting a column back in 2008, I wanted to discuss my views on a certain topic, good or bad, and do it in sort of a style that Andy Rooney does on 60 Minutes, but at the same time, inject my own personality to evaluating topics. I also liked the fact my column/editorial was on the last page of the newsletter's body (which would be the second to last page overall), as a nod to Rooney's segments being featured at the end of 60 Minutes. That's just a nod toward an influence. Andy Rooney is one of the best journalist in the column category of news, and there will never be anyone like him. It will be impossible to fill his segment and think that it's going to get the same response as "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney." While I dream of some day being as successful of a second opinion as Andy Rooney is, Andy Rooney is a one of a kind and cannot be replaced.
I will most definitely put it on my agenda to watch the final Andy Rooney segment this upcoming Sunday and watch him talk about what ever is on his mind. It will probably be about his experiences with CBS and looking back at his career with the network and throughout his thirty-three years on 60 Minutes. It would be great to own his segments on DVD and just go over the many topics he discussed in his many segments, 1,097 total, with the 1,097th being his final segment that will air on Sunday. An era has ended and Andy Rooney will be missed in his excellent segments on the show.