Robert Chandler, 80, the former news executive who helped shepherd 60 Minutes to ratings success and headed the election unit, died of heart failure at his home in Pittsfield, Mass., CBS said Friday.
Chandler headed up public affairs for CBS in the 1970s, including vetting 60 Minutes stories and budgets and helped get the show on the air in 1968. “In my more than half a century at CBS News, I don’t recall anyone having a better fix on what 60 Minutes should be than Bob Chandler,” said 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt in a statement.
Chandler also had a hand in getting Andy Rooney his spot at the end of the 60 Minutes broadcast.
He also supervised CBS' campaign coverage in 1974 and was co-executive producer of coverage in 1970 and 1972.
Chandler joined CBS News in 1963 as head of information services, at the time a public relations job at the news division in New York. He rose through the ranks to senior VP, administration in 1984 and retired in 1985, though the retirement included a stint as managing editor of a weekly news magazine at NBC and excecutive producing a PBS documentary on education.
He is also credited with negotiating the agreement with the New York Times that became the NYT-CBS News Poll.
Chandler began his career at Variety in 1950. He later joined MGM Television in 1961 as head of TV publicity.
Survivors include his wife, Eleanor, and two sons, Doug and Larry.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.