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'60 Minutes' tribute to Mike Wallace is 2006 repeat

Mike Wallace in 1975.

Mike Wallace in 1975. (Credit: Getty Images)

Is there anything wrong with "60 Minutes" last night airing virtually the exact same program it aired on the occasion of Mike Wallace's 2006 retirement?

Practically speaking, not at all: It was a good broadcast on the night of May 21 2006, as it was on the night of April 15 2012; back then it was called "I'm Mike Wallace: A 60 Minutes Tribute;" last night it was called "Remembering Mike Wallace."

Same show. Same stories. Same everything -- with the exception of what I believe was a fresh Scott Pelley piece, and also without the original closer -- Andy Rooney telling some funny story about Mike and Harry Reasoner and Angie Dickenson .  .  .

Same exact broadcast -- which means that "60" dusted off its retirement tribute and turned it into an obituary.

And I ask again: Anything wrong with that? Again, in practicality, no. But in spirit yes. And the spirit of the thing is what matters here.
Couldn't this mighty broadcast -- which wouldn't even have existed without Wallace -- have put together something fresh, something original. Mike has been sick for years -- surely there was time to prepare?

Couldn't it have talked to other people on the show who knew Mike so well, loved him, or hated him? I can think of at least three or four (many more), some still at CBS -- including the show's very talented executive producer (and CBS News chairman) Jeff Fager.

I would've loved to hear some of Jeff's stories -- instead of a repeat. Nothing about Mike's radio work, or the books, or so many other aspects of his career. No re-evaluations, no fresh observations or insights. No attempt to cast his role as co-founder in chief of this show.

Couldn't the network have done an imaginative tribute to Mike -- something revelatory, or fun, or funny, or smart or . . . something!?

Speaking of funny things -- the show repeated Andy Rooney's retirement broadcast the weekend he died too; but that was different -- has family requested that. (Did Mike's request this repeat? Who knows, but even if the family had, "60" could've, should've pushed back in the best spirit of Wallace and said "no!" )

Maybe it's just Monday morning, or maybe it's just because I expected something better -- something much much better -- but last night's "Remembering Mike Wallace" was a huge disappointment. He deserved better than a repeat.

Tags: mike wallace , 60 minutes , remembering mike wallace , mike wallace retirement

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