Andy Rooney, the veteran 60 Minutes commentator, will be stepping down from his regular role after 33 years on the air, CBS has announced.
While A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney will no longer be a regular feature of the news magazine show, Rooney will still make intermittent appearances, in keeping with the promise he made in 2009 that he would work at 60 Minutes until he dies.
Rooney will discuss his semi-departure this coming Sunday on the show, which will mark his his 1097th original essay for 60 Minutes. The segment will be preceded by a retrospective on Rooney's career and an interview with Morley Safer.
The 92-year old first appeared on 60 Minutes in 1978, with an essay that discussed reporting of car accidents on 4th of July weekend. He has been with CBS since 1949, and worked on a number of productions -- including multiple collaborations with Harry Reasoner -- before joining 60 Minutes as a regular commentator.
Rooney has been extraordinarily well-liked by audience despite making some controversial comments. An anti-gay comment he made in 1990 resulted in CBS suspending him, but after viewership sharply dropped by 20 percent, he was reinstated.
In 2010, Time Magazine put together a list of Top 10 Grumpiest Andy Rooney Segments. In one of them, he rails against Bill Gates for making computers and complains about having to use passwords. Watch the clip here:
There's nobody like Andy and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original, said Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and the executive producer of '60 Minutes.' His contributions to '60 Minutes' are immeasurable; he's also a great friend. It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on '60 Minutes' when the urge hits him.