Bob Schieffer is so happy about his Sunday morning news panel show, “Face The Nation,” being expanded from 30 to 60 minutes in the spring that he’d probably like to spike his keyboard and do an end zone dance in the show’s production studio.
Was this a long time in the works?
“That would literally be the understatement of the year!” Schieffer told me, laughing.
“I have literally been trying for 20 years. When Tim Russert first went to NBC and took over ‘Meet The Press,’ and asked them to give him an hour — the proposal he made was ‘Give me an hour for three months. If it works, fine; if not, I’ll give you the half-hour back.’ He got his bosses to OK that and within weeks of going to an hour, they went to number one. Along about that same time, I went to my bosses. I said, ‘They’re going to an hour; I think it’s really going to hurt.’ The bosses at the same time said, ‘No, it won’t make any difference. No, we’re not interested in doing that.’ So off and on for the last 20 years, every two or three years I’ll go in and say ‘How about going to an hour? I think we can really make it work.’ “