ViacomCBS Plans a ‘60 Minutes’ Spinoff for New Streaming Service

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ViacomCBS Inc. is reviving a streaming version of the newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” hoping the series can draw viewers to its new online service Paramount+, according to people familiar with the situation.

The company had created a spinoff of the show called “60 in 6” for the short-lived Quibi, but it was left in limbo when the streaming startup announced plans to close down in October. Though Quibi sold the rights to old episodes to Roku Inc., ViacomCBS is interested in making a new version of the series, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t yet public. 

The Quibi show, a roughly six-minute version of the top-rated news program, condensed what was normally an hourlong news magazine into smaller bites. It featured reports on civil-rights protests and racial strife from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery, as well as segments reported by Laurie Segall, Seth Doane and Enrique Acevedo.

First introduced in 1968, “60 Minutes” remains the gold standard in TV news. The show has won more than 140 Emmy awards, and ranks as the most-watched news series in prime time. It averaged 10.5 million viewers during the 2019-2020 season, ranking in the top 20 among all shows.

Documentaries and news programs have proven to be big drivers for streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu. Streaming subscribers also skew younger than traditional TV viewers, so an offshoot could help “60 Minutes” expand beyond its generally older audience. 

CBS already operates free online news services in major markets across the country, and includes evening news programs in All Access, its current streaming offering. News will play a big part in ViacomCBS’s efforts to expand the audience for the rechristened Paramount+ platform next month. The company plans to unveil details about the service at an investor day Feb. 24 prior to its release to the public.

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