Pitts, who has appeared on “60 MINUTES” periodically since 2006, will be featured regularly beginning in the 2009-’10 season and will report at least six stories. He will also continue to work for “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” but with the new title of chief national correspondent.
“It was time to share Byron Pitts’ extraordinary talents with millions of viewers in primetime in addition to our Evening News audience,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. “Byron has certainly earned the opportunity.”
“Byron is one of the finest reporters in the news business and it is gratifying that he has worked his way up right here at home at CBS News,” said Fager. “He is a first class human being and a terrific correspondent. I am excited about working with him and proud to have him join us at ‘60 MINUTES.’”
Pitts’ first story on “60 MINUTES”, an interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in August 2006, made national news. Prodded by Pitts about how long it was taking to clean up his city’s streets a year after Hurricane Katrina, Nagin shot back by mocking New York City’s longtime efforts to rebuild Ground Zero. “That’s alright. You guys in New York City can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair,” said Nagin, who later apologized. Pitts most recent story, a profile of USC college football coach Pete Carroll, drew nearly 19 million viewers last month, boosting “60 MINUTES” to a third-place finish in the Nielsen weekly ratings race.
In his more than 10 years as a correspondent, Pitts has covered a range of prominent national and international stories, as well as the biggest stories in recent times, such as the September 11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also covered the military buildup in Kuwait, the Florida fires, the Elian Gonzalez story, the Florida presidential recount, the mudslides in Central America and the refugee crisis in Kosovo.
Pitts was named national correspondent in February of 2006 after being a CBS News correspondent since May 1998, when he joined the CBS Evening News in the Miami bureau. He then moved to Atlanta the next year where he served until January 2001 before coming to New York. Pitts began his steady rise from local to national reporting as a weekend sports anchor at WNCT-TV Greenville, N.C., in 1984. He reported for local stations in Virginia, Tampa, Orlando, Boston and Atlanta before becoming a correspondent for CBS NEWSPATH, the 24-hour affiliate news service of CBS News, in Washington, D.C., in 1997.
Pitts was born on October 21, 1960, in Baltimore, MD. He was graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1982 with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and speech communication. He lives with his wife in Upper Montclair, N.J.