May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

90 Minutes on 60 Minutes

PBS (Wed., May 13, 9 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

If you want to mark 30 years of 60 Minutes with a traditional retrospective, watch CBS’s 60 Minutes at 30 on May 17. But if you’re looking for crackling drama and caustic comedy behind the scenes at the archetypal TV news-magazine, don’t miss this American Masters special on PBS. Even the legendary interrogator Mike Wallace has only a supporting role, albeit a substantial one, in this film; the star is Don Hewitt, the charming, infuriating, hyperactive (his term), 75-year-old executive producer who rules 60 Minutes in an atmosphere of relentless pressure, intense internal competition (as star reporters battle for airtime) and often heated give-and-take. Correspondent Steve Kroft likens arguing with the boss to fighting with his father, but when Wallace and Hewitt do verbal battle in the screening room it’s more like two old lions rumbling in the jungle. The guy you’ll really root for is Michael Radutzky, a producer who works almost insanely hard on a story about the Kennedy family, then sweats bullets awaiting Hewitt’s verdict.

Bottom Line: Worth every minute

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