50 years ago this week, The CBS Evening News, in its new 30 minute format, made its debut. Walter Cronkite was the anchor as the Evening News grew from 15 minutes to a full half hour.
On that historic debut of the 30 minute newscast, Cronkite christened the broadcast with an exclusive interview with the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy was asked about Vietnam and his comments, on the inaugural 30 minute edition of CBS Evening News, started a controversy. The President’s Press Secretary claimed that CBS edited the President’s words and his comments were taken out of context. The transcripts were reviewed and all was well.
That first 30 minute newscast was on September 2, 1963. Just 81 days later, Walter Cronkite began the CBS Evening News with the worst news he had ever had to bring to America’s living rooms, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.