'60 Minutes' backing away from Disney tale based on book

October 17, 1998|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Citing concerns about being used as a promotional tool for a new book, CBS' "60 Minutes" is likely to follow rival ABC in passing on a story about published allegations of safety and personnel problems at Walt Disney World in Florida.

ABC had dropped the story earlier this week, prompting questions about whether it did so to protect the Walt Disney Co., its owner. ABC has vehemently denied it did so for that reason.

On Tuesday, "60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt said his show may pick up the story, but yesterday he said the issue was on "the back burner."

Initially, ABC intended to do a story on safety at theme parks and was to use a new book, "Disney: The Mouse Betrayed," as a starting point. However, after the first drafts of the story were turned in by correspondent Brian Ross and producer Rhonda Schwartz, the story was spiked. ABC cited editorial reasons.

Thursday, Hewitt said: "I'm beginning to see there's a book being hyped here. I don't want to be part of anybody's hype. If we're moved to go find out if there's a story, we'll go find out. If there is, we'll broadcast it."

Pub Date: 10/17/98

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