Bill Whitaker recounts some of his favorite stories before “Jeopardy” hosting run
Bill Whitaker will not tell you he has seen it all, but he has seen a lot. The award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent has reported from all over the world, about the possibilities beyond earth, and the treasures deep below its surface.
The Philadelphia native joined CBS News in 1984 and has been based in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and has embedded in multiple presidential campaigns prior to being named a 60 Minutes correspondent in 2014.
Whitaker’s reporting includes some of 60 Minutes’ most memorable adventures and investigations. He chronicled the capture of Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman, detailed the return of the wolves in Yellowstone National Park, and more recently reported on the development of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
For the next two weeks, Whitaker is out on assignment again, this time trading in questions for clues as the guest host of “Jeopardy.”
As Whitaker takes the host’s podium of America’s most storied quiz show, we asked him to choose some of his most memorable pieces, which are highlighted below.
For many years after being sexually assaulted in 2015, Chanel Miller was only known to the public by her court concealed name, “Jane Doe.”
The victim of a brutal sexual assault by former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, Miller began the process of reclaiming her name when Bill Whitaker interviewed her for 60 Minutes in 2020.
Widely considered one of the most feared predators on the planet, grizzly bears have long been seen as a threat to ranchers and farmers in the American West. For more than 150 years, they were systematically hunted to protect property and livestock from their carnivorous and destructive appetites, until they became one of the first animals to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The protection allowed the grizzly bear population to grow and begin to flourish in the eyes of conservationists, but they’re not a welcome sight to all.
In October 2020, Whitaker reported from Montana’s Mission Valley where he came face to face with an American grizzly.
In 2017, Bill Whitaker interviewed Joe Rannazzisi, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry.
In what we described as, “one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes,” Rannazzisi said drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities despite knowing that people were dying and said industry lobbyists and Congress derailed the DEA’s efforts to stop it.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder by former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, Bill Whitaker interviewed Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“Race lies at so much of the core of what is problematic in our society today and that, that is so easily exploitable,” Ifill said to Whitaker. “Because we have not had the courage in this country and particularly most white people have not had the courage to really decide that this is your job every day as a citizen is to deal with the fractures that ultimately if we don’t confront them will destroy us.”
Since COVID-19 began rapidly spreading around the world, Bill Whitaker has reported numerous times on the international effort to end the pandemic.
In December, he reported on the development of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and the process undertaken to bring the drug to market.