For all of us wondering just how long a life Cooper has at CNN it looks like we'll be watching him for another two years according to Gail Shister...
Two months after Ed Bradley's unexpected death, his 60 Minutes colleagues are finding solace in his untouched office.
"It's very comforting," says correspondent Steve Kroft. "It feels like he's still here. In some ways, it almost feels like he's off shooting a story."
Bradley, known as Butch in his old West Philadelphia neighborhood, died Nov. 9 of complications from leukemia. He was 65. A very private man, Bradley had kept his illness a secret to virtually everyone at CBS.
"It's good to walk into Ed's office and just remember him," says 60 executive producer Jeff Fager. "There is something of him still in there. It helps some people to see the office as it was."
Bradley's space was always seen as a refuge, with its muted lighting and abundant greenery. You knew he was in town when you heard his beloved jazz playing softly in the background.
With 60 real estate at a premium, the office won't stay unoccupied indefinitely, of course. Bradley won't be replaced as a correspondent, however, until next season, according to Fager.
"It's like trying to replace Lou Gehrig. It's impossible. Ed was a superstar who died too young. He left us before anybody expected it. It was a shock to the broadcast. He was a huge figure here."
Kroft, 61, in his 18th season with 60, is now dean of the correspondents' corps. That means his face replaces Bradley's as the first up in the show's introduction. ("I'm Steve Kroft.")
It's a seniority thing. Closest full-timer to Kroft is Lesley Stahl, 65, who began in 1991. Fun fact: Stahl was the last full-time correspondent to join the newsmagazine.
Being lead-off hitter "is an honor," Kroft says. "It's not something I would have wanted to happen under these circumstances, though. Nobody expected Ed to die. It was not on anybody's radar, including people who knew he was sick. We wish he were still here."
Kroft, nicknamed "Kid" when he broke into the lineup in '89, "is as good as it gets," in Fager's unbiased view. "He's one of the best reporters and best writers who ever worked in broadcast journalism. If you look at the body of his work, he doesn't do clunkers. He only does good stories."
CNN golden boy Anderson Cooper, 39, in his first season as a 60 contributor, is high on Fager's wish list as a possible Bradley replacement. (Cooper will do four to five pieces for 60 this season.)
Odds are slim. Cooper's locked in at CNN for almost two more years.
Fager labels the silver-haired Cooper "a terrific talent. I can't say now he's the guy who will get the next full-time job, but he sure could. He's got so much to offer... . I would seriously consider him."
Consider, sure. But smart money says Fager will name a person of color to succeed Bradley, the first - and only - African American correspondent in the august broadcast's 39-year history.
"We definitely have our eye out for a minority correspondent," Fager says. "It's important that our correspondents represent a cross section of America. That's important in journalism, as in all walks of life."