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Robert Ferrante, News-Driven Producer at CBS and NPR, Dies at 87

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Robert Ferrante

After 11 years at WGBH, Mr. Ferrante was hired by CBS News in 1982 to create and executive produce “Nightwatch,” which airs from 2am to 6am ET. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he told The Globe before “Nightwatch” began. It depends on where the is coming from,” he added.

It took him less than a year to direct the program before CBS News moved him to ‘CBS Morning News’ (now ‘CBS Morning’). reduced to 2 hours. It has since existed in other formats such as ‘Up to the Minute’ and ‘CBS Overnight News’.

Bill Curtis, who was co-hosting the CBS Morning News with Diane Sawyer at the time, said in an interview that Ferrante “brings us together and remembers saying we had a mission. It’s not about getting ratings first, it’s about doing a good job representing CBS News,” and then the ratings will come.

Ratings rose but then declined, forcing Ferrante to leave the show and take a job as a senior producer in the news division’s special events division. John Katz replaced him.

“No one had a successful mission there,” Curtis said. “Not mine, not his, not John Katz’s.”

Mr. Ferrante left CBS News in 1985 amid layoffs and soon became director of communications for the Democratic National Committee. However, he was dismissed before the 1988 Democratic National Convention after journalists complained about security arrangements, credentials, and workplaces.

A year later, when NPR hired him for “Morning Edition,” he returned to producing news and continued with the rest of his career.

In addition to his wife Pamela Post Ferrante and daughter, Mr. Ferrante leaves behind a stepdaughter, Whitney Otto. his son-in-law, Tyler Post; and eight grandchildren. His previous marriage to Anne Basti ended in divorce.

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