NEW YORK – 60 Minutes chief Don Hewitt expects to remain at CBS -- but he isn't ruling out going elsewhere if he's pushed out the door.
"I still intend to die at my desk. I never said where that desk was," Hewitt told CNN's Larry King Monday night.
"I would like it to be at CBS. I think it will be at CBS," Hewitt said. "If it's somewhere else, it will make me very unhappy, and I would like to believe it will make [CBS] very unhappy."
Hewitt, who turns 80 in 10 days, went on Larry King Live to address reports that CBS would like him to leave 60 Minutes -- the show he created 34 years ago -- and turn the reins over to 60 Minutes II executive producer Jeffrey Fager, who's 47.
"I think the problem is that they don't know that I'm not the ordinary, run-of-the-mill, everyday 80-year-old," Hewitt said. "I have a feeling, my radar tells me that if I come back here a year from now, I will still be the producer of 60 Minutes.
"I've already had two offers . . . And I'm not going to play Backgammon or even Scrabble," Hewitt said. "And if they don't want me, which is highly unlikely, somebody will.
"I can't believe that [CBS execs] Mel Karmazin and Les Moonves are going to run a network based on not how good you are, but how old you are," Hewitt said. "I know these guys, and they couldn't be that successful if the criterion was how old you are and not how good you are."
King then asked Hewitt what he thought of Fager.
"Good guy," Hewitt said. "Except I'm not ready to go. When I'm ready to go, [Fager would be a] perfectly good choice to take over.
"It's just that I'm not going to get off the stage . . . if CBS wants me off their stage, I'm going to go on somebody's stage."
Hewitt also poo-poohed reports that he can't hear in the screening room and that 60 Minutes is running way over budget and is too expensive to produce.
"That's absolutely untrue," he said about the hearing issue. "Absolutely untrue that we're out of hand budget-wise. We're in very good budget shape.
"They have nothing to complain about with us," he said. "And to make any changes now . . . doesn't make any sense."