09/10/2013 04:59 EDT | Updated 11/10/2013 05:12 EST

Rose's outlet on PBS gets CBS an interview it had almost given up on, with Syrian president

NEW YORK, N.Y. - CBS News says it had essentially given up its pursuit of Bashar Assad for an interview because the Syrian president would not agree to go on "60 Minutes."

But CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said Tuesday that a suggestion from "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Charlie Rose that the Assad interview air on Rose's eponymous show on PBS made it happen. Fager says Assad and his team had rejected requests for a "60 Minutes" interview about the country's civil war because of concerns about how it would be edited.

Fager says "it was great that we figured out a way around it."

PBS says an estimated 1.2 million people in the U.S. watched the interview Monday.