Dateline NBC, or simply Dateline, is a weekly American television newsmagazine/reality legal show that is broadcast on NBC. It was previously the network's flagship news magazine, but now focuses mainly on true crime stories with only occasional editions that focus on other topics. The program airs Fridays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time (9:00 p.m. Eastern for special two-hour editions) and on most Sundays, outside National Football League season, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, special Saturday editions also occasionally air during the fall and winter months. Two-hour feature-length editions sometimes air on any given scheduled evening, often to fill vacancies in the primetime schedule on the program's respective nights due to program cancellations.
|Also known as||Dateline|
|Presented by||Lester Holt|
(for past anchors, see section)
|Composer(s)||Michael Karp (1992–2006)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||28|
|Executive producer(s)||David Corvo|
|Running time||1 to 2 hours (including commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Peacock Productions|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution (cable and broadcast syndication)|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||March 31, 1992 –|
|Related shows||NBC Nightly News|
Dateline is historically notable for its longevity on the network. The program debuted on March 31, 1992, initially airing only on Tuesdays, with Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley serving as its co-anchors. Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric joined the program when the previously separate newsmagazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric was converted into Dateline Wednesday. Gradually, the program expanded with the addition of a third night (on Friday) in 1994 and a fourth night (on Monday) in 1997, peaking at five nights of airings each week (eventually adding a Sunday edition) in mid 1999 and 2000. The number of nights that the program aired on began to be reduced with the rise of equally-economic and popular reality television programming and the result of viewer exhaustion with the multiple-night format. Editions first began to be removed in the spring of 2001, with the main Tuesday slot being eliminated in 2004.
Dateline was the first "multi-night" franchise that "established brand power by 'stripping' editions," a strategy by NBC's entertainment division to place the program in the same time slot every week. It was considered to be a singular program rather than multiple weekly programs, and included many teasers and multiple installment interviews (NBC later tried a similar strategy of "stripping" with The Jay Leno Show in 2009). In its prime, from 1995 to 1999, Dateline provided significant breaking news coverage. The program featured sensationalized news stories and drew in viewers with stories aired in multiple installments. By 1999, any one individual Dateline edition placed in Nielsen's top 10 most-watched television programs among total viewers during most weeks. NBC capitalized on its relationship with CNBC and MSNBC by airing repackaged stories seen on past Dateline broadcasts on the retrospective series Headliners and Legends and Time and Again.
The program first originated from NBC Studio 3K, using the same set that was used at the time for NBC Nightly News. When Today moved to its current facility, NBC Studio 1A, in 1994, Dateline took over Studio 3B and received its own brand-new dedicated set.
Past contributing anchors were Bryant Gumbel, who left NBC in 1997, Maria Shriver, who left NBC in 2004, and Katie Couric, who left NBC in 2006. On June 24, 2005, Ann Curry co-anchored "Dateline" for the first time and became permanent host shortly thereafter.
Dateline began broadcasting in high definition for the first time on July 21, 2008, with an episode titled "Tower Dogs". Dateline previously shared the multi-level Studio 1A with Today. However, in 2013, the program moved back to Studio 3K, where the early-morning news programs Early Today and MSNBC's First Look are also broadcast. Lester Holt replaced Ann Curry as host of Dateline with the start of the 20th season on September 23, 2011, shortly after Curry became permanent co-host of Today.
The news magazine will be back for season 29 as the show was renewed recently.
On November 17, 1992, Dateline NBC aired an hour-long investigative report titled "Waiting to Explode," which focused on allegations that General Motors' Rounded-Line Chevrolet C/K-Series pickup trucks exploded upon impact when involved in collisions due to the poor design of the vehicle model's fuel tanks. Dateline's footage showed a sample of a low-speed accident in which the fuel tank exploded; the explosion during the crash test would later be discovered to have been staged by an expert witness for hire against GM, Bruce Enz of The Institute for Safety Analysis. Enz used incendiary devices and a poorly fitted gas cap to create the impression of a dangerous vehicle. The program did not disclose the fact that the accident was staged.
GM hired investigators from Failure Analysis Associates (FaAA, now Exponent) to study the footage; FaAA investigators discovered while reviewing the video that smoke had actually started to expel from the fuel tank six frames before the actual impact occurred. Acting on a tip from someone involved with the Dateline crash test, investigators with FaAA searched through 22 junkyards in Indiana before finding the charred wreckage of the GM pickups.
It was also later revealed that the Dateline report had been dishonest about the fuel tanks rupturing and the alleged 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) speed at which the collision was conducted. The actual speed was found to be higher than stated, around 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), and after x-ray examination of the fuel tanks from the C/K pickups used in the televised collision, it was found that they had not ruptured and were intact. GM subsequently filed an anti-defamation/libel lawsuit against NBC after conducting an extensive investigation. On February 8, 1993, after announcing the lawsuit, GM conducted a highly publicized point-by-point rebuttal in the Product Exhibit Hall of the General Motors Building in Detroit that lasted nearly two hours.
The General Motors lawsuit and the subsequent settlement were arguably the most devastating blows for NBC in a series of reputation damaging incidents during the 1990s and early 2000s. Within NBC, Michael Gartner, who resigned under pressure shortly after the incident, was the source for much of the blame. NBC News President Reuven Frank stated Gartner was hired in 1988, despite having no background in television news, in an attempt to satisfy parent company General Electric, by replacing current journalists with cheaper, less experienced reporters and producers.
In addition to the resignation of the news division's president Gartner, three Dateline NBC producers were dismissed as a result of the incident and the findings of the resulting investigation: executive producer Jeff Diamond, senior producer David Rummel, and Robert Read, producer of the report on the pickups. Michele Gillen, the correspondent involved in the segment, was transferred to NBC's Miami owned-and-operated station WTVJ, where she became an anchor of the station's evening newscasts.
In August 2007, Dateline reporter Michelle Madigan attempted to secretly record hackers admitting to crimes at that year's DEF CON in Las Vegas, Nevada. After being outed by DEF CON founder Jeff Moss during an assembly, she was heckled and chased out of the conference by attendees for her use of covert audio and video recording equipment. DEF CON staff tried to get Madigan to obtain a press pass before the outing happened. A DEF CON source at NBC had tipped off organizers to Madigan's plans.
To Catch a Predator was a special series of reports, hosted by Chris Hansen, featuring hidden camera sting operations that bust potential sex offenders who meet children over the internet with the intent of luring them to meet in person and engaging in illegal sexual activity. The stings are conducted in partnership with Perverted-Justice, and begin with recordings of Internet chats with "decoys" employed with the organization, posing as minors generally between the ages of 12 and 15.
During the filming of each episode, men who attempt to meet the minor in person are videotaped as they enter inside the "sting" house. Shortly after the target is inside, often after talking to a Perverted-Justice decoy (who either briefly meets with the men or converses with them from another room), Hansen would confront each suspect and ask them about their online conversations (which were transcribed and printed) with the decoy. After the confrontation, the men are taken into custody by local police. Some men were arrested even if they never entered the home in question. The feature was discontinued in 2013, after Hansen departed from Dateline and NBC News after his contract was not renewed by the news division.
To Catch a Con Man was a series of hidden camera investigations devoted to the subject of identifying and detaining con men who attempt to extract money from victims in advance fee fraud scams, although some editions also focused on exposing and catching identity thieves. The stories, which were also reported by Chris Hansen (who called the identity thieves that the series investigates "a different kind of predator"), are conducted as an undercover sting operation in partnership with cardcops.com, a credit card watchdog group which investigates identity thefts and aims to catch the suspects in the act.
In contrast to NBC's now-cancelled "hard news" magazine program, Rock Center with Brian Williams, Dateline focuses on true crime and human interest stories, predominantly featuring a single story for the entire program. Keith Morrison often serves as narrator for certain editions, usually reporting on real-life murder mysteries chronicled in many editions, and cliffhangers are used prior to commercial breaks. Famous con man Steve Comisar appeared regularly on Dateline as a fraud prevention expert.
The Friday night edition of Dateline features special emphasis on true crime stories, which previously included the "To Catch a Predator" series. Most NBC News specials, either in the form of special interviews or extended special reports on pertinent breaking news stories that occurred earlier in the day, are also broadcast under the Dateline banner. However, on occasion, the Sunday broadcasts (airing in a time slot otherwise reserved for family-friendly programming, aside from CBS' competitor 60 Minutes) focuses on stories tailored for younger viewers, such as recent Sunday reports on teen drivers and child safety; on other weeks, the Sunday editions feature either true crime stories, stories recounting situations in which people have survived life-threatening situations, consumer reports or interviews.
Dateline features a single story format, although in the past the program maintained a traditional newsmagazine format with multiple segments of varying length, such as with the Sunday version, which in particular still occasionally features multiple story packages that are tied to a specific theme. Unlike the other flagship newsmagazines on U.S. television (CBS' 60 Minutes and ABC's 20/20), Dateline featured more character-driven stories focusing on the audience's emotional attachment to the persons featured, and fewer non-character driven international and national news stories. However, the success of Dateline led to the other networks to create additional versions of their newsmagazines, 60 Minutes II and additional nights of 20/20 (which were often not as successful).
Executive producer Neal Shapiro pioneered several "signature segments" that appeared regularly on the program. These included Dateline: Survivor, in which a person recounts a near-death experience and their eventual rescue; Dateline Timeline, in which a popular product, person and music single are shown/played that viewers are invited to guess what year it was from; State of the Art, explaining how a special effect or stunt in a movie was technically accomplished; Consumer Alert, in which common consumer complaints or issues (such as food safety and products of suspect quality that may be dangerous) are investigated, Dateline Hidden Camera Investigation, a story using hidden cameras to focus on an issue of public concern; and Newsmakers, light interviews with major figures in politics, entertainment, and business, as well as regular people in the news. The program also included cross-promotional segments with Court TV and magazines People, Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports. In the 1990s, a common week would feature several "signature segments," breaking news, updates on past stories shown on the program, multi-part investigations, and interviews. Dateline also pioneered the use of viewer feedback including telephone polling and a unique format, the "Interactive Dateline Mystery," where viewers voted (similar to Choose Your Own Adventure) on where the story should go next.
Repackaged hour-long true crime episodes of Dateline air on various cable and satellite channels such as Investigation Discovery, E!, USA Network (E! and USA are owned by NBC parent company NBCUniversal) and OWN, usually with the network names suffixing the generic branding of Dateline on…. Several other brandings exist, with Dateline: Secrets Uncovered as a part of Oxygen, Dateline: Real Life Mysteries on TLC (along with Dateline on TLC), and Dateline Extra the branding for repackaged episodes on MSNBC. All episodes are repackaged by NBC News under its non-fiction Peacock Productions banner.
In September 2017, Dateline began airing archived true crime-focused episodes in daily broadcast syndication; the NBC branding is completely removed. These episodes also air as part of MyNetworkTV's Wednesday night lineup.
NOTE: Data from 2007 to present includes Live+ Ratings.
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Dateline is broadcast in Canada, mainly through NBC affiliates from U.S. border cities (such as KING-TV in Seattle, WDIV-TV in Detroit and WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York) that are widely available in that country; the program is not shared with a domestic Canadian network. Dateline NBC is also seen on the 24-hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East, which broadcasts MSNBC and other NBC News programs for several hours a day. It is also broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia on Sundays at 5 a.m., although is pre-empted by paid programming on regional affiliates Prime Television and Golden West Network.
The 1998-99 network television schedule for the six major English-language commercial broadcast networks in the United States covers prime time hours from September 1998 to August 1999. All times are Eastern and Pacific, with certain exceptions, such as Monday Night Football.
New series highlighted in bold.
Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, is not included; member stations have local flexibility over most of their schedules and broadcast times for network shows may vary.Andrea Canning
Andrea Mead Canning (born December 10, 1972) is a Canadian-American journalist. She is currently working for NBC News. She was named a "Dateline NBC" correspondent in October 2012 and also contributes to other NBC News platforms such as "Today," "NBC Nightly News" and MSNBC.She also is a fill-in anchor and news anchor on Today and Weekend Today.Ann Curry
Ann Curry (born November 19, 1956) is an American journalist and photojournalist who has been a reporter for more than 30 years, focused on human suffering in war zones and natural disasters. Curry has reported from the wars in Syria, Darfur, Congo, the Central African Republic, Kosovo, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq. Curry has covered numerous disasters, including the tsunamis in Southeast Asia and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where her appeal via Twitter topped Twitter's 'most powerful' list, credited for helping speed the arrival of humanitarian planes.In June 2012, she became the national and international correspondent-anchor for NBC News and the anchor at large for the Today show. She was co-anchor of Today from June 9, 2011, to June 28, 2012, and the program's news anchor from March 1997 until becoming co-anchor. She was also the anchor of Dateline NBC from 2005 to 2011.On January 13, 2015, it was announced that Curry would be leaving NBC News after nearly 25 years. In January 2015, Curry founded her own multi-platform media startup. She continues to conduct major news interviews on network television, most recently securing an exclusive interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about the Iran nuclear talks.Chris Hansen
Christopher Edward Hansen (born September 13, 1959) is an American television journalist. He is known for his work on Dateline NBC, in particular the former segment To Catch a Predator, which revolved around catching potential Internet sex predators using a sting operation. He also hosts Killer Instinct on Investigation Discovery, which documents homicide investigations. In September 2016, he became the new host of the syndicated show Crime Watch Daily.Dennis Murphy (journalist)
Dennis Murphy (born 1946 or 1947) is an American television journalist and winner of four national Emmys for excellence in news reporting, known for regular contributions to NBC News, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, The Today Show and NBC News at Sunrise.Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb ( HOH-də KOT-bee; Arabic: هدى قطب Hudā Quṭb Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈhodæ ˈʔotˤb], born August 9, 1964) is an American broadcast journalist, television personality, and author. She is of Egyptian descent and is a main co-anchor of the NBC News morning show Today, and co-host of its entertainment-focused fourth hour. Kotb formerly served as a correspondent for the television news magazine program Dateline NBC.Jamie Gangel
Jamie Sue Gangel (born 1955) is an American television news reporter based in the United States. Since August 2015, she has been a CNN Special Correspondent. She became a national correspondent for the NBC News' Today Show in February 1992. Since joining NBC News in 1983 as a general assignment and political correspondent based in Washington, DC, Gangel had been a frequent contributor to NBC Nightly News, Today, Dateline NBC and MSNBC.Jane Pauley
Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950), known as Jane Pauley, is an American television journalist and author, active in news reporting since 1972. She is the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning. Pauley previously held a 13-year position on NBC's Today program, followed by 12 years as co-host of Dateline NBC. She has publicly acknowledged her struggle with bipolar disorder.Josh Mankiewicz
Joshua Paul Mankiewicz (born August 27, 1955) is an American journalist, who has been reporting for Dateline NBC since 1995. He has also reported for The Today Show and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Before moving to NBC, Mankiewicz worked as a producer and reporter for ABC News.
Although he has covered a wide variety of stories, he may be best known for his Dateline NBC report on the Atkins Diet. In the piece, he showed his personal progress on the diet, losing upwards of 47 pounds (21 kilograms). In 2006, in addition to his work as a correspondent, he was featured in "The Mank Blog," an irreverent look at what people are talking about online.Keith Morrison
Keith Morrison (born July 2, 1947) is a Canadian broadcast journalist. Since 1995, he has been a correspondent for Dateline NBC.Lester Holt
Lester Don Holt Jr. (born March 8, 1959) is an American journalist and news anchor for the weekday edition of NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC. On June 18, 2015, Holt was made the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News following the demotion of Brian Williams, making him the first African-American to solo anchor a weekday network nightly newscast.Holt is also known for his moderation of the first Presidential debate of 2016, and was praised for his role in fact-checking false statements made by both candidates. President Donald Trump later expressed his approval of Holt's moderation during the debate, noting that he "thought it was very fair".Lords of Chaos (criminal group)
The Lords of Chaos was a self-styled teen militia formed on April 13, 1996, in Fort Myers, Florida, United States. It was led by Kevin Donald Foster (born Kevin Donald Bates; June 16, 1977). The group gained notoriety for a crime spree that ended with the April 30, 1996 murder of one of the boys' teachers, Mark Schwebes, who served as Riverdale High School's band director.
The Lords of Chaos predate the more notorious Columbine High School massacre in Colorado by three years. The case has been documented, most extensively in Jim Greenhill's true crime book about the case, Someone Has to Die Tonight. It is also the subject of a Dateline NBC special, When A Killer Calls, as well as being mentioned in Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind, the book even borrowing the group's name.Meredith Vieira
Meredith Louise Vieira (born December 30, 1953) is an American journalist and television personality, who was the original moderator of the ABC talk show The View (1997–2006), and co-hosted the NBC News morning news program, Today (2006–2011).
Vieira was the original host of the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. She has been a contributor to Dateline NBC and Rock Center with Brian Williams, and was the presenter on Lifetime Television's Intimate Portrait series. She hosted a syndicated talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show, from 2014 to 2016. She is a special correspondent for NBC News and a contributor to Today, the NBC Nightly News, and Dateline NBC.NAACP Image Award for Outstanding News, Talk or Information – Series
These are the NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding News, Talk or Information - Series, a category that was introduced in 1992 and brought back in 1996 and was reestablished in 1998 until 2003.Neal Shapiro
Neal B. Shapiro (born March 9, 1958) is the President and CEO of WNET. He worked previously as the President of NBC News and the executive producer for Dateline NBC. Prior to this Shapiro spent 13 years as a news producer at ABC News.Stone Phillips
Stone Stockton Phillips (born December 2, 1954) is an American television reporter and correspondent. He is best known as the former co-anchor of Dateline NBC, a newsmagazine TV show. He also has worked as a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News and Today and as a substitute moderator on Meet the Press. Prior to his tenure at NBC, he was an ABC News correspondent for 20/20 and World News Tonight. He is known for his clear delivery and gravitas which was satirized by Phillips himself in appearances on The Colbert Report. Phillips was among Colbert's many guests for the sing-along at the end of the series' finale episode.To Catch a Predator
To Catch a Predator is an American reality television series featuring hidden camera investigations by the television news magazine program Dateline NBC hosted by Chris Hansen. It was devoted to impersonating underage persons (generally ages 12–15) and detaining male adults who contacted them over the Internet for sexual liaisons. People were lured to meet with a decoy under the pretense of sexual contact, then confronted and interviewed by Hansen, and finally arrested by local police.
The series premiered in November 2004, and featured 12 investigations in total held across the United States. The investigations were conducted as undercover sting operations with the help of online watchdog group Perverted-Justice. Since the third installment, law enforcement and other officials were also involved, leading to the arrests of most individuals caught. No new episodes have aired since December 2015.
NBC affiliates WTMJ in Milwaukee, KSHB in Kansas City and WBRE in Wilkes-Barre have also done local versions of To Catch a Predator. Various spin-offs have aired in the same format, including To Catch a Con Man, To Catch an ID Thief, To Catch a Car Thief and To Catch an i-Jacker, which featured iPod thieves. To Catch a Predator is also aired on FX and Crime & Investigation Network in the United Kingdom, the Crime & Investigation Network in Australia and New Zealand and FOX Crime in Portugal.Top-rated United States television programs of 1998–99
This table displays the top-rated primetime television series of the 1998-99 season as measured by Nielsen Media Research.Wrong Planet
Wrong Planet (sometimes referred to by its URL, wrongplanet.net) is an online community for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The site was started in 2004 by Dan Grover and Alex Plank and includes a chatroom, a forum, and articles describing how to deal with daily issues. Wrong Planet has been referenced by the mainstream U.S. media. Wrong Planet comes up in the special education curriculum of many universities in the United States. A page is dedicated to Wrong Planet and its founder in Exceptional Learners: Introduction to Special Education.In 2006, Alex Plank was sued by the victims of a 19-year-old member of the site, William Freund, who shot two people and himself in Aliso Viejo, California after openly telling others on the site that he planned to do so.In 2007, a man who was accused of murdering his dermatologist posted on the site while eluding the police. Wrong Planet was covered in a Dateline NBC report on the incident.In 2008, Wrong Planet began getting involved in autism self-advocacy with the goal of furthering the rights of autistic individuals living in the United States. Alex Plank, representing the site, testified at the Health and Human Services's Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.In 2010, Wrong Planet created a television show about autism called "Autism Talk TV". Sponsors of this web series include Autism Speaks. The show is hosted by Alex Plank and Jack Robison, the son of author John Elder Robison. Neurodiversity advocates have accused Plank of betraying Wrong Planet's goal for autism acceptance by accepting money from Autism Speaks for this web series.