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Dateline NBC
Dateline NBC.png
Format Newsmagazine
Presented by Ann Curry (2005-present)
Country of origin United States
Production
Running time 60 minutes to 2 hours (including commercials)
Production company(s) Peacock Productions,
a unit of NBC News
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV) 1080i (HDTV)
Original run March 31, 1992 – Present
External links
Official website

Dateline NBC, or Dateline, is a U.S. weekly television newsmagazine broadcast by NBC. It is similar in format to other television newsmagazines ABC's 20/20 and CBS's 60 Minutes.

Contents

History

Dateline is historically notable for its longevity on the network. Prior to Dateline, NBC had failed with twenty different TV news magazine programs. The show, which has aired since 1992, is currently anchored by Ann Curry and occasionally by Hoda Kotb. Curry first co-anchored on June 24, 2005. Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley previously co-anchored. Tom Brokaw, Matt Lauer, and Brian Williams are among the NBC News correspondents who occasionally file stories for the program. 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. The program first originated from NBC Studio 3K, using the same set the NBC Nightly News was using at the time. When The Today Show moved to its current sidewalk studio, Dateline took over Studio 3B with a brand-new set. Dateline was broadcast in High Definition for the first time on Monday, July 21, 2008, with an episode titled "Tower Dogs." The program airs on Saturdays 8-9 PM, Fridays 9 - 10 PM and after football season Sundays 7-8 PM. 2-hour feature-length editions sometimes air on any given scheduled evening. The fall 2009 season began airing on Saturday, September 26, 2009.[1]

Comparison with other news magazines

Much like other newsmagazines, Dateline programming includes investigative journalism, true crime, and human interest stories. Common segments feature Dateline: Survivor, where a person talks about their near death experience and rescue; Dateline Timeline, where a popular product, person, and music single are played and viewers are invited to guess what year it appeared in; State of the Art, explaining how something was technically accomplished in a movie; Consumer Alert, where common consumer complaints or issues, such as food safety, are investigated, and Newsmakers, light interviews of major figures in politics, entertainment, and business, as well as regular people in the news. The Saturday night edition of Dateline features special emphasis on true crime stories programming, which has been named Dateline Saturday Night and includes the "To Catch a Predator" series. NBC News specials also air under the Dateline banner.

Controversies

General Motors v. NBC

Dateline NBC aired an investigative report on Tuesday, November 17th, 1992, titled “Waiting to Explode.” The 60 minute program was about General Motors pickup trucks allegedly exploding upon impact during accidents due to the poor design of fuel tanks. Dateline's film showed a sample of a low speed accident with the fuel tank exploding. In reality, Dateline NBC producers had rigged the truck’s fuel tank with remotely controlled explosives. The program did not disclose the fact that the accident was staged. GM investigators studied the film, and discovered that smoke actually came out of the fuel tank 6 frames before impact. GM subsequently filed an anti-defamation/libel lawsuit against NBC after conducting an extensive investigation. On Monday, February 8, 1993 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 after announcing the lawsuit. [2] The lawsuit was settled the same week by NBC, and Jane Pauley read a 3 minute 30 second on-air apology to viewers.

The law suit and subsequent settlement was arguably the most devastating blow for NBC in a series of reputation damaging incidents during the 1990s and early 2000s. Within NBC, Michael Gartner, who resigned shortly after the incident, was the source for much of the blame. Then-NBC News President Reuven Frank stated Gartner was hired in 1988, despite no TV news background, in an attempt to satisfy parent-company General Electric by replacing current journalists with cheaper, less experienced reporters and producers. [3]

The following Dateline NBC producers were dismissed: Jeff Diamond, executive producer; David Rummel, senior producer; and Robert Read, producer of the report on the pickups. Michele Gillen, the reporter involved in the segment, was transferred to Miami station WTVJ. Michael G. Gartner, president of the news division, resigned under pressure.

Trapping story targets

Dateline NBC soon returned to the controversy spotlight via a May 4, 1993 piece titled "Cataract Cowboys" in which Brian Ross claimed that doctors unnecessarily performed surgery on elderly patients. The controversy brought into question techniques used such as disregarding evidence that contradicts a story's claim and using planted accomplices to entrap targets of the story. The Southeastern Eye Center attempted to sue NBC over the story, but later dropped the suit.

Quixtar

In 2004, Dateline NBC aired a report, alleging that some high-level Quixtar Independent Business Operators (IBOs) make most of their money from selling motivational materials, rather than Quixtar products, and make unrealistic claims about potential income. Much of this report was based on information obtained from a competing MLM owner's website.[4] Quixtar provided written statements to Dateline, but declined to respond on camera, believing that their position would be distorted. Instead the company published an official Quixtar Response website.[5]

St. Louis Helicopter Hijack Attempt

On August 11, 2004, two Dateline NBC employees posing as terrorists entered St. Louis Downtown Airport and attempted to gain access to a helicopter and pilot. They attempted to pay for a flight using cash and presented out-of-state driver licenses. The airport personnel suspected foul play and contacted the FBI and local authorities, who responded to the scene and detained the NBC crew. Searches of the NBC crew's rental car revealed an assortment of hijacking tools including box-cutters of the type used in the September 11, 2001 attacks and audio tapes of conversations with the airport employees. After being taken into custody, the NBC crew revealed their identities and told investigators that Dateline NBC was planning a story highlighting failures in general aviation airport security and the threat posed by private aircraft as a vector for terrorist attack. The NBC crew were subsequently released with no charges filed against them. Dateline NBC cancelled the story and it was never aired. [6] [7]

To Catch a Predator

The "To Catch a Predator" Dateline series hosted by Chris Hansen has been accused of making news rather than reporting news, blurring the line between being a news organization vs. an agency of law enforcement[8], and having its host impersonating a police officer [9].

The sting operation begins with recordings of internet chats with "decoys" from Perverted-Justice, posing as teenagers under the age of consent. "To Catch a Predator" videotapes men who attempt to meet the "children" in person. As soon as the target is inside the "sting" house, Hansen confronts them and asks them about the internet chats they had with the decoy. After being confronted by Hansen, the men are arrested by local police. [10].

DEFCON

During the 15th DEFCON hacker conference, Dateline producer Michelle Madigan failed to register as a reporter and used a hidden camera to covertly film attendees, apparently intending to catch hackers admitting to crimes[11]. On four[11] occasions, DEFCON staff asked her if she wanted to obtain press credentials, but she declined. On August 3, 2007, DEFCON founder Jeff Moss publicly outed Madigan during the "Spot the Reporter" contest, and Madigan ran from the room with several attendees trailing her, taking pictures and video [12]. A DEFCON source at NBC had tipped off organizers to Madigan's plans.[13]

Dateline NBC Staff

ANCHORS

CONTRIBUTING ANCHORS

CORRESPONDENTS

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

  • David Corvo

UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATORS/REPORTERS

  • Michelle Madigan

FORMER CO-ANCHORS

FORMER CONTRIBUTING ANCHORS

DIRECTOR

  • Guy Pepper

International broadcasts

NBC affiliates are widely available in Canada, and MSNBC and NBC News programming is shown for several hours a day on the 24 hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East. This includes Dateline NBC and several other shows. It is also broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia on Sundays at 5am but is pre-empted by paid programming on regional affiliates Prime Television and Golden West Network.

Reruns

Repackaged episodes of Dateline air under the name Dateline on ID on Investigation Discovery.

External links

References








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