Dateline NBC’s 20th Anniversary Special Review
Last night, Dateline NBC celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a special that was less a special and more a regular episode. While it was nice to catch up with Michael J. Fox and Anne Curry’s favorite sextuplets, I was expecting more about the history of Dateline. I wanted NBC to show how Dateline has evolved from that from first show into what it is today. Instead, viewers saw four interviews catching us up on four different topics: Michael J. Fox and Parkinson’s, two families brought together by a bus accident and accidental mix-up of their daughters, the first sextuplets to be born and survive, and Carrie Underwood’s success since winning American Idol. It was not a bad episode, just typical. This was the type of special usually reserved for those odd anniversaries like the seventeenth where a big special seems inappropriate, but no one wants to let the anniversary pass without a mention.
There was also one major problem with the special: it only celebrated those who were still with NBC News. As much as I like Lester Holt, Jane Pauley, Matt Lauer, Hoda Kotb, Keith Morrison, and company, I believe that Stone Philips deserved more than a brief mention that was easy to miss if you blinked. Phillips was with Dateline from its inaugural season in 1992 until 2007, when NBC chose not to renew his contract. For years, he was the face of Dateline and late night comedians were constantly making jokes about his delivery. During his time at Dateline, Philips also had the chance to interview Bernhard Goetz and Jeffrey Dahmer as seen in the following clip from Dateline‘s 15th Anniversary special.
Nowadays, Dateline is better known for To Catch a Predator and other “gotchas” featuring Chris Hanson, which the 20th Anniversary Special actually spent more time on than Stone Phillips’ existance. While people love watching To Catch a Predator, aka nab a perv, because everyone hates pedophiles, it is not exactly the classiest programming or respectable journalism. Besides, Dateline does not even make To Catch a Predator episodes any more because a man shot himself during one of their stakeouts.
I hope that Dateline celebrates their 25th Anniversary properly because anniversary episodes are supposed to be about the show’s history or legacy, not everyone who ever decided to say hello to one of the anchors of Dateline.
Posted on May 23, 2012, in NBC, Network Television, News, Primetime and tagged 20th anniversary, anniversary, chris hanson, dateline, hoda kotb, jane pauley, journalism, keith morrison, lester holt, matt lauer, nbc, nbc dateline, nbc news, news, stone philips, stone phillips, television, to catch a predator, tv. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.