NBC’s “Dateline” celebrates 20 years tonight

Dateline, NBC News’ longest-running primetime newsmagazine, debuted in 1992, and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with an hourlong special May 22 at 10pm ET/PT.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Dateline’s 20th Anniversary Special will highlight some of the most extraordinary stories and people in the show’s history, and, in addition to looking back at memorable moments, will feature a few follow-up stories:

Jane Pauley/Michael J. Fox
In 2003, Jane Pauley spoke with Michael J. Fox as part of her final Dateline broadcast. Nine years later, Pauley returns to Dateline for the first time to sit down with Fox once again. An excerpt from their latest interview, airing tonight:

PAULEY: But you call Parkinson’s a gift.

FOX: I always say, it’s the gift that keeps on taking. But, it woke me up to what was possible in life and whatever I lost, because I have Parkinson’s, I’ve gained so much. If you are honest about it, you’ll see the space that it takes up and you’ll see all the space left over. And you’ll see all the opportunity to do things.

Matt Lauer/Mistaken Identity
Matt Lauer told the families of this story of mistaken identity, “I don’t know how long I’ll do this job, but for as long as I do it, I think your families will be the most extraordinary families I’ve ever met.” In 2006, 18-year-old Whitney Cerak was one of nine people in a car accident that killed five students, including her classmate, Laura Van Ryn. Because the two young women were misidentified at the scene of the accident, Van Ryn’s family believed that they were caring for their daughter in a rehabilitation center, when in fact, they were caring for a comatose Whitney Cerak — who officials believed had been killed. More than five weeks passed before the misidentification was discovered. Tonight, six years after the accident, Lauer sits down with Whitney Cerak.

Tom Brokaw/Aron Ralston
In 2005, Tom Brokaw shared the incredible story of Aron Ralston’s survival after Ralston became trapped in a Utah canyon, forced to amputate his own arm. Many things have happened since that interview, perhaps most famously the Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours, based on Ralston’s experience. Ralston, now a father, is back to climbing, hiking and motivational speaking across the country. Tonight, seven years after they first sat down together, Tom Brokaw catches up with Ralston in Colorado.

Hoda Kotb/Carrie Underwood
At age 22, Carrie Underwood was the winner of American Idol. Almost seven years to the day later, she has become a multiplatinum, Grammy-winning artist. Hoda Kotb, who first sat down with Underwood after her Idol win, catches up with the singer all these years later in tonight’s special. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation:

UNDERWOOD: I’ve grown up a lot.

KOTB: You really have. How have you grown the most do you think?

UNDERWOOD: I think this would be a time in anybody’s life when so much change would happen no matter what they do, where they’re at. From graduating college to being 29 years old. I feel like I have more confidence in myself. And — you know, in the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know. I was like, “Sure, I’ll sing. Okay.”

Ann Curry/Septuplets
Ann Curry introduced the McCaughey septuplets to the world in 1997. The septuplets hold the title of most appearances in Dateline‘s history, with 13 broadcasts featuring the family. Their parents, Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey, have their house and their hands full with seven 14-year-olds. Ann sits down at home with the family and talks to the septuplets about life as teenagers. Bobby and Kenny also talk about their changing experiences as parents over the last 15 years. An excerpt:

CURRY: You’re going to be empty-nesters in a blink of an eye.

BOBBI MCCAUGHEY: It’s scary to think about all of them being out, choosing their career path, making those choices. When you have infants and somebody tells you, you know, “don’t blink, it’s gonna be over,” you think that they are out of their minds. You really do. But, it really is true.

Along with these special stories in tonight’s special, Dateline anchor Lester Holt will be joined by correspondents Chris “To Catch a Predator” Hansen, Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy for a look back at favorite moments from their work over the years. Michael Buble will also be on hand to wish Dateline a happy anniversary.

Dateline’s 20th Anniversary Special airs Tuesday, May 22, at 10p/9c on NBC.


Credit: Robin Oelkers/NBC


1 Comment

  1. They should blow up another GMC pickup truck to remind us the waste of an hour of TV they are.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. 20 Years of Dateline | Joe Chiodo – Multimedia Journalist

Comments are closed.