Dateline NBC is going into the B&C Hall of Fame this fall. In its 27th season, the newsmag is NBC’s longest running primetime show. Lester Holt anchors, and the correspondents are Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy.
David Corvo is senior executive producer and Elizabeth Cole is executive producer.
The 29th annual B&C Hall of Fame ceremony, which is the marquee event of NYC Television Week, takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York. For more about the still-developing 2019 class, please visit the event site.
Programs previously inducted into the B&C Hall include 20/20, American Idol, Entertainment Tonight, Family Feud, Good Morning America, Today, 60 Minutes, Mad Men and Monday Night Football.
Airing Fridays at 10 p.m. ET, Dateline has amassed over 2,700 episodes across its history. When it premiered back in 1992, the show featured a “pretty traditional newsmag format,” according to Corvo, with multiple stories per hour. Over time, that evolved to typically one big story per show. Corvo said the audience made it clear they preferred the hour-long deep dives. “When a show is on the air as long as Dateline has, you’ve got to have that great relationship with your audience,” he said. “The audience was telling us something.”
The longer format allowed Dateline to showcase its anchor and correspondents’ standout storytelling skills. As viewers often tell the talent, when Dateline is on its game, they’re hooked in the first minute. “Great storytelling is what stands out,” said Cole.
Gritty true crime is Dateline’s go-to; Corvo cites something Dennis Murphy said about crime stories: It’s not about the murder, it’s about the marriage. But Dateline has gone beyond that. Holt interviewed President Obama ahead of his farewell address in January 2017. Kate Snow interviewed 27 Bill Cosby accusers in 2015. “That was a tremendous amount of work,” said Corvo of vetting each woman’s story.
As it has done in previous summers, the Friday night show (10 p.m. ET/PT) expands to Mondays and Fridays in June for the summer months. A Dateline podcast is in the works too.
Cole has been at Dateline “forever,” she quips. She arrived in 1993 and Corvo came on board in 2001.
In terms of their most memorable episodes in recent years, Cole mentions “Deadly Connection,” a Keith Morrison report from 2012 about a stalker in Denver and a 19-year-old victim. She cited the “incredible spirit of survival” displayed by Lydia Tillman. Corvo mentioned both “The Cosby Accusers Speak” from 2015 and “Bringing Down Bill Cosby: Andrea Constand Speaks” from 2018.
Asked about an unsung hero in the Dateline gang, both producers mention Susan Nalle, senior associate director, who is the final eyes on the show, and handles quality control and social media. “She’s been here since the very first day,” said Corvo. “She not only knows the [Dateline] superfans, she is a superfan.”