Primetime (American TV program)
   HOME

TheInfoList



''Primetime'' is an American news magazine television program that debuted on
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
in 1989 with co-hosts
Sam Donaldson Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news anchor A news presenter – also known as a newsreader, newscaster (short for "news broadcaster"), anchorman or anchorwoman, news anchor or simply an a ...
and
Diane Sawyer Lila Diane Sawyer (; born December 22, 1945) is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including '' ABC World News Tonight'', '' Good Morning America'', '' 20/20'', and ''Primetime (U.S. TV ...

Diane Sawyer
and originally had the title ''Primetime Live''. The program's final episode aired May 18, 2012.


History


Early history

Originally, the program aired live on the ABC network and featured a live studio audience. The first interviews included
Roseanne Barr Roseanne Cherrie Barr (born November 3, 1952) is an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and presidential candidate. Barr began her career in stand-up comedy Stand-up comedy is a comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, ...
and a piece on a Middle East hostage crisis reported by Chris Wallace. Donaldson and Sawyer would allow audience members to comment on the program and ask questions of the guests, who were usually interviewed live via satellite or in studio, a practice that resulted in many technical difficulties and easy satirization on ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. Michaels currently serves as the program's showrunner. The show pr ...

Saturday Night Live
''. Internal conflicts between Sawyer and Donaldson later led them to be separated, and the audience eliminated. However, the program has always had some live elements when broadcast as ''Primetime Live'', generally consisting of Donaldson reading the opening remarks of packaged stories and the opening title as ''Primetime... LIVE!''. Over time, live interviews were de-emphasized and
hidden camera A hidden camera or spy camera is a still or video camera A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition (as opposed to a movie camera, which records images on filmstock, film), initially developed for the television ...
investigations began to occupy more of the schedule.


Cancellation and changes

In 1998, ABC, in an effort to consolidate all of their news magazines, canceled ''Primetime Live'' and combined it with ABC's other well-known news magazine, ''20/20 (American TV program), 20/20''. The move was made to compete more effectively with NBC's ''Dateline NBC, Dateline'', which ran multiple nights of the week. In 2000, however, ABC relaunched the program. It was renamed ''Primetime Thursday'' with Charles Gibson replacing Donaldson. In 2003, ABC aired a short-lived 2003 continuation of the newsmagazine ''20/20 (American TV program)#20.2F20 Downtown, 20/20 Downtown'' as ''Primetime Monday''. Beginning in the 2004–2005 season, the show was known once again as ''Primetime Live''. Its pair of co-hosts from the previous four seasons, Charles Gibson and
Diane Sawyer Lila Diane Sawyer (; born December 22, 1945) is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including '' ABC World News Tonight'', '' Good Morning America'', '' 20/20'', and ''Primetime (U.S. TV ...

Diane Sawyer
, was replaced by the rotating team of Sawyer, David Muir, Chris Cuomo, Cynthia McFadden and John Quiñones. The format shifted back to investigative reporting and a new executive producer was brought on board. On July 21, 2005, the show's title was changed to ''Primetime''. Beginning in the 2006–2007 television season, the news magazine adopted a subseries format, where multiple episodes would be focused on one topic such as crime and medical mysteries, with no set weekly timeslot. Sawyer departed the program around the time this change in format occurred, though she occasionally anchored special editions of ''Primetime''. David Muir joined as co-anchor in 2007. ''What Would You Do? (2008 TV program), What Would You Do?'' has become the most popular sub-series and can be regularly seen on ABC, often with a set timeslot. In 2011 ABC aired a special edition of ''Primetime'': an interview by
Diane Sawyer Lila Diane Sawyer (; born December 22, 1945) is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including '' ABC World News Tonight'', '' Good Morning America'', '' 20/20'', and ''Primetime (U.S. TV ...

Diane Sawyer
with Jaycee Dugard. In 2012, beginning with the sixth season, the ''Primetime'' branding was removed from the ''What Would You Do?'' show. It still airs sans branding and is anchored by Quiñones. The branding has not been used by any program or special since this time.


Food Lion scandal

One hidden camera investigation, of Southeast grocery chain Food Lion, backfired on ABC when Food Lion sued. Food Lion sued for trespass and breach of loyalty, claiming that the report was produced under deceptive pretenses, and ABC employees hired by Food Lion wearing hidden cameras filmed other Food Lion employees without following proper notification procedures. Food Lion did not sue for libel, as the one-year statute of limitations had already run by the time it received all the footage shot by ABC, and prior to receiving the footage, its attorneys believed it would be difficult to prove that ABC acted with actual malice. A jury awarded Food Lion $5.5 million, but later appeals by ABC to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals resulted in the damages reduced to $2.00. This scandal resulted in Food Lion closing stores in brand-new markets in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Delaware and Pennsylvania, cancelling expansion into states like Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, as well as bad publicity and a downturn in profit for the company.


Awards

2005 Pigasus Award by James Randi Educational Foundation for ABC's Primetime Live for its credulous "John of God" special, about Brazilian "psychic surgeon" John of God (Medium), João Teixeira


Formats

Formats of ''Primetime'' include: * ''Primetime Monday'': A short-lived 2003 continuation of the newsmagazine ''20/20 (American TV program)#20.2F20 Downtown, 20/20 Downtown''. * ''What Would You Do? (2008 TV program), Primetime: What Would You Do?'': Hidden camera program featuring artificial situations in public and social settings designed to gauge the reaction (or lack thereof) of regular citizens. * ''Primetime: Basic Instincts'': Followed the same format as ''What Would You Do?'', but in more of a controlled test setting. * ''Medical Mysteries, Primetime: Medical Mysteries'': Basic format reporting on cases of mysterious ailments. * ''Primetime: The Outsiders'': Human interest format involving subjects with odd habits or standards of living. * ''Primetime: Crime'': Branding for episodes revolving around a full criminal case, including arrest, trial and aftermath. * ''Primetime: Mind Games'': Investigative series revolving around psychology and other studies with heavy skepticism around them, such as magicians and televangelists. * ''Primetime: Family Secrets'': Summer series revolving around famous family conflicts, both celebrity and criminal. * ''Primetime: Would You Fall for That?'': Summer series with an emphasis on vulnerability and credulity from the public. * ''Primetime: Beyond Belief'': A 2011 special five-part series that delved into paranormal and unexplained phenomena.


Co-anchors and reporters

Co-Anchors: *
Sam Donaldson Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news anchor A news presenter – also known as a newsreader, newscaster (short for "news broadcaster"), anchorman or anchorwoman, news anchor or simply an a ...
(1989–1998) * Charles Gibson (2000–2004) *
Diane Sawyer Lila Diane Sawyer (; born December 22, 1945) is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including '' ABC World News Tonight'', '' Good Morning America'', '' 20/20'', and ''Primetime (U.S. TV ...

Diane Sawyer
(1989–1998, 2000–2006) * Chris Cuomo (2003, 2004–2010) * Cynthia McFadden (2003, 2004–2008) * David Muir (2007-2008) * John Quiñones (2003, 2004–2012): correspondent on "What Would You Do?" program * Elizabeth Vargas (2003, occasionally thereafter) * Jay Schadler (2003, occasionally thereafter) Reporters: * Jay Schadler: contributes reports * Mary Fulginiti: report on legal and investigative issues primarily for "Primetime" * Rondi Charleston (former) * Nick Watt: host of "Would You Fall For That?"


International broadcasts

ABC News programming is shown daily on the 24-hour news network OSN News in MENA Region. In Australia, the program airs at 2 p.m. Saturdays (Extended Edition) and 1:30 p.m. Thursdays on Sky News Australia. In Canada, Citytv had rights to the show but only aired it when a limited series was scheduled. ''What Would You Do? (2008 TV program), Primetime: What Would You Do?'' is currently on the air airing in Simultaneous substitution, simulcast with ABC.


Ratings

The program's highest rated episode was the June 14, 1995 episode which featured
Diane Sawyer Lila Diane Sawyer (; born December 22, 1945) is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including '' ABC World News Tonight'', '' Good Morning America'', '' 20/20'', and ''Primetime (U.S. TV ...

Diane Sawyer
interviews Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley and the world premiere of Jackson's music video for his latest single, "Scream (Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson song), Scream". The transmission garnered 60 million viewers. Sawyer's interview was controversial in the journalism industry for her use of pre-taped "persons on the street" to ask the couple questions. 1989–1990: #92, 9.1 million
1990–1991: #60, 9.8 million
1991–1992: #40, 12.4 million
1992–1993: #31, 12.7 million
1993–1994: #17, 14.2 million
1994–1995: #31, 11.7 million
1995–1996: #18, 12.3 million
1996–1997: #15, 11.9 million
1997–1998: #22, 14.2 million
2000–2001: #50, 11.1 million
2001–2002: #49, 10.3 million
2002–2003: #81, 8.5 million
2003–2004: #83, 8.0 million
2004–2005: #95, 7.0 million
2005–2006: #98, 7.1 million
2006–2007: #145, 6.1 million


References


External links


''Primetime'' Official Website
* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Primetime (Tv program) 1980s American television news shows 1989 American television series debuts 1990s American television news shows 2000s American television news shows 2010s American television news shows ABC News American Broadcasting Company original programming English-language television shows