Primetime (TV series)

Primetime (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Primetime

format = Newsmagazine
runtime = 1 hour
creator = Roone Arledge
starring = Diane Sawyer
Chris Cuomo
Cynthia McFadden
John Quiñones
David Muir
country = USA
network = ABC
picture_format = 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV) [ ]
num_episodes = N/A
first_aired = August 3, 1989 (As "Primetime Live")
last_aired = present
imdb_id = 0096680
tv_com_id = 25131

:"For the Irish news show, see Prime Time.""Primetime" is a general-interest American news magazine show which debuted on ABC in 1989 with co-hosts Sam Donaldson and Diane Sawyer and originally had the title "Primetime Live". Originally, the program was aired live on the ABC network and featured a live studio audience. [] The first interviews included Roseanne Barr 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". 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 investigations began to occupy more of the schedule. [] One hidden camera investigation, of Food Lion, backfired on ABC when Food Lion sued. Food Lion did not claim that the report was incorrect, but rather that the report was produced under deceptive pretenses, with ABC employees hired by Food Lion wearing hidden cameras filming other Food Lion employees without following proper notification procedures. A jury awarded Food Lion $5.5 million, but later appeals by ABC to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals resulted in the damages reduced to $2.00. []

Cancellation and Re-Launched

In 1998, ABC, in an effort to consolidate all of their newsmagazines, canceled "Primetime Live" and combined it with ABC's other well-known newsmagazine, 20/20. The move was made to compete more effectively with NBC's "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. Beginning in the 2004–2005 season, the show was known once again as "Primetime Live", and announcements were made live in the Eastern Time Zone. Its pair of co-hosts from the previous season, Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, was replaced by the team of Sawyer, Chris Cuomo, Cynthia McFadden and John Quiñones. Beginning with the July 21, 2005, broadcast, the show's title has been "Primetime" [] .

While "Primetime" has never been a newsmagazine in the style of "60 Minutes", it has participated in the general trend of newsmagazines doing more tabloid programming. For example, it aired an interview with Corey Clark, an "American Idol" contestant who allegedly had a sexual affair with judge Paula Abdul. [] ABC has reduced "Primetime" to sporadic news specials beginning in the 2006 fall season. The show will most likely gain a regular time slot if a new drama gets canceled and is listed on as a midseason replacement.

Limited series

"Primetime" has drawn upon its unique innovation, creating limited-series programming with several in-depth analysis on provocative subjects. The broadcast also continues to produce breaking news specials, showcasing an unmatched skill in getting out ahead on any big story.

The 2006–07 season debuted with "Primetime: Basic Instincts", which brings some of most well known intellectual theories and psychological experiments to life and tests people's innate decision making processes. The first installment of the limited series included:

"Primetime: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?" the hidden camera series sets up everyday scenarios and then captures people's reactions. Whether they're compelled to act or mind their own business, "Primetime" reports on their split-second - and often surprising - decision-making process.

"Primetime: Medical Mysteries" reports on some of the rarest disorders and syndromes in medicine today. The series examines cases that still leave scientists and doctors with unanswered questions when trying to explain the human body.

"Primetime: The Outsiders" features reports on people who live by their own rules and in their own worlds - worlds that the average person may find unimaginable. The limited series takes viewers behind closed doors and into the lives of people outside the bounds of conventional society.

"Primetime: Family Secrets" goes behind closed doors and sees first-hand the secrets most families would never talk about.

"Primetime: Crime" investigates crime in a whole new way by going deep inside real and provocative cases. In some episodes these involve unsolved cases where, for various reasons, the criminal has not been brought to justice. In other episodes the viewer will watch incriminating video of a crime made by the criminal himself. "Primetime: Crime" will retrace the twists and turns of cases, providing new clues and forensic evidence that could potentially solve crimes.

David Sloan is executive producer of "Primetime". Robert Lange and Jessica Velmans are the senior producers.


*Diane Sawyer
*Chris Cuomo
*Cynthia McFadden
*John Quiñones
*David Muir
*Jay Schadler: contributes reports
*Mary Fulginiti: report on legal and investigative issues primarily for "Primetime"

International broadcasts

ABC News programming is shown daily on the 24 hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East. This includes ABC Primetime.

In Australia, the program airs at 2pm Saturdays (Extended Edition) and 1.30pm Thursdays on Sky News Australia.

External links

* [ "Primetime" Official Website]

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