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ABC News Nightline

June 18, 2009


I don’t usually watch Nightline. I used to watch, if anything at all, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now that Jay is off, I was kind of wandering. The last few nights, Nightline has led with stories about the election in Iran and the subsequent protests. It has been interesting to watch. In spite of all the technology available to this important national news program, they have been airing clips from YouTube taken with mobile phones.

Nightline will celebrate its 30th anniversary next spring. Its real anniversary will be in November of this year. I was reminded of this as I watched their coverage of the Iranian protests. That is how the show started. On November 4, 1979, 52 Americans were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran. They would be held for 444 days. On November 8, just 4 days after the hostages were taken, ABC began airing “The Iran Crisis — America Held Hostage: Day xxx” where xxx represents each day the Iranians held hostage the occupants of the Embassy. It was originally hosted by Frank Reynolds. Shortly after the program began, Ted Koppel assumed the duties of anchor. When the hostage crisis ended, the news program was such a part of the ABC schedule, they renamed it Nightline and kept it. I can honestly say that I vaguely remember the “America Held Hostage” program. Did you watch Nightline before it was Nightline? What do you watch after the 10:00 news now?

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