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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.

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 relauched 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 Prime Time has never been a serious newsmagazine in the style of 60 Minutes, it has participated in the general trend of newsmagazines doing more tabloid programming. For example, it recently had an exclusive 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 this fall season. The show will most likely gain a regular time slot if a new drama gets cancelled and is listed on ABC.com as a midseason replacement.


Genres: Drama
Station: ABC (US)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: On Hiatus
Start: Aug/10/1989

Primetime Season 17 Air Dates


S17E07 - Season 17, Episode 1 Air Date: 04 July 2005 02:00 -

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S17E31 - Real Life Grinches; Belfiore Family Follow-Up; Travel Industry Losing Your Things Air Date: 23 December 2005 02:00 -

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S17E32 - On The Trail Of Pope Joan Air Date: 30 December 2005 02:00 -

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S17E33 - The Miners Tragedy Air Date: 06 January 2006 02:00 -

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S17E34 - Real 'Desperate Housewife'; Human Nature Air Date: 13 January 2006 02:00 -

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S17E35 - Confronting Her Molester Air Date: 20 January 2006 02:00 -

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S17E36 - January 26, 2006 Cruise Ship Cover Up? Air Date: 27 January 2006 02:00 -

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S17E37 - Ballroom Dancing, Sweeping the Globe! Air Date: 03 February 2006 02:00 -

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S17E38 - Sex Slavery in the U.S.; Payola in the Music Industry; Winners of Little Ballroom Dance Air Date: 10 February 2006 02:00 -

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S17E39 - Hollywood ‘Fixer’ Has Some Celebrities Worried Air Date: 17 February 2006 02:00 -

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S17E40 - Natalee's Gamble Air Date: 24 February 2006 02:00 -

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S17E41 - No Easy Escape From Polygamy Air Date: 03 March 2006 02:00 -

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S17E42 - Profit In Sale Of Body Parts? Air Date: 10 March 2006 02:00 -

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S17E43 - Lose Weight Or Wear The Bikini Air Date: 17 March 2006 02:00 -

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S17E44 - Taxicab Confessions: Racism On The Road? Air Date: 24 March 2006 02:00 -

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S17E45 - Confessing To Something They Didn't Do Air Date: 31 March 2006 02:00 -

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S17E46 - Amputation By Choice; Medical Mysteries; The Gospel According to Judas Air Date: 07 April 2006 02:00 -

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S17E47 - Tom Cruise Interview; Teen Overboard Air Date: 15 April 2006 02:00 -

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S17E48 - Step Families Stepping Up Air Date: 22 April 2006 02:00 -

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S17E49 - Mary Cheney; Ax Attack Victim, 30 Years Later; David Blaine In A Fishbowl Air Date: 05 May 2006 02:00 -

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S17E50 - May 11, 2006 Investigative T.V. Air Date: 12 May 2006 02:00 -

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