The phenomenon of reality television… we are amazed by its allure and longevity. As viewers, we cringe with embarrassment as people stumble through their lives in public… but we don’t look away. Why do so many tune in? And why do some reality shows thrive on their stars’ sometimes toxic behavior? The report airs on “20/20,” Friday, March 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Reports include:
“I realized there was really no alternative, if I wanted to live, I had to do this,” President Bill Clinton
“I would find myself busting into tears and sobbing uncontrollably,” David Letterman
“…Stop the heart, work on it, restart it… good luck,” Robin Williams
“They’re going to put him on a gurney, roll him into the OR room and bust him open like a lobster!,” Regis Philbin
“It was hell,” Charlie Rose
“I probably would have had a heart attack and may very well have died,” Barbara Walters
In his first interview since the tragic shootings at the Safeway in Tucson, Arizona, Capt. Mark Kelly sits down one-on-one with Diane Sawyer to offer an intimate portrait of a modern American love story, and to talk about a great national tragedy and finding the strength to heal. Their emotional conversation took place one week after the tragic shooting.
ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Co-Anchor Robin Roberts travels to Alaska for an interview with Sarah Palin to air on Friday, December 17 on “Good Morning America.” Roberts will spend a day-in-the-life with the former governor and mother of five at her home in Wasilla.
In a wide-ranging interview, Roberts will talk to Palin about her new book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,” plus all the major political news of the day, from taxes to health care and foreign policy.
A portion of the interview will also air on “Nightline” on Friday night (11:35 p.m., ET).
Ben Sherwood, an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and digital media entrepreneur, has been named as the new president of ABC News, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, to whom he will report. In this position, Mr. Sherwood will be responsible for all editorial, programming and digital aspects of our global news business encompassing all ABC News programs on the ABC Television Network, ABC News Radio, ABC News.com and ABC News NOW.
In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated, “Ben’s proven success in the news business, along with his entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and keen intellect, make him the ideal choice to lead ABC News into the future. His previous tenure at ABC led to the most successful seasons in GMA’s history, and his success as a bestselling author and digital entrepreneur demonstrate a unique skill set that is as valuable as it is diverse.”
Mr. Sherwood said, “It’s a great honor and privilege to be asked to lead this amazing news organization, and I am humbled by the opportunity. For more than 20 years, I’ve known firsthand of the passion, excellence and integrity of the people who work for ABC News. I am thrilled to be coming back home, and look forward to harnessing our innovation and creativity to build on our great history of success.”
Mr. Sherwood began to explore a career in journalism with student internships at KCET public television in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, and the CBS Evening News in New York. In 1984-1985, during a year off from college, he worked for The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; the Los Angeles Times Paris bureau and the United Nations Border Relief Operation in Aranyaprathet, Thailand.
He launched his career in earnest when he joined ABC News in 1989, serving as an investigative associate producer and producer for ABC News’ PrimeTime Live with hosts Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. During that time his investigative reports explored flaws in the secretive B-2 stealth bomber program, the dangers of unlicensed mental health practitioners, and the unheralded risks of an overprescribed heart medication.
“I’m literally just rotting… there’s nothing I can think of that’s good in my life right now,” Ashley, a 21-year-old who smokes as many as 100 hits of heroin a day, tells “20/20″ in a rare look at a largely unknown and growing problem for American families — heroin addiction. The number of addicts in America has nearly doubled since 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. ABC News Anchor Chris Cuomo reports that heroin addiction is not to be dismissed as an inner-city scourge — kids from suburban families are falling victim like never before. Chris Cuomo’s report airs on”20/20,” Friday, October 29 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The popular ABC News series “Primetime: What Would You Do?” returns with a full season order of all new scenarios, beginning Friday, October 29 at 9:00 pm ET. The show, which was called “a Candid Camera of Ethics” by The Columbia Journalism Review, ranked No. 1 in its 9:00 pm time period among the broadcast networks in Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 during its run this summer. The show more than doubled the performance of ABC in time period, increasing by 110% in Total Viewers and by 133% in Adults 18-49 from the Net’s performance in the hour in the comparable weeks last summer.
It’s a story so unbelievable, it has everyone wondering what really happened. The documentary film “Catfish” bills itself as “a reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times… a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.” But the media and moviegoers alike have questioned the validity and truthfulness of this Sundance Film Festival favorite. The film follows Nev Schulman, a 24-year-old New York City photographer who becomes entangled in an internet relationship with a Michigan family that includes an eight-year-old art prodigy, her beautiful older sister, Megan, and her mother, Angela. Nev’s filmmaker brother, Ariel, and friend Henry Joost document the budding virtual love affair between Nev and Megan and embark on a road trip to discover the shocking truth about the family.
What happens to a family when a child’s birth becomes a medical mystery? Barbara Walters reports on Kaylee Halko and Lindsay Ratcliffe, two vibrant young girls who suffer from a rapid aging disease called progeria, a fatal condition that currently affects 68 known children in the world. The disease causes children to age at 10 times the normal rate. It’s extremely rare – occurring in only one in four to eight million births – and always fatal. On average, children die at the age of 13.
Walters also interviews one of the oldest surviving children with progeria and explores the secrets of aging that her body may reveal.
ABC News launches a new primetime series, “Nightlineprime,” with four installments of “Secrets of Your Mind — Why We Do What We Do.” This marks “Nightline’s” first foray into primetime series. “Secrets of Your Mind” premieres THURSDAY, AUGUST 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) and continues for three successive Thursdays, concluding September 9.
In this series, “Nightline” anchors and producers explore the mystery and the science of the brain through a range of extraordinary case studies. The series also features the work of world renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, of West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, and his patients. Each installment of “Secrets of Your Mind” will focus on a different research area, including love’s impact on the brain, medical emergencies involving the brain, violence and the brain, and food and the brain.