NBC News threw a party last night, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its primetime newsmagazine “Dateline.”
While the mood was celebratory, it was hard to escape the elephant in the room. In an address to guests at the event, senior EP David Corvo paid tribute to a number of former “Dateline” staffers, including former anchor Ann Curry who bid farewell to the “Today” show earlier in the day.
“Ann had her own sweet, persistent way of coming into my office, day after day, trying to push us to do certain types of stories that we weren’t doing,” Corvo said. “Her legacy probably on the show more than anything else is ‘America Now,’ which has gotten a lot of awards, was fun to produce and made a difference in some people’s lives, which is what Ann is dedicated to.”
Dateline EP Liz Cole likened the party to a “family reunion,” and it did feel that way. TVNewser spotted Hoda Kotb (who at one point danced in the DJ booth), correspondents Chris Hansen, and Keith Morrison, original anchor Jane Pauley (but not Stone Phillips) and former “Dateline” correspondent and current Fox News anchor Jon Scott. The event, held at Catch in New York’s Meatpacking District, was the second 20th anniversary party for the series in less than a year (see our report from the first one, here). Former NBC News president and “Dateline” EP Neal Shapiro was there, as was current NBC News chief Steve Capus, who praised the program:
“In television, longevity is usually measured in weeks, months and every once in a while a show hits and lasts for a couple of years, but ‘Dateline’ comes from good stock,” Capus told the crowd. “Your cousins over at the ‘Today’ show just celebrated 60 years, ‘Meet the Press’ is the longest running show in television, and here we are with ‘Dateline’ at 20. I like the way that sounds.”
Then there was current anchor Lester Holt, who weaved among the guests throughout the night, cracking jokes and taking Polaroid pictures. He used his time at the microphone to thank everyone for their hard work on the show… and to do a little rapping.
“I am in the DJ booth, so I have got to do it,” Holt said, before singing “My name is Lester and I do the news, ‘Nightly,’ ‘Today’ and ‘Dateline’ too, they say go live and give em no jive, because I gotta make the top of the five.”
Senior EP of Primetime News David Corvo, Jane Pauley and Lester Holt at Dateline’s 20th anniversary party.
Chris Hansen, Jane Pauley, Keith Morrison and Hoda Kotb.