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This Prime Time News series on ABC began in 1978. Longtime anchors Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters previously worked together on NBC's Today. Reporters on 20/20 have included John Stossel, Geraldo Rivera, Lynn Sherr, David Muir, Bob Brown and the ever-popular Sylvia Chase. Began as a hard-news program, but slowly devolved until it is now mainly a purveyor of Missing White Woman Syndrome stories, fawning celebrity profiles, and Barbara Walters interviews (though it still does solid investigative pieces from time to time).

By the 2010s, the show only aired a handful of times a year.


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Tropes:

  • Author Tract: Many of John Stossel's segments were accused of being biased in favor of his well-known libertarian views.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The very first edition was incredibly bizarre — featuring two magazine personalities as hosts (Harold Hayes of Esquire and Robert Hughes of Time), and a strange mix of hard news and fluff, capped off with a satiric Claymation short featuring then-President Carter and Walter Cronkite(!). The intention was to be for news what Wide World of Sports was for sports; Roone Arledge, the creator of WWOS and head of ABC Sports, had just taken command of ABC News as well. It was savaged by critics and the public, and the next edition saw Hugh Downs as host and the standard serious tone and format in place.
  • Start My Own: When John Stossel left 20/20 for Fox Business he started his own show, Stossel.
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  • Missing White Woman Syndrome:
  • Network Decay: More like Program Decay, but applicable.
  • True Crime:
  • Verbed Title: For "Saved", the episode about the Katie Beers kidnapping.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Those shows that are all celebrity profiles, and the People of the Year episodes.
  • Yet Another Baby Panda: The real specialty of latter-day 20/20.

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