Christopher Edward Hansen (born September 13, 1959) is an American television journalist. He is known for his work on Dateline NBC, in particular the former segment To Catch a Predator, which revolved around catching potential Internet sex predators using a sting operation. He also hosts Killer Instinct on Investigation Discovery, which documents homicide investigations. In September 2016, he became the new host of the syndicated show Crime Watch Daily.
Christopher Edward Hansen
September 13, 1959
|Alma mater||Michigan State University|
|Known for||To Catch a Predator|
Crime Watch Daily
|Spouse(s)||Mary Joan Hansen|
Early life and education
Hansen was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the northern Detroit suburbs of West Bloomfield and Birmingham. Hansen attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In an interview with the Lansing City Pulse, Hansen has said that watching the FBI and police investigate the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa when he was fourteen inspired him to want to become a journalist. He graduated from Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.
Career with NBC (1981–2013)
He became a reporter for Lansing NBC affiliate WILX in 1981 during his senior year at Michigan State University. He then reported for WFLA in Tampa, various radio stations and newspapers in Michigan, WXYZ in Detroit, and WDIV as an investigative reporter and anchor from 1988. In May 1993, Hansen joined NBC News as a correspondent for the news magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.
Hansen's notable work for Dateline includes coverage of the Columbine massacre, the Oklahoma City terrorist attack, the Unabomber and the TWA Flight 800 disaster; as well as investigative reports on Indian child slave labor and on counterfeit prescription drug sales in China. Hansen was responsible for most of Dateline's coverage of the September 11 attacks, as well as stories on terrorist groups and the operations of Al-Qaeda. He also exposed how a group linked to Osama Bin Laden had tried to buy missiles and nuclear weapons components, and he also worked on an exclusive report detailing an attempted 1994 terrorist attack in France. His series on the lack of security at airports resulted in the FAA opening an investigation and ultimately revising its policies.
To Catch a Predator
In conjunction with the website Perverted-Justice, Hansen hosted a series of Dateline NBC reports under the title To Catch a Predator. Volunteers from Perverted-Justice impersonated underage people (usually 13–15) in chat rooms online and agreed to meet with adults for sex. The meeting places were "sting houses", where camera crews from NBC, and in later episodes local police, awaited the potential sexual predator.
Capitalizing on the success of Hansen and his Predator investigations, Dateline NBC created three Tuesday night spin-offs of its original concept; Hansen hosted To Catch a Con Man and To Catch an I.D. Thief. In March 2007, Hansen's book, To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids from Online Enemies Already in Your Home, was released in the American market.
In February 2015, Hansen announced that he would be the host of a new show on Investigation Discovery to be titled Killer Instinct that chronicled homicide cases. The show's initial 10-episode season premiered on August 17, 2015.
Hansen has appeared on such television programs as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Adam Carolla Show, Today, Scarborough Country, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rise Guys Morning Show, The Don and Mike Show, The Opie and Anthony Radio Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Glenn Beck Program, and Diggnation.
On January 9, 2007, Hansen appeared on the BET news series American Gangster. The special, which was hosted by actor Ving Rhames, focused on Detroit drug lords, the Chambers Brothers gang. Hansen gave insight into the lives of the brothers based on the reporting he had done on them in the 1980s and 1990s as a reporter for ABC affiliate WXYZ (Channel 7) and NBC affiliate WDIV (Channel 4). On January 13, 2008, he attended the NBC Golden Globes Winners Special which was poorly attended by the nominees due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.
Hansen vs. Predator
In 2015, Hansen announced plans to release a new independent television show called Hansen vs. Predator, a spin-off of his original show To Catch a Predator. The program was intended to premiere online before broadcast rights were sold.
Crime Watch Daily
On August 22, 2016, it was announced that Hansen would become the new host of the syndicated news program Crime Watch Daily beginning with its second-season premiere on September 12. Hansen anchors the program from New York City, but it will maintain its Los Angeles-based newsroom. The second season also saw the premiere of Hansen vs. Predator, a revival of his previous To Catch a Predator series. Hansen's entry brought further ratings gains to the program, with household ratings increasing by 20% to 1.0, and a 23% gain among women 18–34. On January 4, 2017, Crime Watch Daily was renewed for a third season. The show ended its run in June 2018. Chris Hansen debuted the first episode of Hansen vs Predator on Monday, September 12, 2016, on Crime Watch Daily.
He is married to Mary Joan Hansen; the couple has two sons. It is reported that Mary Joan filed for divorce on June 5, 2018 after nearly 30 years of marriage. The family resides in Connecticut.
In January 2019, Hansen was charged with larceny after a check bounced with a vendor who delivered promotional items. Hansen turned himself in to police in Connecticut on January 14, 2019, for allegedly bouncing checks for nearly $13,000 worth of promotional materials, according to Stamford Police. The charges were later dropped.
Hansen has received eight Emmy Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards, three Clarion awards, the Overseas Press Club award, an IRE, the National Press Club award, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award; as well as awards for excellence from the Associated Press and United Press International.
- Hansen, Chris (May 6, 2015). "An Interview with Chris Hansen". The Anthony Cumia Show (Interview). Interviewed by Anthony Cumia.
- MSU grad Chris Hansen returns with 'Killer Instinct' Detroit Free Press, August 17, 2015
- "'Take a seat' – Chris Hansen is back!". Crime Watch Daily. September 9, 2016.
- Hansen, Chris (April 20, 2010). "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- McNamara, Neal (April 15, 2009). "News maker Chris Hansen". Lansing City Pulse. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- "Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"". NBC News. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- Hansen, Chris (October 26, 2006). "They're still showing up". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- Hansen, Chris (October 4, 2011). "Prominent men caught in Petaluma sting". MSNBC. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- Salkin, Allen (December 13, 2006). "Web Site Hunts Pedophiles, and TV Goes Along". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- Profile, hansenvpredator.com; accessed July 27, 2015.
- "Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
- Willow, Molly. "Recitation of honorees so lame it hurt", Features — Life & Arts; pg. 1D, The Columbus Dispatch, January 14, 2008.
- Blistein, Jon (April 14, 2015). "Chris Hansen Wants You to Fund New 'To Catch a Predator'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
- "Chris Hansen Will Be Catching Predators On 'Crime Watch Daily'". Deadline.com. 2016-08-22. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Exclusive: 'Crime Watch Daily' Renewed for Season 3". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/syndication-ratings-soccer-golf-drives-down-shows Crime Watch Daily ending is run after three years on the air per Broadcasting and cable
- Hohman, Maura. "To Catch a Predator's Chris Hansen's Wife Filed for Divorce — and He's Being Evicted". People. People. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- Fearnow, Benjamin. "Chris Hansen Arrested: 'To Catch A Predator' Host Charged With Writing Bad Checks". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Chris Hansen, former "To Catch a Predator" TV host, arrested over bad checks, police say, CBS News, 01/16/2019
- "Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- Hansen, C. (2007) To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids From Online Enemies Already in your Home, New York City: Dutton