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Christopher Edward Hansen (born September 13, 1959)[1] 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.[2] In September 2016, he became the new host of the syndicated show Crime Watch Daily.[3]

Chris Hansen
Christopher Edward Hansen

(1959-09-13) September 13, 1959 (age 60)
Chicago, Illinois, United States[1]
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationTelevision personality
News reporter
Years active1981–present
Known forTo Catch a Predator
Dateline NBC
Killer Instinct
Crime Watch Daily
Spouse(s)Mary Joan Hansen

Early life and education

Hansen was born on September 13, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois. [1] Hansen grew up in the northern Detroit suburbs of West Bloomfield and Birmingham. Hansen attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[4] 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.[5] He graduated from Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.[6][5]

Career with NBC (1981–2013)

He became a reporter for Lansing NBC affiliate WILX in 1981 during his senior year at Michigan State University.[6][5] 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.[6] In May 1993, Hansen joined NBC News as a correspondent for the news magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.[6]

Dateline NBC

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.[6]

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.[7][8] The meeting places were "sting houses", where camera crews from NBC, and in later episodes local police, awaited the potential sexual predator.[9]

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.[6] 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.[10]

Killer Instinct

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.[11]


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.[citation needed]

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.[12]

Post-NBC projects

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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15][14] The show ended its run in June 2018.[16] Chris Hansen debuted the first episode of Hansen vs Predator on Monday, September 12, 2016, on Crime Watch Daily.[3]

Personal life

He is married to his wife Mary Joan and has two sons. It was reported that in June 2018, Mary Joan filed for divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage.[17] The family resides in Connecticut. He also had an apartment in New York City. However, it was reported that he was evicted in January for failing to pay rent, with it being shown the last time Hansen paid rent was in August 2018.[6]

In January 2019, Hansen was charged with larceny after a check bounced with a vendor who delivered promotional items.[18] 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.[19] The charges were later dropped.[20]


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.[21]


  1. ^ a b c Hansen, Chris (May 6, 2015). "An Interview with Chris Hansen". The Anthony Cumia Show (Interview). Interviewed by Anthony Cumia.
  2. ^ "MSU grad Chris Hansen returns with 'Killer Instinct'". Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2019-05-19.MSU grad Chris Hansen returns with 'Killer Instinct' Archived 2015-09-20 at the Wayback Machine Detroit Free Press, August 17, 2015
  3. ^ a b "'Take a seat' – Chris Hansen is back!". Crime Watch Daily. September 9, 2016. Archived from the original on September 12, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Hansen, Chris (April 20, 2010). "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope". MSNBC. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c McNamara, Neal (April 15, 2009). "News maker Chris Hansen". Lansing City Pulse. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"". NBC News. Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 26, 2006). "They're still showing up". MSNBC. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  8. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 4, 2011). "Prominent men caught in Petaluma sting". MSNBC. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  9. ^ Salkin, Allen (December 13, 2006). "Web Site Hunts Pedophiles, and TV Goes Along". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  10. ^ Profile Archived 2016-01-12 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed July 27, 2015.
  11. ^ "Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
  12. ^ Willow, Molly. "Recitation of honorees so lame it hurt", Features — Life & Arts; pg. 1D, The Columbus Dispatch, January 14, 2008.
  13. ^ Blistein, Jon (April 14, 2015). "Chris Hansen Wants You to Fund New 'To Catch a Predator'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Chris Hansen Will Be Catching Predators On 'Crime Watch Daily'". 22 August 2016. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Exclusive: 'Crime Watch Daily' Renewed for Season 3". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. ^ Archived 2018-06-28 at the Wayback Machine Crime Watch Daily ending is run after three years on the air per Broadcasting and cable
  17. ^ Hohman, Maura. "To Catch a Predator's Chris Hansen's Wife Filed for Divorce — and He's Being Evicted". People. People. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  18. ^ Fearnow, Benjamin. "Chris Hansen Arrested: 'To Catch A Predator' Host Charged With Writing Bad Checks". Newsweek. Newsweek. Archived from the original on 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Chris Hansen, former "To Catch a Predator" TV host, arrested over bad checks, police say". Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
  20. ^ "'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen has bounced check charge dropped". 2019-01-24. Archived from the original on 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
  21. ^ "Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"". MSNBC. Archived from the original on February 14, 2013. Retrieved 2012-10-08.

Further reading

External links