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ABC’s ‘Nightline’ Marks 30th Anniversary

Tonight, ABC’s “Nightline” celebrates the 30 years since its launch on March 24, 1980. “This is a proud day for ‘Nightline,’” EP James Goldston tells TVNewser. “We enter our fourth decade from a position of strength and very much look forward to bringing distinctive, quality journalism to the American people for many years to come.”

Goldston became EP in 2005, but some ABCers have been with the program for much longer. “Nightline” producer Ted Gerstein started as an intern in 1992. Correspondent John Donvan began working at ABC in 1980 and on “Nightline” in 1998. (He’s been there so long, his ABCNews.com bio lists him as “occasional substitute anchor for Ted Koppel.”)

In 1979, ABC News began airing a temporary newscast called “America Held Hostage” to provide updates on the hostage crisis in Iran. From that, “Nightline” was born. At the time, one critic wrote: “To judge from its premiere, [Nightline] is not likely to see ‘America Held Spellbound.’” The columnist? WaPo’s Tom Shales.

Here’s a wonderful piece of TV news nostalgia: a clip of Ted Koppel from the top of the late-night news show’s very first broadcast as a permanent ABC program.

More: WebNewser reports on how ABC is commemorating the occasion with an interesting interactive time-line of the show’s coverage over the past 30 years.

Previous: TVNewser spoke with Ted Koppel on the 30-year anniversary of the hostage crisis.

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