Former NBC News correspondent Chris Hansen, best known for his "To Catch a Predator" investigative segments, will be the new host of the nationally syndicated news magazine "Crime Watch Daily."
As part of the deal, announced Monday by Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Hansen brings along a new series of "Predator"-style investigations, in which he uses hidden cameras to ensnare people who use the Internet for criminal activity.
Hansen brings a high-profile name to the program, which is averaging about 1.3 million viewers since its launch in September 2015. He was an NBC News correspondent for 20 years until he left the network in 2014. The show will be renamed "Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen" when he joins Sept. 12.
Hansen will anchor the program out of New York, often using the streets as a backdrop. The other reporters on the series — Matt Doran, Jason Mattera, Ana Garcia, Andrea Isom and Michelle Sigona — will continue to operate out of the program's Los Angeles newsroom.
"To Catch A Predator" became a TV sensation when it was introduced on "Dateline NBC" in 2004. Using decoys and hidden cameras, the investigations targeted men who used the Internet to meet underage sex partners. The suspects would be lured to a location and then confronted by Hansen with his signature line, "Have a seat," before being arrested by police.
Hansen and NBC News conduced the investigations until 2007. But they were repackaged and ran for years on cable network MSNBC and on overseas TV outlets.
The series was criticized in some journalism circles for blurring the lines between news and law enforcement. A lawsuit was filed by the family of one man, an assistant district attorney in Texas, who killed himself when police showed up at his door with "Dateline NBC" cameras rolling. NBC settled the lawsuit.
But Hansen has said viewers still ask him about the series, which was lampooned in an episode of "South Park." Last year, he used crowdfunding to partly finance a new series of investigations under the name "Hansen Vs. Predator," which will be shown on "Crime Watch Daily." The hidden-camera segments will look at Internet-related crimes that go beyond sexual predators.
"Crime Watch Daily" is seen on TV stations in 99% of the U.S. including KTLA in Los Angeles, WGN in Chicago and WPIX in New York.