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Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen
Born Christopher Edward Hansen
(1959-09-13) September 13, 1959
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Alma mater Michigan State University
Occupation Television personality
News reporter
Years active 1981–present
Known for To Catch a Predator
Dateline NBC
Killer Instinct
Spouse(s) Mary Joan Hansen (2 children)

Christopher Edward Hansen (born September 13, 1959),[1] best known as Chris Hansen, 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. His newest show is Killer Instinct on Investigation Discovery, which documents homicide investigations.[2]


  • Career 1
    • Dateline NBC 1.1
    • To Catch a Predator 1.2
    • Killer Instinct 1.3
    • Appearances 1.4
    • Hansen Vs. Predator 1.5
  • Awards 2
  • Personal life 3
    • Affair 3.1
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Hansen attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[3] He became a reporter for Lansing NBC affiliate WILX in 1981 during his senior year at Michigan State University.[4][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.[4] In May 1993, Hansen joined NBC News as a correspondent for the news magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.[4] He left the network in 2013 as a result of the To Catch a Predator imbroglio.[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 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 Federal Aviation Administration opening an investigation and ultimately revising its policies.[4]

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.[4] 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. The show will premiere its ten episode initial run sometime during the fall of 2015.[11] No initial airdate has been set.[10]


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.[12]

Hansen Vs. Predator

Hansen is scheduled to release a new independent television show called Hansen Vs Predator, a spin-off of his original show To Catch a Predator. The program is intended to premiere online before broadcast rights are sold.[13]


Hansen has received seven 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.[14]

Personal life

Hansen was born in Lansing, Michigan and grew up in the northern Detroit suburbs of West Bloomfield and Birmingham.

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.[4][5]

He is married to Mary Joan Hansen; the couple has two sons. The family resides in Connecticut.[4]


From 2010-12, Hansen had an extramarital relationship with journalist, Kristyn Caddell.[15]

On July 3, 2013, Caddell penned an open letter to the Enquirer covering her silence during the media storm, and confirming the validity of the story.[16][17]


  1. ^ Hansen, Chris (May 6, 2015). An Interview with Chris Hansen. Interview with  
  2. ^ MSU grad Chris Hansen returns with 'Killer Instinct' Detroit Free Press, August 17, 2015
  3. ^ Hansen, Chris (April 20, 2010). "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g """Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC. NBC News. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c McNamara, Neal (April 15, 2009). "News maker Chris Hansen". Lansing City Pulse. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Chris Hansen, ‘Dateline’s’ ‘To Catch a Predator’ investigative reporter, leaving NBC". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  7. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 26, 2006). "They're still showing up". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  8. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 4, 2011). "Prominent men caught in Petaluma sting".  
  9. ^ Salkin, Allen (December 13, 2006). "Web Site Hunts Pedophiles, and TV Goes Along". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Profile,; accessed July 27, 2015.
  11. ^ Buckland, Jason (February 15, 2015). "Chris Hansen Wants a Comeback". Time Magazine. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  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.  
  14. ^ """Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC. MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  15. ^ "Adultering 'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen dropped by NBC after 20 years". London, UK: MailOnline. August 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  17. ^ "Ex-lover of 'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen pens open letter about affair".  

Further reading

  • Hansen, C. (2007) To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids From Online Enemies Already in your Home, New York City: Dutton

External links

  • Chris Hansen at the Internet Movie Database
  • Hansen's "Predator" blog
  • Hansen's "ID Thief" blog
  • Hansen's "Con Man" blog
  • The Hansen Files website
  • Chris Hansen on Twitter
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