Christopher Edward "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.
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Hi everyone, I’m Chris Hansen. You may know me from Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen on Investigation Discovery.
The season finale airs tonight at 10/9c. It involves a gruesome case that seems right out of a horror movie in America’s heartland.
You can watch past full episodes of Killer Instinct here: http://bit.ly/1hCVepG
Here’s proof that I am who I say I am: https://twitter.com/DiscoveryID/status/656136546991669248
I’m ready for your questions. AMA.
EDIT: Hey guys! great questions and good to chat as always. I need to wrap up a couple things for tonight's episode. Watch at 10 EST and catch me on Twitter! @ChrisHansen
What are your thoughts on how South Park portrayed you and your show a few years ago?
My sons have always had a dad on TV, so it was just a job to them, but when SP ran that episode, I was suddenly cool in their eyes.
Quick two parter...
First question: May I take a seat?
Second question: Where do you believe Jimmy Hoffa is and why?
Yes please! The Hoffa story is part of the reason I got into the business. He was kidnapped from a restaurant about about a mile from my childhood home. FBI sources have always suggested to me that the body was disposed of in either a industrial garbage grinder or in a vat of caustic chemicals in an auto parts plant. Every year it seems someone comes forward with a new story, but we'll probably never know for sure.
You have an upoming show, Hansen vs Predator. What would you say was the biggest challenges in filming it, as compared to the 2005-7 To Catch a Predator show?
Are predators more savvy now, are the technological challenges in catching them larger?
Well there are so many new social platforms where potential predators can approach kids on line and then the conversations typically transition into texting. In the earlier investigations decoys just used chat rooms on AOL and Yahoo. The landscape has changed in the last few years, so we had to adapt to that.
I'd like to hear your opinion on internet parenting. How far should parents go to protect their children on the web? Where is the line between trusting your kids with a certain amount of freedom and shielding them from some of the questionable content and individuals out there?
It's a fine line. But I can tell you this, with smartphones there is constant access. The best thing to do is educate your kids. They shouldn't be talking to anyone on line they don't know in person. The person sending them a photo of a handsome 14-year old boy might be a fat 60 year old sitting in his basement in his underwear surrounded by empty pizza boxes. That message resonates.
Are you more disgusted by the people of To Catch A Predator or Killer Instinct?
Great question! I guess they are both disgusting, just in different ways. It's what goes on in their minds that fascinates me. If by exploring that, we can learn how a predator or killer thinks and prevent others from becoming victims. 2 weeks ago while shooting Hansen VS Predator, a guy had a bag in his car containing a loaded gun, a knife, duct tape and a camera. He wanted to take a 13 year old girl for a ride. Might have turned into a Killer Instinct show.
How did you get your start on TV?
I started as a radio reporter as a student at Michigan State University. In my senior year I got a lucky break and was hired by WILX TV, the NBC station in Lansing. For 4.80 an hour I covered all the fires and city council meetings I could find. When I graduated they hired my full time to cover the state capitol.
Thanks for answering. If you have time for a follow-up: at what age did you give your children smartphones? Besides educating them on the ramifications of that privilege, did you utilize any technology or other safeguards on their devices?
My guys are 21 and 23 now, but I think they got smart phones in their 3rd or 4th year of high school. There is some good technology out there, but I think there needs to be a time at night when kid's smart phones are put on chargers downstairs in a common area and not in their bedrooms. It's not just predators to worry about, it's bullying and other aggressive behavior.
What should we expect from tonight's episode?
Tonight you'll see how a young man in a small Ohio town literally stalked a single mom and her 2 young kids. The crime scene looked like a horror film. The boyfriend was the first suspect, but he had an airtight alibi. The real killer might have gotten away if not for some quick thinking detectives and some surveillance video.
Who is the best interviewer (TV, radio or print)?
What qualities make a great broadcaster?
Besides me? Ha. Mike Wallace was one of my heroes and a master interviewer. Charlie Rose is great. Tom Brokaw I love. To be a good interviewer, you have to be a good listener. You can't just look down at a list of questions. You need to get inside the person's mind. I know I've done a great interview when I am exhausted at the end and I turn to the producers and ask: "anything else?" and they say "no".
As an MSU grad, where you watching this weekend's game? What was your reaction?
OMG! I was indeed. Amazing finish. I thought we were done and then bam...we won. I was screaming and jumping up and down. Was wearing green and white of course. Now we just have to beat Ohio State!
Who would you like to be able to interview in Killer Instinct? Are there any cases you'd really like to investigate in upcoming seasons?
One is the case of Annie Lee, the Yale student who was killed in a lab on campus. I have been digging into it lately and finding more than was previously known. Stay tuned for updates!
What's the most gruesome case you have come across?
It's about a ten way tie for first, but the one on Killer Instinct on ID tonight is right up there! A tree trimmer from Mt Vernon, Ohio named Mathew Hoffman targets an innocent family in a most vicious and violent way. A child escapes and she tells me her story.
Out of all of the cases you've seen and heard. which is the most interesting case to you.?
They are all fascinating to me in different ways, but tonight''s Killer Instinct on ID really stands out for a number of reasons. Things like this don't usually happen in a small Ohio town. And the motive in this case is quite bizarre as is the killer himself. It's our season finale.