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Nightline's 35th anniversary

by David Shedden

Published Mar. 24, 2015 7:00 am

Updated Mar. 24, 2015 8:24 am

Although its start can be traced back to an earlier program about the Iran hostage crisis, ABC’s “Nightline” officially began 35 years ago today.

Frank Reynolds anchored the ABC News program, The Iran Crisis: America Held Hostage, which was launched on November 8, 1979, four days after the U.S. embassy in Iran was seized. When Reynolds left to cover the 1980 presidential campaign, his role was taken up by ABC’s chief diplomatic correspondent, Ted Koppel.

On March 24, 1980, the 20-minute, Monday-through-Thursday program became permanent and was renamed “Nightline”. The show started covering topics besides the hostage situation and expanded to a half-hour on January 5, 1981. On March 30th it also began airing on Friday.