Chris Hansen

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Chris Hansen
Chris Hansen.jpg
Hansen in 2021
Born (1959-09-13) September 13, 1959 (age 63)
Alma materMichigan State University (BA)
Occupation(s)Television personality
News reporter
YouTube personality
Years active1981–present
Known forTo Catch a Predator
Dateline NBC
Killer Instinct
Crime Watch Daily
Mary Joan Hansen
(m. 1989)
Gabrielle Gagnon
(m. 2021)
[citation needed]
YouTube information
Years active2019–present
Subscribers393 thousand+
(December 2022)
Total views23.6 million+
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2020[1]

Last updated: 04 Jul 2022

Christopher Edward Hansen (born September 13, 1959)[2] is an American television journalist and YouTube personality. 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.

He also hosts Killer Instinct on Investigation Discovery, which documents homicide investigations.[3] In September 2016, he became the new host for the second season of the syndicated show Crime Watch Daily.[4]

Early life and education

Hansen was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 13, 1959[2] and grew up in West Bloomfield Township and Birmingham, Michigan. In an interview with City Pulse, Hansen said that he was first wanted to be a journalist when he was 14 years old, watching and following the police and FBI investigation of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.[5] He attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[6] Hansen graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunication in 1981.[7][5]

Career with NBC (1981–2013)

In 1981, Hansen became a reporter for NBC affiliate WILX in Lansing, Michigan during his senior year at Michigan State University.[7][5] He later reported for WFLA in Tampa, Florida, various newspapers and radio stations in Michigan and WXYZ in Detroit. In 1988, he was hired as an investigative reporter and anchor at WDIV in Detroit.[7] In May 1993, Hansen joined NBC News as a correspondent for the short-lived news magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.[7]

Dateline NBC

Hansen's notable work for Dateline includes coverage of the Columbine High School massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber and the TWA Flight 800 disaster, and investigative reports on Indian child slave labor and 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 also exposed how a group linked to Osama Bin Laden had attempted to buy missiles and nuclear weapons components, and he also worked on an exclusive report on the Air France Flight 8969 hijacking. His series on deficient airport security resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration investigating and ultimately revising its policies.[7]

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 minor children (usually 13–15 year old) in chat rooms online and agreed to meet with adults for sex.[8][9] The meeting places were "sting houses", where camera crews from NBC, and in later episodes local police, awaited potential sexual predators.[10]

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.[7] 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.[11][12]


In August 2013, NBC decided not to renew its contract with Hansen, ultimately ending his tenure of 20 years.[13]

Post-NBC projects

Killer Instinct

In 2015, Hansen hosted Killer Instinct, a show on Investigation Discovery chronicling homicide cases. The show's initial 10-episode season premiered on August 17, 2015.[14]

Hansen vs. Predator

In 2015, Hansen planned a new independent television show called Hansen vs. Predator, a spin-off of his original show To Catch a Predator. The program was intended to premiere online, crowdfunded via Kickstarter with Hansen hoping to raise $400,000,[15] however the Kickstarter only raised $89,000.[16][17] Hansen offered promotional memorabilia as part of the campaign that donors claimed to have never received, and he was arrested in January 2019 for paying for $13,000 worth of promotional items with a bad check.[17] Later broadcast rights were sold, with Hansen vs. Predator becoming a recurring segment on Crime Watch Daily.[18]

Crime Watch Daily

On August 22, 2016, Hansen was introduced as the new host of the syndicated news program Crime Watch Daily beginning with its second-season premiere on September 12.[19] Hansen anchors the program from New York City, but it will maintain its Los Angeles-based newsroom. The second season also saw the premiere of Hansen vs. Predator, a revival of his previous To Catch a Predator series. Hansen's entry brought further ratings gains to the program, with household ratings increasing by 20% to 1.0, and a 23% gain among women 18–34. On January 4, 2017, Crime Watch Daily was renewed for a third season.[20][19] The show ended its run in June 2018.[21] Chris Hansen debuted the first episode of Hansen vs. Predator on September 12, 2016, on Crime Watch Daily.[4]

Have a Seat with Chris Hansen

Hansen in 2019

On October 9, 2019, Hansen started a YouTube channel under the name Have a Seat with Chris Hansen, featuring weekly podcasts tackling different topics and interviews with special guests.[22] In 2019, this channel investigated claims of pedophilia and grooming against YouTube creator James Jackson, commonly known as Onision.[23] In January 2020, Hansen visited Jackson's home in an attempt to interview him. Jackson called the police on Hansen, though the police did not take action against him.[24] Jackson also filed a lawsuit against Hansen, which took place on January 24, 2020.[25][26] Jackson later requested to dismiss the charges, claiming that he was advised to consider an "alternative, more effective legal action".[27] This dismissal request was granted.[28][29]

Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygard

Chris Hansen was named as an executive producer for Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygard, a Discovery+ show which examines Peter Nygard's life from his birth to his downfall and arrest.[30]

Personal life

Hansen first married to Mary Joan and has two sons. It was reported that in June 2018, Mary Joan filed for divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage.[31] The family resided in Stamford, Connecticut.[32] Hansen also maintained a New York City apartment; however, in January, 2019 it was reported that he was evicted after failing to pay rent for the apartment since the previous August.[31] His mother, Patricia Hansen, died on March 1, 2020.[33]

On November 13, 2021, Hanson married Gabrielle Gagnon.[34]

Legal issues

In January 2019, Hansen was charged with larceny after a check bounced with a vendor who delivered promotional items.[35] Hansen turned himself in to police in Connecticut on January 14, 2019, for allegedly bouncing checks for nearly $13,000 worth of promotional materials, according to Stamford Police.[36] The charges were later dropped.[37]

In relation to a sting operation that occurred in October 2020, Hansen was supposed to appear and present evidence in a Shiawassee County Courtroom in Michigan in July 2021. Hansen did not show up for court. A warrant was issued for his arrest in July 2021.[38] Hansen later turned himself in, and stated that his failure to appear in court was because of a misunderstanding which was in the process of being resolved.[39]


Hansen has received eight 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.[7]


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.[citation needed]

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). In 2020, Hansen also made a brief cameo himself in episode 1 of the second season of Amazon series The Boys.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Chris Hansen Social Blade, retrieved July 1, 2020
  2. ^ a b Hansen, Chris (May 6, 2015). "An Interview with Chris Hansen". The Anthony Cumia Show (Interview). Interviewed by Anthony Cumia.
  3. ^ Hughes, Mike (August 17, 2015). "MSU grad Chris Hansen returns with 'Killer Instinct'". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2019-05-19 – via Detroit Free Press.
  4. ^ a b "'Take a seat' – Chris Hansen is back!". Crime Watch Daily. September 9, 2016. Archived from the original on September 12, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c McNamara, Neal (April 15, 2009). "News maker Chris Hansen". Lansing City Pulse. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  6. ^ Hansen, Chris (April 20, 2010). "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope". NBC News. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Chris Hansen: Correspondent, "Dateline NBC"". NBC News. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  8. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 26, 2006). "They're still showing up". NBC News. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Hansen, Chris (October 4, 2011). "Prominent men caught in Petaluma sting". MSNBC. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  10. ^ Salkin, Allen (December 13, 2006). "Web Site Hunts Pedophiles, and TV Goes Along". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  11. ^ "Profile". Archived 2016-01-12 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed July 27, 2015.
  12. ^ Chris Hansen Interview - 3/20/2007, retrieved 2023-01-10
  13. ^ Marechal, AJ (August 2, 2013). "Report: NBC Will Not Renew Chris Hansen's Contract". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  14. ^ "Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen". TV Guide. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  15. ^ Blistein, Jon (April 14, 2015). "Chris Hansen Wants You to Fund New 'To Catch a Predator'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Hansen, Chris (September 9, 2016). "Hansen vs. Predator". Kickstarter. Archived from the original on November 30, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  17. ^ a b Dillon, Nancy. "'To Catch a Predator' star Chris Hansen's arrest draws out history of financial woes and complaints". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  18. ^ "The Return of 'To Catch a Predator'". The Marshall Project. 2017-01-23. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  19. ^ a b "Chris Hansen Will Be Catching Predators On 'Crime Watch Daily'". Deadline Hollywood. August 22, 2016. Archived from the original on August 25, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  20. ^ "Exclusive: 'Crime Watch Daily' Renewed for Season 3". NextTV. January 4, 2017. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Albiniak, Paige (June 26, 2018). "Syndication Ratings: Soccer, Golf Drives Down Shows". NextTV. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  22. ^ "Have A Seat With Chris Hansen". YouTube. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  23. ^ Asarch, Steven (November 27, 2019). "Onision has been banned from Patreon and has been posting strange videos". Newsweek. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  24. ^ Dodgson, Lindsay. "A creator who has become YouTube's supervillain called 911 when reporter Chris Hansen knocked on his door to ask him about accusations of grooming underage fans". Insider. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  25. ^ "Search Case Records". Washington Courts. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  26. ^ Asarch, Steven (January 16, 2020). "Chris Hansen and Repzion have been sued in civil court by Onision". Newsweek. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  27. ^ Repzion [@DDsulzbach] (January 24, 2020). He dismissed his own case against me. I guess he's going to sue me in civil court at some point is my guess for attempted "slander" and "damages"...(Tweet) Archived from the original on January 26, 2020 - via Twitter.
  28. ^ Harris, Margot (January 27, 2020). "One of YouTube's most controversial personalities dropped his lawsuit against 'To Catch a Predator' host after the wrong person was served papers". Insider. Retrieved February 3, 2020. ...Jackson ['Onision']... asked for a dismissal of his petitions for orders of protection against... Chris Hansen and YouTuber Daniel Sulzbach ['Repzion']
  29. ^ Mike Morse Law Firm [@855mikewins] (January 25, 2020). "Here's the official response from the "wrong" Chris Hansen. Good guy who wrote an appropriate response to the court."(Tweet) Archived from the original on January 26, 2020 - via Twitter.
  30. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (December 17, 2020). "Discovery+ Series to Investigate Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard's Rise to Power Through His Dec. 15 Arrest (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  31. ^ a b Hohman, Maura (January 18, 2019). "To Catch a Predator's Chris Hansen's Wife Filed for Divorce — and He's Being Evicted". People. Archived from the original on January 20, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  32. ^ "Chris Hansen's House in Stamford, CT (Google Maps)". Virtual Globetrotting. April 18, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  33. ^ Chris Hansen [@chrishansen] (March 1, 2020). "It is with a mixture of sadness and a lifetime of joy and love that we announce the passing of Patricia Hansen. The very definition of what a mother should be."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ "11/13/21 Detroit!". November 13, 2021.
  35. ^ Fearnow, Benjamin (January 16, 2019). "Chris Hansen Arrested: 'To Catch A Predator' Host Charged With Writing Bad Checks". Newsweek. Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 16, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  36. ^ "Chris Hansen, former "To Catch a Predator" TV host, arrested over bad checks, police say". Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  37. ^ "'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen has bounced check charge dropped". WTOP News. January 24, 2019. Archived from the original on April 28, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  38. ^ Garger, Kenneth (July 2, 2021). "'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen wanted in Michigan for skipping court". New York Post. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  39. ^ Smith, Olivia (July 15, 2021). "What happened to Chris Hansen of 'To Catch a Predator'?". Tuko. Retrieved August 10, 2021.

Further reading

External links