To Catch a Predator is an American reality television series that features hidden camera investigations by the television newsmagazine program Dateline NBC. It was devoted to impersonating underage people and detaining male adults who contacted them over the Internet for sexual liaisons. People were lured to meet with a decoy under the pretense of sexual contact and then confronted. Show host Chris Hansen clarified in an interview with NPR News that these subjects should be labeled as potential sexual predators, and not pedophiles. "Pedophiles have a very specific definition, people who are interested in prepubescent sex," he stated.
The series premiered in November 2004, and featured 12 investigations in total held across the United States. The investigations were conducted as undercover sting operations with the help of on-line watchdog group Perverted-Justice. Since the third installment, law enforcement and other officials were also involved, leading to the arrests of most individuals caught. No new episodes have aired since December 2007.
NBC affiliates WTMJ in Milwaukee, KSHB in Kansas City and WBRE have also done local versions of To Catch a Predator. Various spin-offs have aired in the same format, including To Catch a Con Man, To Catch an ID Thief, To Catch a Car Thief and To Catch an i-Jacker, which featured iPod thieves. To Catch a Predator is also aired on FX and Crime & Investigation Network in the United Kingdom, the Crime & Investigation Network in Australia and New Zealand and FOX Crime in Portugal.
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