He's taken you inside Al Capone's vault. He's taken you on a live drug bust. He's given you up-close-and-personal perspectives on teen runaways, the new Mafia and contemporary American sexuality.
Next up: Charles Manson.Geraldo Rivera, who is becoming to informational programming what P.T. Barnum was to wild animal acts, will present his sixth syndicated prime time special Wednesday night. Murder: Live From Death Row (8 p.m., Ch. 13) will employ the erstwhile reporter's now-familiar storytelling techniques packaged reports, interviews with experts and a Live! Live! Live! studio audience in an attempt to "define, describe and dissect the act of murder."
Included in this on-air "dissection" will be segments on serial killers, children who kill, celebrity stalkers, unsolved murders and the entertainment industry's obsession with murder. Throughout all of this, said producer Pete Simmons, "we will not let the audience forget the victims and their families."
But the show's centerpiece will doubtless be highlights from Rivera's recent two-hour interview Manson, a convicted mass murderer who has spent almost 20 year's on California's death row.
"Never in my career have I experienced such a chilling yet fascinating interview," said Rivera recently. "Manson remains shockingly evil an evil that is a combination of wacky and wicked. He is society's nightmare come true."
The "wacky" part of Manson's personna made for a difficult interview, Rivera said: "Our conversation became increasingly frustrating as I realized that this mass murderer, who masterminded at least nine murders without remorse, can also demonstrate an evil charisma."
Of course, Manson had a little "charisma" sitting across from him that he had to contend with, too. Producer John Langley said Rivera's "direct and confrontational style disarmed and provoked Manson, offering a more in-depth insight into this insidious man."
I'm pretty sure he meant Manson was insidious, not Rivera. But we'll all have to wait until Wednesday night to see for ourselves.
(BU) VIDBITS: BYU appears twice on ESPN's recently announced college football schedule for this coming season. The cable sports network will cover the BYU-Texas game Sept. 8 in Provo and the BYU-Miami game Dec. 3 from Florida . . . The Christian Science Monitor will introduce a syndicated nightly half-hour news program, Monitor Newsworld, this September. Former NBC correspondent John Hart will anchor . . .