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'20/20' Celebrating a Breezy First Decade

HOWARD ROSENBERG

June 10, 1988|HOWARD ROSENBERG

"One of the ideas proposed for the show was to run a car off the bridge at Chappaquiddick with a camera on the hood," Bergman said. Yes, a bit gross. What's more, the executives pushing for the story were unaware that the bridge had been rebuilt since the incident, Bergman said, so the simulation would have been as worthless as it would have been tasteless. In any event, the story never ran.

ABC News President Roone Arledge's spiking of another "20/20" story on the Kennedy family in 1985 made big headlines. Arledge claimed that he killed the segment because its premise--about how Marilyn Monroe's alleged affairs with John and Robert Kennedy made them vulnerable to Mafia blackmail--was unsubstantiated. Arledge denied that he killed the story because of his friendship with Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel.

Bergman, who won an Emmy for a "20/20" piece on Nicaragua, believes that "20/20" could have been a better series, journalistically, had it not been stunted by its own ambivalence. "One month we would have to have more animal stories because research said we needed more animals. Then the next month, it was Roone saying we need more investigative stories."

When it comes to entertainment, however, "20/20" has always held its own. How did "20/20" do it? How does it do it? Well . . . watch!

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