Published: January 8, 2003
NEW YORK — January 8, 2003 — In a special interactive edition of Dateline NBC, viewers can log on to the Dateline website (www.dateline.msnbc.com) and virtually become part of the action. Viewers will have the opportunity to take part in a terrifying hostage situation that rocked the small town of Ruston, La. in 1987. The episode will air Friday, January 10 at 9 p.m. EST.
Traffic tickets and petty burglaries were among the only crimes the Ruston police force ever encountered. But when Dwight Riser, a stranger to the community, entered the small Louisiana town, police were faced with series of harrowing decisions for which they had no roadmap. Riser had taken an unknown number of women hostage in a hotel room and began making several demands to the police. Dateline NBC will let viewers experience first-hand the challenges of a police officer in command in this hostage situation.
At each commercial break, by logging on to www.dateline.msnbc.com, viewers will have the opportunity to make their own decisions based on the facts of the story. Viewers can decide if they should meet all the demands of Riser, if they should try to talk to him and stall for more time, or if they should launch an armed assault on the hotel room. As the story unfolds, the decisions get tougher. By the end of the hour, the outcome of the situation is revealed, and viewers will see how their decisions compared to what really happened.
NBCs John Hockenberry reports and anchor Stone Phillips will be live in the studio, ready to announce the results of the viewers decisions.
David Corvo is the executive producer of Dateline NBC.