Chris Hansen

April 22, 2015

I am Chris Hansen. You may know me from "To Catch a Predator" or "Wild Wild Web." AMA.

Hi reddit. It's been 2 years since my previous AMA, and since then, a lot has changed. But one thing that hasn't changed is my commitment to removing predators of all sorts from the streets and internet.

I've launched a new campaign called "Hansen vs. Predator" with the goal of creating a new series that will conduct new investigations for a new program.

You can help support the campaign here:

Or on our official Kickstarter page:

Let's answer some questions. Victoria's helping me over the phone. AMA.

Update: Thank you for asking me anything. And for all your support on the Kickstarter campaign. And I wish I had more time to chat with all of you, but I gotta get back to work here - I'm in Seattle. Thank you!

Chris, what do you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Predator? I thought the alien in this movie was scary but no where near as scary as the predator’s on this planet…would you be opposed to putting all of Earth’s predators onto a rocket and sending them away for good into outer space?

I'll be back! Ha!

I'm MORE afraid of the earth's predators. And to paraphrase Arnold - "I'm coming back!"

Why don't you take a seat over there?

I'd like to, but I've been driving around working on a story all day and I need to stretch my legs.



Um... sorry to disappoint. Hopefully my answers will live up to your anticipation.

Hi Chris. Why don't you have a seat right over there.

1) What was your reaction when you learned that a man had killed himself during a sting operation involving Perverted-Justice and at least one Dateline cameraman? With your new Kickstarter project, do you have any concern about this happening again?

edit: not sure why I labeled that "1)"...

Any suicide is awful, and tragic.

Our investigations will follow a strict protocol to ensure that while justice is served, it is done so ethically and fairly.

Good to hear protocols are in place.

On a lighter note have you seen some of the parodies of your show? What are your thoughts?

This boondocks episode in particular comes to mind

Imitation is flattery.

On To Catch A Predator were you ever worried about the predators considering how violent they could theoretically be?

Yes, but we took a lot of precautions with our security, and I'm confident that we have & will be as safe as possible.

Marathoning TCAP has always been a past activity my roommates & I do. Thanks for being so entertaining.
I have to know though, what is Chris Hansen's ideal breakfast?

Let's see. My ideal breakfast is a cup of hot fresh coffee in my signature mugs (which is a reward on my campaign ).

But really it's kale / apple / ginger juice.

What inspired you to continue doing To Catch a Predator online, instead of on regular television?

The plan is to do it originally online, and repackage it for broadcast, so we want to do both.

And it's because that's the way people are receiving content these days. And audiences are there to consume the show.

Has any predator ever got in contact with you after the show and tell you how their life is going?


I can't think of a case where that's happened.

Hi Chris!
Do you ever wake up and say to yourself, i'm Chris Haaannnssseenn?

Every morning.

full-bodied laugh

Chris, what's your favourite cheese?

Hot Jalapeno Jack.

Hey Chris,

I was wondering why you're doing a kickstarter for this? Surely lots of companies would be happy to fund this project.

Also did you like The Boondocks parody?

I would say to that: I'm going this route because I want to have creative control, and control of distribution, and to be honest with you, I've never seen the Boondocks Parody! I wasn't aware of it. It's been described to me, but I haven't seen it.

Hi Chris,

While making To Catch a Predator, did you ever come across female predators? If you restart the series, do you think it would be beneficial to pursue more female predators to help the public recognize that predators can be of both genders?

We never had a female predator surface in our investigation. And experts in the field say when it comes to female predators, you're more likely to see the "teacher / student" scenario, as opposed to someone meeting anonymously online. Not to say that it hasn't happened, it has, but it just hasn't come up in one of our investigations. And we investigate equally.

What do you think of the idea that there are lots of people who think "you are the last person on earth they want to see"?

You know... I suppose, concerning what I do for a living, that could be considered an honor!

How did the idea for "To Catch a Predator" come about?

Did you learn anything unexpected while conducting these stings over the years?


The idea grew out of a conversation I had years ago, with a fellow reporter, a friend of mine. We learned about the online watchdog group, Perverted Justice, and I figured if we could combine their talent posting as decoys with our hidden camera technology, it could be pretty compelling.

And what surprised me most is that these guys come from all walks of life. They usually don't stand out of a crowd. Doctors, clergymen, military people, teachers...

What will you change about the show this time around if your crowd funding is successful?

We would change the way that we communicate with predators, because there are so many more ways to communicate online than there were when we began. When we began, we used chatrooms on AOL and Yahoo! and nowadays, we have dozens and dozens of ways to communicate.

Technology has improved - for everything from the cameras to the microphones. It's a whole 'nother playing field now.

And we also have means to find out more about these people before they actually show up.

I think it's going to be a more sophisticated program. Because we'll have more space to tell the story.

Welcome back to reddit!

What's a project that you were passionate about, but never really took off?

Well, I could tell you right off the top of my head, it was a story involving US government contractors using slave labor at government bases overseas.

It didn't take off. We weren't able to infiltrate it at a level where we could get video evidence where we knew what was going on.

The other one was we were going to set up a "predator house" to capture Chinese spies. That never got off the ground either.

Hey Chris, I am a big believer in what you do. Have you ever gotten any sort of threats or possible danger after the fact from one of the people you have helped apprehend?

You know, I've gotten numerous threats over the years. But I think I have a pretty good security protocol in place to stay protected.

Chris -- Huge fan of your investigatory work and I'm excited for your new kickstarter project! I still watch your Dateline re-runs on YouTube and MSNBC religiously. 2 Questions.

Question (1): On To Catch a Predator, on at least one occassion/stop, didn't the majority of your suspect's cases get thrown out due to some legal technicality?

Question (2): Now that we've evolved from AOL/AIM/Yahoo Chatrooms, where is the new mainstream venue for online child predators? Dating websites? Facebook?


1.) There was only one investigation where some of the cases were not prosecuted. And that resulted from a disagreement between a police department and a prosecutor's office. The reality is some of the people who were in the investigation were arrested in similar stings later. And that former prosecutors said that every one of those cases could have been taken to court, should the prosecutor have chosen to do so.

2.) Kik... Interactive gaming, Instagram, Snapchat - anywhere where potential targets or victims could be online!

will there ever be a release of all of the investigations you've done for NBC?

No, but that's a pretty good idea.

Will you create the show regardless of the Kickstarter goal being met?

I'm confident we'll surpass our goal.

Hey Chris. I'm excited about the prospect of this new show. I'm a fan of TCAP.

What would you say to those who view what you do as entrapment?

It's not entrapment. Because the decoys never make the first move. Nor do they raise the issue of having sex. It's always the potential predator that does that.

Hi Chris! How did you feel about the South Park episode that had you as a character?

It finally made me look "cool" to my teenage sons.

Do you at all find the sheer amount of websites where adults can chat online with children, overwhelming?

Facebook, snap chat, twitter, just to count a few.

Do you think you are going to tap into all of these sources in order to bring people to justice?

Edit: You know what? I'm adding Reddit on this list of websites too.

Well, you're absolutely right that it's going to be a challenge, but we're going to use the best technology available to do just that.

Have you ever considered doing a "Follow Up" episode on certain of the caught predators? I'd like to think that some of them learned their lesson and came out of it better people. Obviously, none of them are happy to be in the position they were in they met you the first time, but some of them might appreciate the opportunity to show how much they've grown/matured/changed. Or is that something that would get shot down by 100% of the individuals?

I think that's an excellent idea.

In fact, I'm going to give serious thought to reaching out to some people who could take part in that.

I think it would be fascinating.

Have you ever had an event that couldn't be aired due to it going wrong/was to explicit?


But obviously, you know, certain things were said that we didn't feel comfortable putting on the show. But there was nothing that was held back because it didn't "go right" or anything like that.

Hey Chris!

Do you ever reach the point where you think you just can't deal with this anymore? How, if at all, has your approach changed over the course of the program?

You know, I've seen - it's true, I've seen my fair share of disturbing things. I think it's important to expose them. And so I will continue to do so.

What was the most unexpected item brought along to one of the bait houses?

OH, god.

A predator brought along their 5 year old son.


Well, just the knowledge that these people are out there, and if I don't do it - who will?

Love the show, and glad to see it coming back! In your observation, is Mikes Hard Lemonade the choice beverage amongst predators?

We actually got a call from the lawyers at Mike's Hard Lemonade asking us to not use their product anymore.

Was there ever a reaction that a predator had that you were surprised by?

Before I could say a word, one of them looked at me and said "Oh, you're Chris Hansen."

I said, "How did you know that?"

And he said "I watch the show all the time, and when I miss an episode, I download it from the internet."

Thanks for the work you do, i'm glad people are trying to do the right thing, and get a message out there. Did u like working on Arrested Development? Will your new show do more to hunt down predators that are active, rather then trapping just internet predators?

Yes. But the reality is no matter what kind of a predator, most of them are using the internet to help carry out their schemes.

I was on 30 Rock?

What was the worst scenario you have encountered? The one that made question humanity the most.

When the guy walked in, naked... and wanted to involve whipped cream and a cat in the sexual scenario.

What is the most bizarre food you've ever eaten?

A drink called "chicha" that is made by women in South America, who chew corn, spit it in a barrel, and then it's fermented and strained.

How many people take the cookies/tea offered? I've always found it odd when they do

Probably... 30%?

Although one night, the brownies were left out overnight, and the first predator the next morning almost broke a tooth, they were so hard.

Hi Chris,

Do you have any other skills aside from catching predators?


Ahem. Let's see...

I can catch just about any kind of criminal out there.

Hey man, what's your favorite pizza???

My favorite pizza is... Malnati's in Chicago.

Will Hansen Vs. Predator feature the same creepy chat log voice actor that we all know and love from TCaP?

"4 realz?" "YEA"

Um... possibly?

Hey Chris, huge fan! I'm a psychology student and I wrote one of my final papers on "To Catch A Predator".

Will you (or do you currently) have official merchandise for sale? I think I'd get a kick out of placing a "Have a seat" sign in my kitchen.

Ironically, you can get some of that very merchandise by getting involved in the Kickstarter campaign:

What's the usual interaction you have with fans approaching you in public? Any stories of weird fan encounters?


Even when I'm unshaven and wearing a ball cap, expecting anonymity, my voice gives me away.

Time and again it has been revealed that pedophiles seek positions of respect and authority. Priests, politicians, police, etc..

Will you ever pursue such monsters who have the means to make your life... uncomfortable? Or have you tried such things in the past and encountered enough resistance to force you to back off?

We've never backed off, with anyone, no matter what their position is in society.

Hey Chris! In your new series, "Hansen vs Predator", can we expect the same "why don't you have a seat over there" catchphrase?

Yes, of course.

But I'll also have some new catchphrases as well.

Hi Chris - What's the top piece(s) of advice you would give parents to keep their kids safe online based on your experience?

If you don't know somebody in person, don't speak with them online.

And there are minimum age limits on social networks for a reason.

Are you going to use reddit to find predators as well? Anytime a user hints that they're a woman on reddit, especially a minor, their inbox is flooded with sexual solicitations and dick pics.

It'd be like shooting fish in a barrel here. It might even make pedos afraid of using reddit as a place to groom little girls.

Also, if people wanted to get involved in some way other than donating to your kickstarter, is there a way to do so?

We're going to explore using all forms of social media in our investigation.

And the best way to support us is through our Kickstarter campaign.

Chris, what is necessary to elevate awareness of this issue? It seems attention is now directed towards online bullying instead of online predators.

Online bullying is a huge issue as well. But the truth is predators will try to figure out ways to connect with targets online. We think it's important to continue to pursue online predators even as we deal with bullying as well.

Mr. Hansen, There's something you should know... I'm a backer on your kickstarter, I love all your reports on Dateline. My question is: Do you ever feel like you could be hurt or even killed while you're talking to these dangerous people?

First of all, thank you for being involved and your kind words.

A lot of thought goes into security whenever we do one of these investigations. And I feel confident we're as safe as we can possibly be.

Chris, will you join me for some sweet tea? I'm curious though, are predators prone to enjoying sweet tea?

You know... sweet tea definitely became one of the signature drinks of the Predator investigations, mostly because those are investigations that were in the South, where sweet tea is very popular.

Chris, how do you choose the decoys for the show? How involved are they behind the scenes?

P.S. Here's Chris watching a friend of mine audition to be a decoy:

Decoys are chosen because they look young, but have the maturity to play the part in a responsible and safe way. They are only involved behind the scenes in that they need to know as much as they can about the potential predator they're going to be talking to.

Will there be a new soundboard but officially by you and your crew on the App Store? Such a massive fan!!!

That's not a bad idea.

Do your friends invite you to "have a seat over there" when you go to their house? And are you tired of hearing it?


Only about 12 times a week.


Only about 12 times a week.

And it never gets tiring.

Was Predator a success or failure? How many charges have been dropped or overturned?

"Predator" was an overwhelming success. In only case that I'm aware of was there a dismissal.

Hi Chris,

My com tech class was just wondering what was the best excuse someone tried to give you when attempting to get out of the sting operation?

"I just came over to keep the girl company, and protect her until her parents got home."

Hey Chris, I'm a big fan of your work.

Since you have children of your own, what do/did you do to protect them online?

I imagine having Chris Hansen as a dad would mean pretty strict computer rules.

My guys are college-aged now, but when they were younger, I would limit their time online. Which made them, you know, focus on talking to their friends, downloading music, and checking movie schedules - leaving them less time to loiter in places where there could be a threat. But it's a different time now. They didn't have smartphones when they were young.

Chris, I recently contributed to your Kickstarter campaign and can't wait for the new investigation but who was the most memorable Predator you encountered in the original investigation and why?

The most memorable... without a doubt, the fellow who walked into our kitchen naked.

What do you do with your free time?

All kinds of stuff! Sounds like a thing - I enjoy skiing, and boating... I like a lot of sports, including tennis, and I try to work out and run as much as possible.

How shocked were you when you encountered a Predator on consecutive days, with the second being at a Mcdonalds? (I was just trying to get something to eat!)

It was one of the few times in my career that I've been at a loss for words.

Hello Mr. Hansen, what's your opinion on parents who give their children access to the internet (I-phones, I-pads, laptops etc) from a young age ?

Well, I think you have to be cautious, because there's so much that can be accessed, and so many people that can access them, that you have to monitor closely, and have a discussion about the potential dangers online with your children.

Hi Chris! Big fan. I used to wake my roommate up with the "I want to wrestle you so freaking bad" soundclip over our speakers.

My question is whether doing the show has made you feel better? Obviously, you have done a lot of good getting predators off the internet, but it must be incredibly sad to interact with them and realize just how dangerous the world can be for young people

Well, that's very true.

It is sad.

But at the same time, I know that by exposing these people, we're creating a dialogue and awareness that didn't exist before. So it remains important work.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Chris Hansen conducted on Reddit on 2015-04-22. The Reddit AMA can be found here.