Chris Hansen is attempting to use a Kickstarter campaign to recreate To Catch A Predator. He may be making a grievous error though, in trying to sell the project to a generation of internet aficionados — because unlike Hansen, his audience is apt to be aware of just how broad the internet is. In promoting his Kickstarter — which hasn’t actually even started yet — Hansen noted that there are 22 ways to talk on the internet now, compared to two chat room networks when the show was on before.
When we did it before, there were chat rooms on AOL and Yahoo. Now there are 22 ways to communicate online.
Wait, only twenty-two ways to talk online? There are at least half a dozen ways on Facebook alone! Just how many ways are there, actually, to talk online?
There are, of course, the many chat rooms that were available from 2004-2007 when the show was on — far more than two. Aside from Yahoo and AOL, there are (and were) MSN, TeenChat, and ICQ, among others. There are also all the instant message programs, many of which were also available in 2004: MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo, KIK and countless more.
Many networks that offer games, like Yahoo, offer chat in-game. Dedicated game servers for Minecraft and other online games allow chatting — and often an assured access to young players. Programs like Steam, that allow developers to create and offer games for easy download, have chat included. Mobile games like Words With Friends (which, despite the name, can be played with strangers), often have chat.
Xbox Live, Nintendo DS, Wii U, and Playstation 4 all have games and apps that allow users to interact over the internet.
Sites and apps like Chat Roulette, Omegle, Chat Random, and Next Stranger all connect users to complete strangers for chats.
Then of course there are Facebook (comments, messages, groups, chat, and games), Twitter (public and private messages), email, Facetime, Skype and other video chat programs, SnapChat, message boards, Google Plus (private messages, chat rooms, and comments and posts), blog comments, photo-sharing sites, dating sites, comment sections on YouTube, fan pages, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Yahoo Answers, and basically the entire internet.
It’s not clear which 22 ways to interact online Chris Hansen is limiting himself to in the new To Catch A Predator — assuming the Kickstarter actually gets him going. He’s looking for nearly half a million dollars to start, and many people are more than a little disenchanted with the show, since the death of Louis Conradt Jr. in 2006.
If you aren’t familiar with the case, Conradt committed suicide as police attempted to arrest him for soliciting sex from a person he thought was a 13-year-old boy. According to the New York Times, the To Catch A Predator crew was filming as the police approached the house. Showrunners claim that there was no connection — that there was no way the man could have been aware of their presence. Still, the connection had been made, and for many, the show was tainted.
That’s not the only controversy attached to Chris Hansen’s previous show — there were also accusations of entrapment, and there were cases with charges dropped for inadequate evidence.
The To Catch A Predator reboot, which is being called Hansen Vs. Predator, currently has a website with a countdown to the start of the Kickstarter, April 15th.
According to the LA Times, Hansen was unable to sell the show to any networks, and plans to “shoot the next investigation and show that we have it.” He plans to air it online, and hope that a network will pick it up.
Incentives for the To Catch A Predator revamp’s Kickstarter include Chris Hansen recording an outgoing voicemail message for a donor, and a private screening of the show with Hansen and his crew.
UPDATE: The Kickstarter is live, and you can find it here.