To help kick off the 28th season of Dateline NBC, the legendary Keith Morrison is hosting the show’s first true-crime original podcast. The first six episodes, called The Thing About Pam, follow the murder of Betsy Faria and how it exposed a wicked scheme that led to another death. Morrison will tell the story of how Betsy’s friend Pamela Hupp impersonated a Dateline producer to lure a man to her home before murdering him. A teaser for the podcast has already hit No. 1 on the Apple charts.
On the eve of the podcast’s debut, we asked Morrison to talk about what fans can expect and why it took him so long to do a podcast. “We’ve been talking about it for years, quite frankly,” Morrison tells EW. “I think it was just a question of deciding the right format to use and the right way to go about it. We wanted to do it right to begin with and not make some bumbling mistakes coming out of the gate. We’re excited about it now.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What will be different about what we see on Dateline NBC versus what we hear on the podcast?
KEITH MORRISON: It’s actually a guilty pleasure to do this. One of the frustrations, even if you do a two-hour Dateline on a complex story, is, you have to leave out so much material. These are complicated tales, and they often span out over years. So being given the opportunity to spend maybe six hours on the story, you get into the detail that you never get a chance to visit during a regular Dateline program. So even though we don’t have the pictures up for all of that, you have to use your imagination a little bit. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the story in a more fulsome way. And I think it’s great for the listeners to really understand what the deal is all about.
So will you focus on one case per podcast season? How will it work?
Our first one will be half a dozen episodes of a story that is pretty remarkable. It takes a lot of surprising twists and turns and has at the center a very strange character. We’ve been following this one for a while, and it’s ideal for this kind of treatment. That’s why we’re doing it. And then we’ll move on to somebody else and I suspect it’ll be a similar kind of thing. We’ll pick our most interesting tales and live in them as much as we can. It’s real reporting that gives our producers, who are wonderfully accomplished people, to be part of the storytelling. I’ll be telling the story, but so will producers who worked on the program.
Have you noticed your voice changing a little now that you’re doing a podcast? Is your presentation a little different?
Maybe unconsciously. There’s more of me, which is probably not necessarily a good thing. But also I’m conscious of the fact that it can’t rely on the pictures to tell the story. Maybe I’ve reverted to a storytelling mode that, I don’t know, I used a long time ago in radio.
There’s so much true-crime out there. I have to wonder if you’ve thought there would be over-saturation. Can there be too much?
I am always prepared for that possibility. Who knows, tastes change. I don’t try to guess where it’s going to go because when you guess at such things, you’re almost always wrong. So I’m happy to ride the wave while it’s here because these are very interesting stories to do, and I think that they speak to the human condition. I think it’s a way of understanding human nature that hits closer to the bone than most other kinds of reporting. I had to be dragged into it in the first place. I really like it now.
When you are out at the store or dry cleaners, have you noticed people using the pop socket with your face on it?
Yeah. People are very nice to me and I am a lucky guy. I truly am.
The Thing About Pam debuts Sept. 18. The 28th season of Dateline debuts Sept. 27 on NBC.
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