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It was not until a few days later that a producer had the idea of displaying the number of days on America Held Hostage (e.g., Day 15, Day 50, Day 150, etc.).At the end of the hostage crisis in 1981 (after 444 days), the program – which had been retitled the previous year as Nightline – had entrenched itself on ABC's programming schedule, and made Koppel a national figure.During Ted Koppel's tenure as anchor (and on rare occasions since his departure), Nightline devoted each episode to a unique subject.Since its inception, the program has covered many subjects (science, education, politics, economics, society, and breaking news).Over the years, Nightline had a number of technological firsts.The program did the first live report from the base of Mount Everest.Most other similar shows only air once a week, though usually in a prime time slot for a full hour.

talk show starring Les Crane that was broadcast over the network's New York City flagship station, WABC-TV, starting in 1963.

The program had its beginnings on November 8, 1979, just four days after the start of the Iran hostage crisis.

ABC News president Roone Arledge felt that the best way to compete against NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was to update Americans on the latest news from Iran. Originally, World News Tonight lead anchor Frank Reynolds hosted the 20-minute-long special reports.

At that time, the show was called The Iran Crisis–America Held Hostage: Day "xxx", where xxx represented the number of days that Iranians held the occupants of the U. Shortly after its creation, Reynolds stopped hosting the program.

Ted Koppel, then ABC News's State Department Correspondent, took on the hosting duties.

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