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The program originally aired four nights a week (on Monday through Thursdays) until 1982, when the sketch comedy program Fridays was shifted to air after Nightline.
By this time, the news program had expanded to 30 minutes.
In 1982, Koppel interviewed Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief Yasser Arafat on the program, in which he had indicated that he would not accept conditions from the U. In honor of the 40th Anniversary of D-Day in 1984, Nightline aired a special edition which "covered" the landings on Normandy as though modern television news, along with satellite reports, had existed at the time.
The following year in 1985, the program conducted its first on-remote broadcast from South Africa.
ABC had previously used the title "Night Line" for a short-lived 1 a.m.
talk show starring Les Crane that was broadcast over the network's New York City flagship station, WABC-TV, starting in 1963.
Nightline is usually less sensationalistic than the weekly news magazines (which often emphasize soft news programming, stories of such type – such as pop culture-related stories – Nightline has incorporated to a moderate degree following Koppel's departure), though the program has caused controversy on occasion. In 1984, the program featured an interview with Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, marking his first live television appearance.
Over the years, Nightline had a number of technological firsts.
The program did the first live report from the base of Mount Everest.
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).