In 1977, which broadcaster conducted a series of interviews with former US president Richard Nixon?
The Nixon interviews were a series of interviews of former U.S. President Richard Nixon conducted by British journalist David Frost, and produced by John Birt. They were recorded and broadcast on television and radio in four programs in 1977. The interviews became the central subject of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon in 2006, and subsequently the 2008 film of the same name.
The 12 interviews began on March 23, 1977, with three interviews per week over four weeks. They were taped for more than two hours a day, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for a total of 28 hours and 45 minutes. The interviews were managed by executive producer Marvin Minoff, who was the president of Frost's David Paradine Productions, and by British current affairs producer John Birt.
The premiere episode drew 45 million viewers, the largest television audience for a political interview in history — a record that still stands today. In part 3, Frost asked Nixon about the legality of the president's actions. In the context of American national security, Nixon replied: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."
A Gallup poll conducted after the interviews aired showed that 69 percent of the public thought that Nixon was still trying to cover up, 72 percent still thought he was guilty of obstruction of justice, and 75 percent thought he deserved no further role in public life. Frost was expected to make $1 million from the interviews.