Another news show aired an episode about Daniel Wozniak’s case. This time, it was 48 Hours.
I seem to get a bunch of new readers whenever a show airs. People learn about Daniel’s case for the first time, Google him, and then find my blog.
Hi new people. I’m happy to have you here. Welcome.
I hope you’ll read the entire blog from the beginning before you go comment crazy. Try to remember, I wrote the posts before and during the trial. I learned as I wrote. And I’ve probably already answered a lot of questions you might have.
I know the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi are horrible. Daniel Wozniak’s confession of how and why Sam and Julie were killed is disturbing and gruesome. The man shown on that police interview video seems like a monster, but that’s not the guy I visit. In part, I write to make sense of my friendship with him.
Now let’s talk about 48 Hours.
Daniel Wozniak and the True Crime TV Shows
Arguably, Dateline, 20/20, and 48 Hours are the “big three” of hour-long news shows. On January 15, 2016, Dateline’s episode started the trend of covering Daniel’s crime. It was two hours long, it had an interview with Daniel’s ex-fiancée Rachel Buffett (shot years earlier), and most importantly, it was first.
When 20/20 aired their program about Daniel Wozniak on March 4, 2016, I followed along on social media. Many of the commenters complained this was the exact same show seen on Dateline.
The 20/20 episode did have a brief interview with the jurors (I wish there had been more of them). They also had court updates, but overall, I have to agree with the detractors: the story was told the exact same way.
48 Hours On Daniel Wozniak
On October 8, 2016, a month after Daniel was sentenced to death row, 48 Hours aired “Killer Performance,” their version of the Daniel Wozniak crime.
48 Hours had an interview that no one else had. It was an interview with me. They asked me not to make that information public until after the episode aired.
If you’re wondering how you missed the woman with My Little Pony-colored hair, that’s because I wasn’t on the show. The producer sent me a text the day before to let me know my interview didn’t make the edit.
This did not surprise me at all.
I’d seen a promo for the episode a few days before and, quite frankly, it looked like 48 Hours wasn’t doing anything different from the shows that had come before it. I figured if 48 Hours was going to use my interview, there would have been some mention in the promo about hearing from a “friend of the killer.”
Behind the Scenes
From the beginning, I suspected 48 Hours interviewed me as a way to butter me up. I had arranged for the producer of 20/20 to briefly meet Daniel during one of our visits, and the 48 Hours producer was hoping for the same opportunity. Or more.
If you remember from my post, I considered interviewing Daniel myself, as I was the only person he’d allow. Finances and logistics got in the way, but part of me really wanted the world to hear from the person I know. All anyone saw was his expressionless face (except for those poorly timed smiles at me) during his murder trial.
Yes, I know some of you don’t give a flying pig what he’s like. But lots of other people are damn curious about Daniel, and that’s why I wasn’t surprised TV producers were trying to use me to get to him, and 48 Hours worked the hardest.
On the day they shot the interview with me (at CBS Studios in Los Angles), I mentioned how Daniel actually had agreed to let me interview him on camera, and how I couldn’t swing it.
A month or so later, the producer approached me with an intriguing offer. She wanted me to interview Daniel on 48 Hours’ dime.
When I brought the idea to Daniel, he had a lot of questions. Mostly, he didn’t particularly like the answers he got back.
- He wouldn’t be able to know the questions in advance.
- I wouldn’t be able to know the questions in advance.
- I wouldn’t be seen on camera at all (I was fine with that).
- I wouldn’t get to see the final edit before it aired (I wasn’t fine with that.)
When you get down to it, this wasn’t going to be his friend interviewing him. This was going to be 48 Hours interviewing him. He didn’t like that.
He also didn’t say no.
There were some financial and promotional benefits for me if he did the interview. Even though Daniel Wozniak is quite skeptical there is a positive side to showing himself to the public, he stayed open to discussing the possibility.
Then he let me decide.
I didn’t tell that to the 48 Hours producer (until now, I guess). I was a chicken. It was easier to have her think I didn’t have much say in the decision.
Don’t get me wrong, Daniel did not want to do the interview. He wouldn’t agree to meet with the 48 Hours producer at all, and she really wanted the opportunity to plead her case to him. It would not have made any difference though.
I never found out exactly why Daniel agreed to meet the producer from 20/20, but not the one from 48 Hours.
Eventually, after a lot of thought, there was no interview. I’m sure Daniel was relieved I made that choice.
It makes you wonder how different the entire episode would have been if they’d had that jailhouse interview with Daniel.
Even though 48 Hours did pretty much the same show as 20/20 and Dateline, I felt it was slightly more one-sided than the other programs. I didn’t like how the show made it seem like Daniel had no one supporting him. Daniel did not want his mother or any of his loved ones to suffer even more than they’ve already had to because of him.
The show did include a much too brief interview with the stage manager of the production Daniel and Rachel starred in at the time of the murders. Overall though, I didn’t think 48 Hours added much to the mix of media coverage for this story. Sure, they were able to show clips from Dr. Phil and Lockup, but those shows have been on YouTube for years. As is, I wonder if some true crime fans even bothered to watch 48 Hours (my mom didn’t).
I’m sure there are lots of people who don’t watch every news crime show on TV, so they learned about these murders for the first time from 48 Hours. Some of those viewers have made their way to me. I hope they stick around and read up on this case, because I do not believe the full truth about the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi has been told yet.