NBC News Unveils Plans For New Series on War Crimes

At NBC News in recent months, there’s been a lot of chatter among staffers about what was happening to a network series, apparently in development, about catching real-life war criminals.

The project first surfaced back in February when The New York Times reported on a series of controversies surrounding the project long before it had neared completion.

Back then, The Times compared the project to the NBC Dateline series To Catch a Predator—only targeting war criminals rather than pedophiles.

But as it turns out, Chris Hansen, NBC’s To Catch a Predator correspondent, is not involved in the new project—which is the brainchild of documentary filmmaker Charlie Ebersol (son of NBC sports chief Dick Ebersol and boyfriend of tennis star Maria Sharapova).

Today, NBC announced that the series, titled The Wanted, will begin airing at 10 p.m. on Monday, July 20. According to NBC’s press release, rather than featuring a typical correspondent or anchor, the series will employ the services of “an elite team with backgrounds in intelligence, unconventional warfare and investigative journalism” and will focus “on real operators, in search of real targets—all in an effort to see individuals brought to justice.”

“The faces of The Wanted include Roger Carstens, who is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency,” reads the press release. “Former Navy Seal Scott Tyler, an expert in urban reconnaissance and unconventional warfare; David Crane, a decorated former US intelligence official and the first American to serve as Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg; and Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Adam Ciralsky.”

The first episode, according to the release, will focus on Mullah Krekar, “the founder and leader of Ansar Al Islam, an internationally designated terrorist organization that has been accused of killing hundreds of Americans and other Westerners.”

The second episode, airing on July 27, according to NBC, will focus on the pursuit of Mamoun Darkazanli, a.k.a. “Bin Laden’s financier.”

There is no mention in the release of Leopold Munyakazi, a visiting professor at Goucher College in Towson, Md.,who was at the center of February’s controversy.

Presumably, NBC News is no longer working with Rwandan prosecutors to possibly arrest Mr. Munyakazi.

To judge by the release, The Wanted is like a nonfiction version of The A-Team meets The Hunting Party. And something tells us that it is not going to sit well with anyone worried about the blurring of the lines between entertainment and news, and journalists and law enforcement.

NBC News Unveils Plans For New Series on War Crimes