Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Debuting in 1976, the Canadian "newsmagazine" series The Fifth Estate was patterned after CBC radio's "As It Happens," with elements of such TV shows as Canada's This Hour Has Seven Days and America's 60 Minutes tossed in. The program was the brainchild of Peter Herrndorf, head of the CBC's public affairs division, with added input from journalist Ron Haggart and veteran broadcaster Gerald McAuliffe. Despite some well-publicized backstage squabbles amongst the series' reporters and production personnel (not to mention the death of one of its most important contributors), the series lasted for four decades. One of the many filmed segments on The Fifth Estate, John and Rose Kastner's Just Another Missing Kid, was released theatrically in the U.S., where it won an Academy Award.