“Dateline NBC” has launched its first digital-only documentary series, “Conviction,” exploring the case of a New York man convicted of a murder he insists he didn’t commit.
The prime-time news program began streaming the first four episodes of “Conviction” on datelinenbc.com on Tuesday, after news broke that Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark will seek to overturn the murder conviction for Richard Rosario. “Dateline NBC” had originally planned to premiere the series on Friday.
“Conviction” — reminiscent of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” series — investigates the case of Rosario, convicted of a 1996 murder. Rosario, who has served 20 years of a 25-years-to-life sentence, maintains his innocence and says that 13 alibi witnesses can verify he was in Florida when the crime was committed in New York City. “Dateline NBC” reported the docu-series over a two-year period, interviewing most of Rosario’s alibi witnesses.
On Tuesday morning, the Bronx DA’s office confirmed that it sent investigators to interview the witnesses and that Clark intends to ask a judge to throw out Rosario’s conviction and release him as soon as possible. Until now, the prosecution has stood by the conviction.
[UPDATE, March 23, 12:30 p.m. ET: Rosario was released from prison Wednesday, after a judge dismissed the conviction.]
“The story seemed to have so many elements, it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment,” said “Dateline NBC” executive producer Liz Cole about the decision to release the show only online.
In addition, Cole said, “We didn’t have to wait for Friday night at 10 for airtime” to release the series, after news broke about the Rosario’s impending release. “And as the story continues to unfold, we can updated it as it happens,” she added.
All 11 episodes of the series will be available to stream on NBCNews.com beginning Thursday, March 24. “Conviction” is produced and reported by Dateline’s Dan Slepian and edited by Rob Allen. Adam Gorfain is senior broadcast producer for “Dateline NBC.”
There are no sponsors or advertisers for the “Convicted” digital series, an NBC News rep said.
Pictured above: Richard Rosario in “Dateline NBC” docu-series “Conviction”