It was once the heartbeat of the American economy, but today, Detroit could be seen as the ultimate reflection of America's pain. The population - once two million - is now less than half of that; the schools are among the worst in the nation, crime and corruption run rampant, and people are struggling to survive in a shattered economy. In Chris Hansen's upcoming report, "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope," airing on Sunday, April 18 (7:00-8:00 PM/ET), Hansen, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs and worked as a reporter in the city for a decade, returns to take a very personal look at what's being done to save the city, and the people who are leading the way.
The hour-long report is told through the eyes of Cordette Grantling - a woman who takes in abandoned children and whose story reveals what it takes to survive day-to-day in Detroit. Hansen and his team not only embed with Cordette, but also shadow the city's police chief, who twice a week hits the streets himself to tackle the city's high crime rate. Hansen visits some of the city's troubled schools to see if there is anyone who can get the upper hand on violence and corruption. In addition, a Detroit insider talks candidly to Hansen about what he calls the city's "culture of corruption," ironically he's under indictment himself.
As dire as the situation is in Detroit, there are many who believe that the city will survive and rise again, including musician Kid Rock and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Bing, a former NBA star and successful businessman, is stopping at nothing to rebuild and re-imagine his city, telling Hansen, "the day of reckoning is here," and how he plans on leveling thousands of homes and buildings and literally downsizing the city.
"America Now" is a special series, airing on "Dateline" Sundays, examining issues facing Americans today and how communities across the country are pulling together to rise above adverse times. David Corvo is the executive producer of "Dateline."