DIANE SAWYER EXLPORES THE MYSTERY OF POPE JOAN � WAS THERE REALLY
A FEMALE POPE? � ON �PRIMETIME,� THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29 AT 10:00 P.M., ET
Also: The Year�s Most Unforgettable Moments Caught on Tape, Airing 9:00-10:00 p.m.
In the ninth century, did a woman do the unimaginable -- disguise herself as a man and win the throne of the Catholic Church? The legend of Pope Joan -- who historians say called herself Pope John Anglicus -- is supported by clues in several examples of art and architecture found in Italy. But did a female Pope really live and reign for two and half years -- before she went into childbirth in the middle of a papal procession? Diane Sawyer explores her existence, described in church chronicles � some say there are clues all over Europe, including the Vatican itself. �The Mystery of Pope Joan� airs on �Primetime,� THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Sawyer takes audiences through mystery and intrigue on the trail of Pope Joan. Ancient histories of the church say this woman learned the language of scholars, Greek and Latin, and became �proficient in a diversity of branches of knowledge.� Accounts say she was �led to Athens dressed in the clothes of a man by a certain lover of hers.� And then, as 500 chronicles recount, she made her way to Rome. As to her existence, stories point to literature and art; perhaps most intriguing is said to be a papal coronation chair that could have been used to guarantee that no female ever became Pope again.
From 9:00-10:00 p.m., �Primetime� will reflect on the power of images in the year�s most unforgettable moments caught on tape, which reached new heights in 2005 � security cameras captured suicide bombers, surveillance cameras exposed cell phone bandits, Britney Spears revealed home videos, and amateur video captured perhaps the most stunning images of Hurricane Katrina. �Primetime� highlights the following:
� Disasters -- Throughout the year, both natural and man-made disaster struck across the world. Hurricane Katrina, the London bombings and suicide bombings were marked by images most poignantly from citizens � the homeowner in New Orleans, the subway commuter in London, the terrorist shown on a video seconds before entering a building.
� Crime -- With closed circuit and surveillance cameras practically everywhere, crime was increasingly caught on tape in 2005. There was Candice Martinez, the �cell phone bandit,� Joseph Duncan�s abduction of Shasta Groene and a two-hour car chase in southern California.
� People -- The images of the infamous celebrities - Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah�s couch, the Michael Jackson court case and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline�s reality show.
� Spectacle- With cameras always on and recording everything, there are new questions about where the line is drawn on too much video and what people gain from the constant influx of images -- the emergency landing of a JetBlue airbus in Los Angeles was watched my many, including the passengers viewing live shots while on board; then there was the captivating story of the �the Runaway Bride� that turned out to be a big hoax.
DIANE SAWYER, CHRIS CUOMO, CYNTHIA McFADDEN and JOHN QUINONES are the anchors of �Primetime.� DAVID SLOAN is the executive producer.