CBS moved a “48 Hours Mystery” episode about Natalie Wood up one week to take advantage of the news that broke Friday that the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department is reopening an investigation into her death in 1981.
The episode — produced before the Wood news broke this week — was scheduled to air on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – Nov. 26 – but now it will air tonight (Saturday, Nov. 19) at 10/9c on CBS, according to this Hollywood Reporter story.
The Natalie Wood episode is described as “a partnership” with Vanity Fair magazine, which is publishing a special issue on Hollywood scandals and mysteries, one of which is Wood’s drowning death at age 43 near Catalina Island, Calif., where she had been vacationing and partying on a yacht with then-husband Robert Wagner, friend Christopher Walken and the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern.
The case, formerly ruled an accidental drowning, is being reopened because of Davern’s insistence that not all the facts about the last night of Woods’ life are known. He was interviewed Friday on NBC’s “Today” show and he’ll also be seen on “48 Hours.”
CBS producers burnt the midnight oil Friday night in order to get the episode ready a week early. “This mystery has gone on for 30 years. It’s time for the sea to give up its secrets,” “48 Hours” executive producer Susan Zirinsky told THR.
Wood — born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938 — was an A-list Hollywood movie star beginning in childhood, She starred in a long string of major Hollywood hits, including the original “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), “Rebel Without a Cause” (with James Dean), “Splendor in the Grass” (with then-beau Warren Beatty), and “West Side Story.” The yacht she owned with Wagner was named “Splendour.”
“48 Hours Mystery” airs Saturday night at 10/9c on CBS.