'The Story Behind The Story' first went on air in 1990. The program was created to go up against '60 Minutes'. Richard Kiley of 'A Year In The Life' (1989) and Jane Wallace were the hosts. "We did a pilot (in 1990), were picked up for 3 shows, and then finally picked up for 3 more (broadcast in 1991) – but don't have any idea if the network intends to continue with the program," Richard told the press at the time.
In 1993, Richard Kiley could be seen in the production of 'Matthew'. As understood, Matthew lived along the shore of Lake Galilee in a town of Capernaum. At that time, the Roman Empire controlled all of Palestine. Richard as Matthew informed viewers, "Although I am a Jew, I worked as a tax collector for King Herod of Galilee who paid tribute (tax) to the Roman government. My cooperation with Rome made me an outcast in my own community.
"However when Jesus the Christ looked at me and said 'follow me' I left everything and became what it is - Disciples. I am writing this gospel to show through the writings of the Lord, the prophets and the songs that Jesus of Nazareth (son of David, the son of Abraham) is the long awaited Messiah." It was noted the word "follow" was most frequently used in many of 21st century social media.
In 1982, Steven E. deSouza and Harve Bennett of 'Star Trek' produced the TV series, 'The Powers of Matthew Star'. In the pilot, the character of Matthew was called David Star. Peter Barton told 'Starlog' magazine, "I firmly believe that UFOs exist; everyone through the ages has had their version of them and there seems to be evidence more than ever that they are out here. Even something like Matthew's powers are not all that improbable when you stop to think that we only use something like 5% of our brain. Maybe someday we'll be able to open our minds up and pour in all knowledge; then all you would have to do is ask the right question and the answers would be there."
'The Story Behind The Story' sought to examine unreported aspects of the big events by re-telling front-page stories from previous decades using modern perspective. "'The Story Behind The Story' maybe even deplorable but it's pretty darn good," Tom Shales of the 'Washington Post' acknowledged. "It offers what some journalists call 'sidebars' – features that illuminate some little aspect of a bigger story. Truth be told, 'The Story Behind The Story' is a slick, sharp and engrossing hour."
Journalist Jane Wallace maintained, "This is not a sleazy, syndicated tabloid show. I turned down lots of those shows. John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer (of 'Unsolved Mysteries') are former documentary producers who know what it means to do real stories. The level of research is extreme." 'The Story Behind The Story' primarily focussed on "all the other stuff, off to the side, that doesn’t get reported in big stories.
"As a reporter, I know it's always there. It's the kind of stuff reporters tell each other. It's an intriguing concept, and it grabbed me right away. The approach to the stories is intelligent. I wouldn't sign up with these folks if I didn't feel they had high standards. There's nothing at all 'tabloidy' about the show." Mike Hughes remarked, "All of our lives would be better if Richard Kiley narrated them. He would give them clarity and perspective. He would add lyrical moments of verbal beauty." Verbal beauty because the Emmy-winning actor "gave feeling to the words." On reflection, Richard Kiley conceded, "Orson Welles was the quintessential narrator."
Mark Dawidziak offered, "There's a really neat idea lurking in 'The Story Behind The Story'. The basic concept is to isolate a fascinating smaller side story to a headline-making event. In fact, the title should be 'The Story Beside The Story'. Although 'The Story Behind The Story' again and again aims at the right targets, the disappointing special repeatedly misses the mark.
"The unconvincing re-enactments are clumsily edited into actual news footage of the events. Pivotal information is left out. Historical context – crucial to many of these stories – is missing. And shallow, quick-hit treatments of intriguing topics often raise more questions than they answer. 'The Story Behind The Story' explores territory that could lead to a very entertaining series. The journey, however, is a bumpy ride. Substantial subjects are subjected to an approach to television that lacks substance."