Q: What happened to Stone Phillips and is he ever returning to television?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

The short answer is that Stone Phillips was let go from his job as anchor of NBC's "Dateline," reportedly due to budget cuts at the network (a believable claim since NBC's other belt-tightening measures, such as giving Jay Leno a daily 10 p.m. talk show, have been well noted).

This came about in the spring of 2007, at a time when NBC was pruning back "Dateline's" hours quite a bit from its schedule. In the '90s heyday of newsmagazine shows, "Dateline NBC" aired as many as five shows a week. But by the fall of 2007, in the schedule NBC announced mere days before announcing Phillips's layoff, the show was down to one hour a week, in the Saturday night hinterlands.

These days it's being anchored by Ann Curry, who took the chair beside Phillips as co-anchor in 2005. Phillips had been co-anchor of the show since its launch in 1992.

In a brief interview with the New York social-scene blog "Suburbarazzi" a few weeks after his last "Dateline," Phillips answered the question of what his plans are (or were, anyway).

"Nothing immediately, nothing for a while. You know, I'm going to take some time off and do some traveling with my wife and take it from there. It's going to be a nice long period of rest and relaxation, and then taking on some independent projects."

That was nearly three years ago, though, and none of those projects has yet surfaced. Granted, after 15 years at a job, especially one that, according to "USA Today," paid $7 million a year, who can say how long the subsequent vacation should be?

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