Daily Archives: July 1, 2009

Total doofus gets slapped on TV.

At some point in the past I was a reporter. For a little while I waded in way over my head and attempted the whole live reporting thing that is now the staple of local news coverage on TV.

Needless to say, I was hopeless at it.

The first time alone should have been warning enough. 

On a cue from the director, I stepped out from behind a bush ready to speak, but as I did so I caught my finger on a thorn and let out a girly squeal. Then, as now, I was very caught up in my own comfort and wellbeing, and proceeded to complain bitterly and suck my finger throughout the whole piece.

Well, it hurt!

Another time, I was dispatched by a regional news show in Southern England called Coast to Coast (hosted by nano-talents Fred Dinenage and Fern Britton) to cover some kind of geriatric Elvis convention. Only, when I got there I found that nobody had turned up. Nobody at all. The whole event was a bust. 

But did that stop me?  Good grief no. I’m very resourceful in a crisis.

Because I was a freelance and only got paid a fee if I actually produced a piece, I produced one. I staged the Elvis event myself. Rigged it from beginning to end. Even going as far as to hijack an entire busload of ageing tourists off the street and force them to participate.

The resulting report was great, I thought. You’d never have known it was bogus. However, the show’s editor took an entirely different and surprising approach. For some bizarre reason he thought a news show should have integrity and be about actual news (soooo behind the times), therefore I was fired on the spot and the report pulled from the broadcast.

Unfortunately, they had nothing to replace it with. Which meant Fern and DinenageFred (pictured left) had to limp along with nothing. It was horrible. As I was escorted from the building, I glimpsed the broadcast on a TV in reception. F and F were busy gibbering about their vacations and where they planned to go that year, desperately trying to fill the unexpected three-minute gap that had just been sprung on them. I’m guessing it was the longest, most excruciating three minutes of their entire lives. Still, I felt no remorse.

Come to think of it, all the other times I ventured into TV news were rubbish too. In the end I realized that I would never cut it as a reporter.

That, though, was not until after I’d been recruited as “fresh on-air talent” by CNN. This was a few years ago and lasted only one day, after bosses CNNdiscovered that the report I’d put together didn’t contain a single fact. Not one. Instead, it was really more my opinion of things interpersed with pithy asides. Which apparently, is not what CNN’s about. Maybe this explains why it trails several points behind Fox News in the ratings each week. Because Fox News, as we know, isn’t news at all, it’s just people giving their opinion about things, interspersed with pithy asides. Once again, I was ahead of the curve. If only these dim executives would listen.

But anyway, dire experiences like that have equipped me well to appreciate  the horror – the horror, I tell you – of live TV when I see a news reporter struggling with unforeseen mishaps. Which is what happened to this poor guy, Steve Ryan. During a live report about Michael Jackson from the Vegas Strip, a drunken doofus emerges out of nowhere and tries to eclipse his act, eventually driving him to violence.

It manages to be both funny and tragic all at the same time. Enjoy.

TV Swami – he say YES to slapping doofuses.


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Filed under Television commentary