The most recent episode of the revitalized "Saturday Night Live" featured a sketch involving TV's fictional News 3, Sioux City. The premise was based on the Midwest station running a promo calling their anchors "America's Most YouTubed News Team."
It cut to various clips from faux broadcasts where an anchor couldn't stop laughing at serious news, a sports reporter threw up, and a features reporter was attacked by a baby alligator and inexplicably reacted by shouting, "I'm gay."
The promo claimed News 3 had "9 million YouTube hits combined."
So it got me wondering: What are the most YouTubed TV news bloopers of them all?
A probe reveals a bevy of personal humiliations and meltdowns.
Two of the most infamous clips involve reporters suffering physical injuries.
There's Chuck Storm from Action News 5, who is shown in close-up doing a walk and talk for his "On the Beat" segment. Obviously, his attention is diverted from noticing the street sign he plows into face-first.
Another million-hit gem comes courtesy of a Fox 5 features reporter who tries out her talents at stomping grapes during a live remote. Those grapes prove slippery, and she tumbles from atop a platform, leading to some of the most horrific wind-knocked-out-of-her wailing ever captured on tape. (This bit got so famous it was actually parodied by Scarlett Johansson when she hosted "Saturday Night Live.")
More obscure culturally but equally popular on YouTube is the "Anchor vs. Reporter" clip. During a Fox 5 NY Good Day segment, a reporter is covering a tenant/contractor dispute. When the aging reporter ends the piece and kicks it back to the desk, the anchor asks if he could follow up on some of the questions that were left dangling. The reporter fidgets and questions why.
The anchor responds with, "Well, if I have to teach you how to be a reporter, Ollie, I'll do that later."
This then spirals into an incredibly uncomfortable professional argument between the two men while the interview subjects look on in amusement.
Then there's one simply titled "Worst Blooper Ever.
On a Mississippi CBS affiliate, a weatherman goes through his patter in front of digital maps unaware that the graphic underneath identifies him as "Child Molester."
Still, that bit only boasts 2 million viewers.
Surprisingly, the king of all live news bloopers isn't really a blooper at all.
At a whopping 7 million downloads comes a piece taped during a live festival in Portland, Ore.
A peppy newswoman is trying to catalog the fun she's having walking among patrons when she stops to talk to young Jonathan, a 10-ish boy who is made up to look like a zombie.
She says, "Back here live at the Waterfront village with my friend the zombie, Jonathan. You're looking good. Jonathan just got an awesome face-paint job. What do you think?"
Jonathan says, "I like turtles."
And that's it.
But it's a true case of you have to see it. There's something about the way Jonathan spouts the nonsequitur response with a mild speech impediment. Something about the way the reporter immediately abandons him after the comment.
Something about the fact he's dressed as a ZOMBIE.
The clip has taken on a life of its own, spawning parodies and music videos and even an interactive segment with Bill O'Reilly.
If only the reporter had then backed straight into a street sign ...