9 magnificent on-air spats between TV news anchors
A masterfully passive-aggressive feud at Philadelphia's CBS 3 is only the tip of the iceberg in dysfunctional anchor-desk relationships
"CBS 3 anchor Nicole Brewer really doesn't like weatherwoman Carol Erickson," says Simon van Zuylen-Wood at The Philly Post, pointing to a video highlight reel (watch above) of the two women conducting what he calls a "master class in highly public passive-aggressive behavior" on the network's morning news show.
The video compilation starts out with Brewer, a former Miss Pennsylvania, giving a golf clap to Erickson, asking, "Is that good enough, Carol?" It goes downhill from there. The video is "a lock for the Local News YouTube Hall of Fame," says Joe Coscarelli at New York.
With all the pressures of live TV and the conflicting personalities of driven news celebrities, these sorts of dust-ups are not that uncommon. And they are out there for the world to see and collect. Here are eight other cringe-worthy fights behind the anchor desk:
"Go back on vacation"This nicely annotated clip from WGN in Chicago starts out awkwardly, when Morning News host Robin Baumgarten gets upset with co-anchor Larry Potash's flubbing of a story. Larry walks off set. It only gets better from there.
"I was your boss"This verbal slap-fest between two old news pros at New York's WNYW is a classic of the genre. In 2001, Good Day New York reporter Dick Oliver was reporting on a fight between tenants and their landlord in a Manhattan apartment building, and anchor Jim Ryan was not impressed. "If I have to teach you how to be a reporter, Ollie, I'll do that later," he says. "I'll give you some lessons in how to be an editor," Oliver retorts. For the rest of the segment you learn more about the two men than about the housing situation in the Chelsea apartment complex.
"Let me talk, Carol!"During 2005's Hurricane Katrina, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers threw a small fit on air. While he was trying to explain some weather pattern, anchor Carol Costello piped in: "Chad, Chad, Chad..." That's when Myers threw down his notes in frustration. When Costello asks for a translation for laypeople, Myers snaps: "Well if you would let me talk!" Luckily for him, this was at 4:30 in the morning. Unluckily for him, YouTube:
"Just shove off"Maybe there's some innate tension between news anchors and TV meteorologists. In this video from Indiana ABC affiliate WPTA, anchor Melissa Long complains about some hot weather forecast by weatherman Curtis Smith, since a local parade is on Saturday morning, "and we don't do 90 with that." Smith points out that he's only forecasting 87, and that's in mid-afternoon. "The parade is, you know — since you've been in it, 43 times — is in the morning."
"Well, Mark, you would know about that"Sports broadcaster Mark Aiston, at Australia's Ten News at Five, never got to respond to a low-blow joke from anchor Belinda Heggen. Aiston was talking about Andrew Strauss, the captain of England's cricket team, showing off the world cup trophy in London. He set Heggen up, unintentionally, by talking about the tiny urn-like trophy. "Belinda, I just can't understand how something so small could be so impressive," Aiston says. The punchline practically wrote itself, and Heggen delivered it with icy gusto.
"I'm doing what maybe you should do: Be a reporter"Financial news has its share of drama, too — even if Jim Cramer isn't involved. Here, Charlie Gasparino and Dennis Kneale go head-to-head about Citibank and its then-CEO Vikram Pandit. Kneale throws some digs Gasparino's way about a story he wrote online, prompting the above retort from Gasparino. Kneale suggests that it might not be so good for CNBC's brand for Gasparino to "impugn the reporting skills of your colleagues."
"Jane, you ignorant slut"Real on-air fights are entertaining, but it would be remiss to leave out the greatest fictional anchor-desk spat of all time. The movie Anchorman has some great verbal sparring between the rival anchors played by Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate, but nothing beats this classic Saturday Night Live point-counterpoint between Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd:
And now for some actual newsroom fightsNot all the spats behind the anchor desk are merely verbal. The backbiting in U.S. newsrooms looks pretty tame in comparison to this global highlight reel of newsroom fisticuffs.