We are all lovers and slaves to the big square that takes up a large corner of our room. It dominated family time and whittled down our leisurely hours as we absentmindedly stared at it for decades. Live TV is one of the benchmarks of broadcasting and has shared some iconic moments with us. It has had a profound and unifying effect on humanity in sharing a myriad of spectacles with us, such as the Moon Landing, The Fall of the Berlin Wall and other such seminal incidents in 20th century history and up to this modern day.
However, a live TV broadcast is being shown to viewers as it happens. There is no safety net for slip ups and accidents. Therefore, if something ends up going wrong, presenter and camera operator have only their wits to see them through (how suspenseful!). An embarrassment is recorded for an audience of potentially thousands to millions to gawp and laugh at. What’s more, there’s always the constant risk if one is filming in public of the general public, passers by who are as unpredictable as the fate of a hapless reporter/presenter. These are photo bombers, rowdy drunken revelers, or just an awkward individual who will refuse to get out of shot. Live TV is not a thing to be undertaken lightly; here is a list of those who have fallen afoul of its whimsical curse.
10. Harry Belafonte Snoozing On Air
The legendary Jamaican singer and actor has had an illustrious career and has been a linchpin throughout the decades of music; he was even active during the Civil Rights Movements. Therefore, so much in one’s schedule is enough to make one a little tired. Dozing over the events of his life after publishing a memoir, awaiting an interview on a news station in New York, the singer drifted off and was deep in the land of nod. Perhaps he’d taken the opening line of one of his songs literally: “work all night and a drink o’rum!”
9. Grape Lady
As if watching someone stomp grapes barefoot isn’t annoying or funny – in a weird sense – enough (thankfully they have more modern practices for pressing juice from grapes now). Whilst reporting for Atlanta Fox 5, the news reporter is stomping grapes and covering a piece on a nearby chateau. Although she gets a little carried away and takes a tumble, what’s funnier than the fall itself is the blatant overreaction of her stumble. Her moans and groans emanate from beneath the bemused view of the camera that once framed her a moment ago, as though she has received a mortal wound on a battlefield. Thankfully there is plenty of wine on standby to ease her pain!
8. Man Drops Brand New iPhone on the Floor
Whenever a new Apple product comes out, there is pandemonium of epic proportions. The frenzied grab for the latest bit of Apple’s technology is often newsworthy for shock and amusement value alike, none more so than Jack Cooksey’s mishap!
The unfortunate resident of Perth, Western Australia, no doubt along with his iPhone loving peers, had queued up outside the store in his city to have the rather honor of owning one of the first iPhones in that part of the world. A reporter for morning TV was on hand to record the fact that he was overjoyed with his new, wonderful smart phone, only to proceed to do something really dumb in front of his whole nation.
Overwhelmed with excitement at his new purchase, he seemed to lose all equilibrium and dropped – and ruined – his phone onto the hard pavement below. Not even the legendary Steve Jobs could have done anything to rectify that cruel mistake!
7. Kanye West & Taylor Swift
It is almost a certainty nowadays that any compilation or list running down silly or embarrassing incidents will include Kanye West at least once! This instance is generally regarded as the piece de resistance of his ludicrous outbursts.
At a glamorous awards ceremony full of the most powerful and wonderful of pop’s glitterati, rising star Taylor Swift won her first MTV Video Music Award. Her acceptance was in full flow when she was accosted by an unhappy Kanye West. The rapper proceeded to snatch the microphone from Taylor Swift and berate her and the awards’ judges for their choice in who was bestowed with Best Video. To his disgust, Taylor Swift was an unfair recipient of the award and he felt it should have been given to Beyonce instead. Beyonce watched awkwardly, whilst everyone on stage observed in shocked silence.
6. Adult Toy Photo Bomb
Photo bombs are an inevitability of live TV on location shoots. One day that is a gauntlet of irritation for a news reporter is the Premier League’s transfer window deadline day in the UK. The day indicates the last day soccer teams can sell players in between clubs and it is a hectic day of sports reporting. Cue a legion of presenters outside stadiums clogged with rowdy fans and things are definitely set to get funnily awkward!
One reporter covering transfers at the Liverpool based soccer club Everton was highly shown up by raucous Everton supporters, who shoved an adult toy into the presenter’s face live on air! The broadcaster in question, Sky News, received numerous complaints from reporters losing their temper with boisterous fans and were caught swearing on live TV!
5. Sue Simmons, NBC
NBC anchor Sue Simmons delivered the headlines with her co-anchor as an audience awaited in anticipation. They did not, however, expect the surprise in the form of the F-Bomb Ms. Simmons dropped live on air. Images were displayed over the screen as she ranted at something or someone and she was later forced to issue a chagrined apology for the very vocal gaffe that was doubtlessly heard by millions. Way to screw up reading from a teleprompter!
4. Fox News Fails
The cornerstone of journalism is supposed to be tirelessly researched and well documented and referenced information. This information is then faithfully and honestly relayed to the public who should be satisfied that their media sources are delivering concise and honest news directly to print or TV screen.
Yet the Murdoch brand of news offers a different slant, cheap sensationalism, political pandering and often, downright lunacy. Their live rolling news broadcasts have been and continue to be baffling to anyone with half a brain and a modicum of desire for the truth. One minute their maps remove geographical features entirely (such as the River Nile, how the largest river in the world is lost is a mystery), to confusing a congressman with a congresswoman and even describing a guest being interviewed as a string of ineligible letters on the banner underneath.
Fox News is often the brunt of relentless ridicule from other, more reliable media outlets and the general public alike, but when glaring errors such as misspelling education on a live news feed to bizarre headlines asking if sex with underage boys is okay, anyone can tell such ridicule is more than a little well-founded.
3. Reporter Swallows Her Own Snot Live On Air
The only controversy was supposed to be the lurid on stage performances of singer Miley Cyrus. The outrage was set to the appropriate level and the reporter was ready to fan the flames with her clucking tongue of disapproval at the salacious gyrating of the young popstar, to be broadcast over the Oakland region in collective conservative outrage… yet a nasal malfunction stole the show.
In a bizarre twist that even Miley Cyrus wouldn’t sink to, WVTU Oakland reporter Heather Holmes allowed nothing to stop her reporting – not even a stray river of snot that erupted out of her nose and ran down her face, into her mouth. They wanted controversy, they ended up with sheer grossness.
2. George Galloway
Appearing in the UK edition of Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, disgraced former UK Member of Parliament and one time close chum of Saddam Hussein, George Galloway, sunk even lower than fraternizing with a former dictator, by performing a freakish and skin crawling impression of a cat! Not only creepy for the spine tingling realness of the whole act, it was more so because the convincing acting, carried out with co-housemate, actress Rula Lenska, seemed to amuse the former politician to no end, as though he was carrying out some odd fetish.
A weather channel forecasting Hurricane Irene meets another storm instead, in the form of a tempestuous bunch of streakers thundering past the camera, as if being weather beaten was not bad enough! These insane guys are not only running amok in a hurricane, but are doing so naked and the full frontal eye of their streaking storm is caught directly on camera!