Drama during live news programming

Here’s a thread devoted to dramatic events during live news broadcasts.

Let’s begin in California. In 1987, the son of a former KNBC contributor who had been invited to the set as a guest pulled out a gun – a fake one as it turned out – during a newscast and demanded that the consumer reporter read out his statement:


Tim Bailey getting beat up


Could we consider the Sydney Siege during The Morning Show one?

There was a fire at Martin Place in 2009 during The Morning Show, so they went outside. The Morning News was given the OK to stay inside.
Can’t find a video online, must’ve been deleted.
Also, someone went through the barriers at Rockefeller Plaza whilst NBC Today was outside in 2011, surprising Meredith Vieria (but with a rather calm response from Al Roker). They cut to Ann Curry to bring the news.

Video does work

Coverage from KNBC in Los Angeles just seconds after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, which left dozens killed and thousands injured:


Also the 1989 San Fransisco earthquake during the World Series baseball game.

Includes the earthquake hitting then cutting to a local news affiliate, with good coverage.

Various instances of live reports during the Gulf War coverage including, incoming missile warnings, gas masks being applied, reporters shuting down interviews.


Another on-air hostage-taking; this one happened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1982. Because the gunman brought a portable TV set with him, the station was unable to go off the air without endangering the anchor. More than five hours later, the gunman finally surrendered.

You can go the 22:25 mark for coverage of the incident as seen on that night’s news – including the first minutes of the hostage-taking.


An approaching tornado forces the on-air evacuation of a TV station (the picture briefly breaks up just before the call to evacuate is made):

The BBC reports on an invasion of the news set by LGBT protesters in 1988. The protest happened at the beginning of the 6 p.m. news; the report is from that night’s 9 p.m. news – and it’s followed by a clip of the disrupted newscast itself:

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When an earthquake strikes Japan (w/ English subtitles; the first alert appears at the 0:15 mark):

A 1992 earthquake hitting live on CNN’s air:

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