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:

6 Likes

Tim Bailey getting beat up

7 Likes

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
4 Likes

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

4 Likes

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.
5 Likes

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

3 Likes

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.

6 Likes

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:

1 Like

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:

In 1990, a gunman forced the evacuation of WLS’s studios in Chicago. The news was broadcast from the station’s transmitting facility:

5 Likes

In 1983, NBC News’ Jessica Savitch, a high-profile but privately troubled news personality, anchored a primetime news update under the influence of what was almost certainly drugs or alcohol. (Bizarrely, her agent tried to pass it off as a Telepompter problem.) Later that month, as the network was contemplating how to deal with her issues, she died in an unrelated car accident.

3 Likes

I can’t seem to find it anywhere on YouTube but back in January 1995, the start of One Network News in New Zealand was delayed for about 15 minutes after Maori protesters managed to get into the news studio. From memory, they were upset over the amount, or lack thereof, of Maori news in comparison to the main bulletin.

1 Like
4 Likes

Two more live protests…

AIDS protestors interrupt a 1991 CBS Evening News broadcast:

In 1977, a group of Communist aerospace unionists (protesting New York’s ban on Concorde flights) occupied the studios of TF1 in Paris just as the headline sequence of the 8 p.m. national news was getting underway.

This report about the studio invasion aired the following day – it shows how the protesters startled the anchor, how the director then cut to a slide, and how the negotiations continued behind the scenes:

1 Like

So much for security. One could argue that people doing this are not doing their causes any good.

Any clips of the self interruption by Dan Rather in Miami, USA in 1987?

4 Likes

These videos may help:

4 Likes

That’s awesome. Thanks @Leo_Puglisi6

1 Like

In 2007, a car crashed into the streetside studio of WLS in Chicago during the 10 p.m. news:

4 Likes

Just in time! Scary. To stay on air the whole time as well, incredible by the host.

In 2007, two TV news choppers collided above Phoenix, live on the air, while covering a police pursuit. No one is the stricken helicopters survived. The accident promoted significant changes to chopper-based TV coverage, including the use of pool helicopters.

CAUTION: Disturbing video.

1 Like
Get Connected: Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter