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Worst Open Ever? Or Just Your Basic Midday Show Meltdown?

The headline on the Huffington Post did what most HuffPo headlines are designed to do:  it got me to click.  The header read: Is This the Worst Newscast Opening Ever? What follows, and you can see it for yourself below, is a truly horrific right-out-of-the-gate disaster from San Diego. Cringeworthy, but very, very funny.

And then it hit me:  most of the major meltdowns I've been involved with have happened on midday shows. You can make a good argument that it's only logical, given less experienced producers, overtired morning crews just seconds away from packing up and going home, and dayside crews who'd rather be having lunch.  Oh, and the most important factor of them all: management usually isn't watching.

I'll never forget a legendary story from a producer buddy of mine at my old station in Birmingham, Alabama.  He'd been producing his first show at the station, and disastrously mistimed the noon show.  He was on IFB urging the anchors to chat. Chat about anything. Check back in with the weather guy. Got weekend plans?  How about that Crimson Tide?

They ultimately talked themselves out, and there was a lot of time left.  Cue the cart with the news theme, do a slow pull from the anchor desk, cut to the tower cam, yadda yadda.  It went on so long, the music cart ran out.  And started over.

My friend was convinced the walk into the newsroom would lead directly to his firing.  He walked in, ready to take the drubbing, and realized nobody in the newsroom had even noticed. Monitors on, nobody watching.

So buck up San Diego, other than everyone on the internet, nobody saw it.  Damn that YouTube.

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