Some of you may not realize, before I was a news producer, I was a director. That’s right I jumped from production to news. There are lots of reasons but the main thing I loved about my job was the creativity. As the profession evolved, the creativity was taken away from the director and put in the producer’s hands. To be honest, I left TV altogether for a few years after being replaced by a computer. When I returned to news, I took on a producer’s role.
With all that boring stuff about me taken care of, I want to tell you about the time my weatherguy ate a man’s head on live tv.
Years ago, in my director days, we had a blooper. One of those unplanned moments that are a good reminder to viewers that we are live, and anything can happen. They make for fun compliations at our yearly Christmas party, and some clips become infamous.
It was the Sunday five p.m. show. Easily one of the least watched newscast of the week. My producer, Laura, was sitting behind me at the helm, I was positioned in front of our Grass Valley switcher. We didn’t have any live shots that afternoon, so it should have been an easy newscast. During the third segment, my anchor, Anita Cochran, was reading her story about whatever and suddenly, like the voice of God out of nowhere, my weather guy, Dave Freeman, is heard saying in the most ominous voice imaginable, “AH, I am going to eat your head, nom nom nom.” Anita stopped reading, looked a little lost for a split second. Smiled a little and said OK, then like the true pro she was, and still is, went right back to reading the story. The producer Laura is freaking out, “What was that!? – Was that on the air? – Was that Dave?”
Turns out Dave had a gingerbread man and decided to eat it while he was safely off camera. Just not off microphone. In his defense the audio person should have turned off the mic when the weather forecast was over. She apologized and the moment took its place alongside the other bloopers from that year.
I reached out to Dave, Laura, and Anita to make sure it was ok to use their names in the story. Laura didn’t remember it- it’s the mind’s way of clearing out bad memories. Dave reflected saying, “it was funny because I was clear back in the weather office when that happened. I had walked off set, closed the door to the weather office, and we thought we were well and good. But… the mic was left on for a few extra seconds… Learned our lesson–that led to Freeman’s Rule #27: Every mic is hot, every camera is on—always. Hahaha.”