If your Thanksgiving holiday travel took you to North Dakota – specifically the Bismarck or Minot area – then you likely found a surprising treat when you tuned into the local CBS affiliate’s Saturday evening newscast. There was legendary newsman Ron Burgundy sitting at the anchor desk, ready to read all the local news – including exciting reports on Black Friday shopping and downtown holiday decorations – with the usual cast of anchors, sports reporters and meteorologists. If your travel plans didn’t include the northern plains, our colleagues at PBS NewsHour have the full 30-minute newscast streaming for you to watch on their Rundown Blog.
Sure, Will Ferrell’s unannounced appearance at the KXNews desk is an obvious marketing maneuver for his new film, Anchorman 2, which will be released at Christmas. But, with no explanation and a full half-hour of Ferrell playing Burgundy straight in his role as a seasoned anchor, this might just be my favorite viral ploy yet.
It’s also not the first time that Ferrell has taken to local media to drum up excitement. Just a couple years ago he agreed to make a series of TV advertisements for Old Milwaukee, with one caveat – the ads could only run in the local TV markets where he filmed them. The result was a collection of hilariously eclectic ads that started appearing on YouTube from viewers who were caught off guard by the SNL actor in their city – like this spot with Ferrell bicycling and singing the beer’s jingle in the streets of Milwaukee.
So, with Ferrell, err Ron Burgundy, on the loose and making unexpected visits to American newsrooms, perhaps Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff better watch their spot on the NewsHour anchor desk with this hot talent on the market. Maybe WPT should make a pitch to ask Ferrell to join Frederica Freyberg for Friday night’s Here and Now. We’ll head up to the studio right now and make room for him on the set!
“Here’s the problem with you two – you’re very very level headed.” – Stephen Colbert.
Last night, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill took a spot in the hottest seat on television when they visited Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. The two PBS NewsHour co-anchors traded friendly barbs with Colbert about the need for an hour of news when network nightly newscasts only run 30 minutes (minus commercials, Coblert noted), the importance of in-depth reporting and whether they plan to follow Colbert’s pitch to see Shields and Brooks step away from their commentary desk to battle hand-to-hand in a pit.
But, Ifill might have had the most telling point of the discussion when she said, “I spend a lot of time on college campuses where students say to me, I only watch Colbert or I only watch (The Daily Show with) Jon Stewart. You know what I tell them? You two guys watch us to find out what’s real.”
Watch the funny interview right now below (and tune into the NewsHour each weeknight on Wisconsin Public Television or online any time.)
WPT Reporter Zac Schultz just returned from Tampa with a suitcase full of video. At 7:30 tonight, Here and Now will feature Zac’s reports, including an interview with Senate Candidate Tommy Thompson. But, you can see that and a lot more now in the WPT Video Player.
After the long holiday weekend, the nation will shift its focus to Charlotte, N.C. where the Democrats will hold their national convention. WPT is giving Zac some needed rest and will send Here and Now Anchor Frederica Freyberg to Charlotte to cover the convention. Same as last week, you’ll be able to follow coverage by WPT and Wisconsin Public Radio, including blog posts by Freyberg, at WisconsinVote.org.
PBS NewsHour will have nightly gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Democratic National Convention beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tune in on-air or online where you’ll be able to see multiple streams from the NewsHour.
Tropical Storm Isaac may have delayed the official start to the Republican National Convention, but Wisconsin Public Television and PBS made it to Tampa, Fla. on time, and we have plenty to tweet, post and broadcast. Here are the many ways that we’re keeping you informed on all the political happenings in Florida.
You can visit pbs.org/newshour for a 24/7 mulit-channel livestream. See what’s happening both in the convention hall and behind the scenes in the PBS NewsHour workspace. And watch Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff’s gavel-to-gavel coverage online or on-air beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday.
For the latest news from WPT and Wisconsin Public Radio, be sure to visit WisconsinVote.org. There, you’ll also find a Twitter feed with posts from several WPT and PBS reporters covering the convention. And later in the week, watch for video from reporter Zac Schultz who is at the convention.
WPT’s Zac Schultz
Speaking of… WPT’s own reporter, Zac Schultz, landed in Tampa Sunday and all week he will be gathering stories from Wisconsin elected officials and delegates. Follow Zac on Twitter and read his daily blog posts on the Here and Now Update. He’s already hard at work. We saw him suiting up in the PBS NewsHour’s workspace. That’s him in the white shirt on the far left, just before throwing on his jacket. Send him your best @zschultzWPT