In other non-news . . .


March 09, 1995|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Staff Writer

One night on the 11 o'clock news:

11:00: Breezy opening theme. Splashy photo montage of city skyline interspersed with footage of Instant Action News team at work: anchorman in shirt sleeves striding confidently through the newsroom, anchorwoman typing furiously at computer, weatherman poring over charts, sports guy interviewing star point guard on basketball team.

Horns rise to crescendo. Off-camera voice of God intones: "This is Instant Action News!"

11:01: Uh-oh, anchorman looks grim. There's been a shooting. We go live to reporter Brad Smith on a grimy street corner.

Brad interviews police spokesman who says 60 bags of powdered cocaine were found on victim's body, along with a receipt that says: "Thanks for shopping the Medellin cartel!"

"Any chance this is drug-related?" Brad asks.

Spokesman says he can't rule that out. Brad nods grimly. "Back to you in the studio."

11:04: Anchorwoman has more bad news: Man with a shotgun has barricaded himself in his house. The house is surrounded by a heavily-armed SWAT team.

Reporter Jessica Jones interviews shaken neighbor who says gunman recently lost his job, had his wife walk out on him and was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"Well, there you have it," Jessica says, turning dramatically toward the camera. "As far as we can tell, nothing was bothering the man and neighbors could give no reason for this barricade situation."

11:05: Update on O. J. Simpson trial. Jury is again excused while Judge Lance Ito settles latest legal maneuvering between prosecutor Marcia Clark ("He's making faces at me!") and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran ("Am not! Am not!").

11:06: Scandal at City Hall. Embattled police commissioner is asked to explain alarming rise in homicides, assaults, robberies, prostitution and auto theft.

"If you're going to harp on every little thing . . .," commissioner says.

11:08: Time for an Instant Action News investigative report. Tonight: People who return videos without re-winding them. How bad is it out there? Instant Action News takes you behind the scenes.

Tomorrow: Overdue library books -- silent budgetary menace?

11:10: Lookee here, it's not all doom and gloom. Heartwarming story of Barney, 10-year-old basset hound with huge throat goiter accidentally left at rest stop on New Jersey Turnpike, who walked 1,500 miles to his home in Tribune, Kan.

Shots of tearful reunion with family. Grateful dad vows to have Barney's goiter surgically removed.

As footage ends, anchorman dabs at eyes with Kleenex.

"I . . . had a dog named Barney once," he says haltingly.

11:14: Pennsylvania couple who won $75 million playing lottery tell media they plan to screen in back porch and put rest of the money toward kids' college education.

11:15: International wrap-up: war rages in Chechnya, rioting in Gaza, a plane with 210 aboard crashes outside New Delhi.

Anchorman seems misty-eyed again. Genuine concern for Indian plane-crash victims? Or painful memories of Barney still flooding back?

11:19: Weather is next. Weatherman goes on and on about flooding in Ohio, blizzards in Minnesota, citrus crop-killing frost in Florida. I have one question: Is it gonna rain tomorrow?

11:20: Weatherman shows us radar map, area temperature map, cloud cover map. I have one question: Is it gonna rain tomorrow?

11:21: Finally, weatherman says: "And now for tomorrow's forecast . . ." What, so soon?

11:25: Time for sports. Sports guy is wearing last plaid sport coat on the planet, apparently bought at a Robert Hall's when he was 14.

"Hey, big game tonight!" says anchorwoman, feigning enthusiasm. Last basketball game she watched was during Nixon administration.

Sports guy launches into caffeine-fueled rap: Knicks edge Bulls, Suns trounce Rockets, no news on the baseball strike, Caps nip Penguins, blah, blah, blah.

Suddenly, videotape shows drunken hockey fan mooning crowd and sports guy says: "Hey, look! Our own Ted Morris was in the stands!"

Anchorman laughs good-naturedly; after the broadcast, he'll find sports guy's car and slash the tires.

11:29: Closing theme. Wide shot of news team pretending to chat amiably as credits roll. Inadvertent open mike captures sports guy saying: "Who cares about that stupid dog with the goiter?"

Fade to black.

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