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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: News Cliffhangers

Our friend Youngest of One wrote a pleasant little e-mail note to me this past fortnight. In it, he mentioned, “If you’re as avid a TV watcher as I am, you’ve probably noticed these ads for news programs that sound like cliffhangers. You know the ones, ‘We’ve found a weight loss program that could kill you, but which one? Find out at 11.'”

And crazily enough, I was lamenting over this issue JUST THE OTHER NIGHT.

(Da da dum!)

. . .

I, personally, find it extremely annoying that all the 10/11pm newscasts in every major city must sit around during the day in their news meetings and try to decide which “tag line” they’re going to use to keep most of the idiots out there (i.e. ME) sitting up for that story, which usually never airs until like the last 3 minutes of the newscast. These “interesting” tidbits of story always end up being broadcast after the sports and weather and right before the show ends.

You’d think I’d have learned that by now.

And it’s always the kinds of things you are amazed by. Although I can’t rattle off a huge list of past “teasers” off the top of my head, I can give you a list of intriguing news stories that I would be willing to bet you’d stay up for. Those include:

Two men lodged in a plastic tube, tonight at 11!

Don’t miss our indepth report on how weight loss in hamsters can translate to big bucks for you and your family!

Why potato latkes can make you smarter – coming up next!

Exclusive video of a hit and run accident caught on tape by an illegal alien who happened to be holding up a convenience store, all caught on tape, tonight!

Why space is not the next frontier, tonight.

Radiation posioning from a loaf of wheat bread? You won’t believe our report tonight!

Why someone you don’t know is watching you when you don’t want them to be watching you and why watching our special report about anonymous watchers will help you…all coming up next.

How oranges can help your struggling relationships bloom into exciting romances.

Cat got your tongue? Well stay tuned for a cat whose tongue is almost human!

Why scientists are suddenly admitting to being wrong – after this!

A whole town covered in a mysterious substance…our report next!

. . .

I would stay up for each and every one of those stories.

And it’s obvious to me and you that the news staff at your favorite station knows this. They must sit around at their morning meetings and have this coversation or something like it:

News Director: Ok. What have we got for our final story? Our hook?

Staffer #1: I have a clip of a guy eating a churro as he crosses a busy street…?

The News Director thinks, then-

News Director: Local law enforcement announces that churros are the leading cause of jay-walking homicides!

The newsroom goes wild.

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