By JAKE COYLE
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 31, 2007; 11:01 PM
-- In the 1987 movie "Broadcast News," Aaron Altman, played by Albert Brooks, has one shot at the anchor's seat, only to be beset by a rabid case of flop sweat. William Hurt's character, the slick but shallow Tom Grunick, later describes Altman's moist meltdown as unprecedented, "unless you count `Singin' in the Rain.'"
Nowadays, there's much precedent. Video-sharing sites like YouTube are ensuring that every TV anchor mishap is preserved and distributed. No, the onset of online video has not been kind to television personalities.
Reporting for a Ball State University news program, Brian Collins runs through the day's sports news in such awkward fashion that even Ricky Gervais would squirm watching: http://tinyurl.com/yc5x7b. Millions have now witnessed Collins' disaster and his catch phrase "Boom goes the dynamite" has become part of the lexicon.
Nearly 400,000 have watched a compilation of TV news bloopers on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/yw84wp. Among the videos included are the now infamous local news woman who falls hard while reporting on grape stomping, as well as Michelle Kosinksi's canoe paddling in ankle-deep flooding in New Jersey _ as seen on "The Daily Show."
Verbal slips can make a big splash too, like this local news anchor who introduced a segment on a blind mountain climber by accidentally saying he was gay: http://tinyurl.com/yy35eg. This anchor for Sky News misunderstood breaking news on playwright Harold Pinter: http://tinyurl.com/2bcthv. She announces he has died when he had in fact just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. What a comeback!
Some mistakes can look like outtakes from Will Ferrell's "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." Stephanie Soviar, reporting live for an NBC affiliate in Indiana, crashes an ATV in just seconds: http://tinyurl.com/2catju.
Cheryl Stewart for NBC's Portland affiliate attempts an ollie on a skateboard during an interview with an extreme sports athlete: http://tinyurl.com/27qbrt. When her trick doesn't go quite as planned, she receives scant assistance from the BMX bike pro.
Still others are remarkable for their peculiar tangents. NY1's Roger Clark is here seen segueing from a Manhattan traffic report to a James Earl Jones impression from "Coming to America": http://tinyurl.com/24ybkx.
And then there are the weathermen. Gesturing blindly at their green screens while attempting to predict the future, they have long been the most parodied figures of any nightly newscast.
King of them all is this Miami weatherman: http://tinyurl.com/j5z3q. A cockroach's seemingly innocuous decision to crawl up this man's leg during a live broadcast has resulted in the glee of hundreds of thousands.
This wannabe weatherman, giving the forecast for Ohio University Public Television, should be paired with Collins: http://tinyurl.com/yoc9bd. As a duo, their powers of awkwardness would be so great that they would power the Internet for years.
Still, you can't help but feel sympathy for the thousands of anchors, reporters and weathermen that populate our morning shows and local news programs. Without their pratfalls, flop sweats and catch phrases, YouTube would be a less joyful place.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ What's your favorite Web site? E-mail AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle at fcoyle(at)ap.org