November Sweepings

WOIO Cleveland wasn't the only station airing an eyebrow-raising news story during November sweeps—though anchor Sharon Reed's on-camera nudity probably takes the (cheese) cake. Given that she was taking part in one of photographer Spencer Tunick's portraits of group nakedness, Reed at least could claim she was doing it in the name of art. Other stations didn't have such ready-made alibis for their ratings quests. A few of our favorites:

On Nov. 18, KTVT Dallas morning anchor Shannon Hori reported on a “Bible diet” book and video series promoted by a church in Grapevine, Texas (what is the carb situation with manna from heaven?). WCAU Philadelphia meteorologist Amy Freeze—yes, that's her real name—produced a Nov. 19 story on the way weather affects food cravings. (See that cloud? Doesn't it look just like a pork tenderloin?) On a segment called “Trace Your Ancestors,” KPIX San Francisco anchors Dana King and Ken Bastida underwent DNA testing to find out where their ancestors lived 10,000-20,000 years ago. (King's distant kin may have been Middle Eastern, while Bastida's might have been Native American. Both were surprised.)

Also in mid November, both KCBS Los Angeles and WCBS New York launched hidden-camera investigations that must have had Mike Wallace firing off congratulatory notes. The journalists bought underwear, opened the packages, returned the underwear to stores and later surreptitiously filmed clerks re-stocking the same, potentially using underwear that had been returned. That's a violation of store policy—and common human decency. It's enough to make you “go commando,” quit your Bible diet… except the barometric pressure's dropping and, hey, a little snack would hit the spot.