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WGN Chicago Reports Staged Plane Crash as Real

Chicago has some explaining to do after reporting live the morning of Friday, Nov.
, on a plane crash on the South Side of the city, which turned out to be
a scene being shot for NBC drama Chicago

Chicago Tribune reports on its corporate sibling:
"We are just getting
word that this is being shot as part of a TV show," anchor Larry Potash
told viewers.

"Are you kidding me?" said anchor Robin
Baumgarten. "They might want to tell the news folks that they're doing
this and shutting down King Drive. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? 29th
and King Drive, it's OK. It's all for a TV show, even though you see that plane
in the road."

The paper says WGN was apparently the only TV station to run
with the plane crash story, though station reps note that the competition was in network shows. The assignment desk at leader WLS heard about a crash, but staffers confirmed with the fire department that it was not real.

Said News Director Greg Caputo in a statement:

"WGN News received a number of viewer phone calls and tweets about an airplane crash on King Drive. Our helicopter was close by and was the first news helicopter to arrive on the scene. Based on police radio traffic, several officers in the area were similarly alarmed that there was a plane crash. We contacted Chicago Police, Chicago Fire, and the FAA seeking information. All of those public agencies said they had no knowledge of a plane crash. But none of them said that it was a scene from a movie."

Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department,
told the Tribune information about the staged accident was not widely
distributed: "It looks like it didn't get filtered down to

When it was revealed to be a harmless TV scene, Potash
deemed the would-be crash "a good news story."
Added Caputo:

"Less than two minutes later, while still covering the event, we learned that this was for a television show. Our anchors quickly announced that everything was all right and our irreverent morning news team quickly switched gears making fun of themselves with self-deprecating humor."

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.