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Wednesday night was pretty chaotic — just as we started the show and as I was headed to the Redwood City (search) set, my producer said, "Should we not stay another two days?" Today is a federal holiday and the jury is not deliberating, so we intended to jump the red eye last night... fly home all night... and do the show from D.C. tonight. Changing plans at that late hour for a show is not that easy. Not only do we have to make sure there is a crew to do the show from Redwood City tonight, but we have to get several hotel rooms and change flights.
I said, "OK, let's stay." With all the "surprises" in the trial and the deliberations, we want to be here in Redwood City on Friday when the jury once again deliberates. We are "hearing" there are more problems to come... I hope not, but if there are, we want to be here to get you the information first hand.
If you think changing plans from flying a show cross-country on a red eye to staying as the show is starting is awkward, nothing compares to what happened during the show. In what is perhaps the most awkward moment for me in my many years on television, I was told in my ear AS WE WERE COMING OUT OF BREAK AND STARTING THE LAST SEGMENT, "Arafat (search) died. You have to announce it. We are doing a FOX News Alert." Immediately I heard the animation sound for FOX News Alerts. I then immediately made the announcement of Arafat's death, but I had no more information and had no idea if we had a guest to discuss Arafat, etc. I did not know our plan — more on the Peterson case, or switch to Arafat? And if we are switching to Arafat, what are we doing? Guests? Phoners? Of course I knew that he was in a Paris hospital and had lingering near death for days, but I did not even know who was making the announcement. His family? The hospital? Palestinian leaders? I did not know the cause of death — I only had the information that he had died and that I had to announce it. And, of course, I could not ask my producer what we were doing since we were immediately on the air and you would have heard our conversation.
Of course I was prepared to discuss Arafat beyond the death announcement, since we all were aware for days that his death could occur any time… but instead noticed on the monitor on the set that our cameras had switched live to the scene in Redwood City where a truck was towing away the boat that had been planted across the street from where the media is. So I made the transition from Arafat's death notification to the boat in the Scott Peterson double-murder case. This was not an easy transition. Our show ended on schedule a few minutes later and FOX then went live with my colleagues on Arafat's death. This is the best example of live TV: You never know what will happen and everyone must be ready.
And don't forget to check out my photo essays from Redwood City!
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