We have a lot of fun on "Weekend Live." We believe in taking the news seriously, but not ourselves. I am surrounded by a team of producers, writers and technicians who take the job seriously, but who also believe it is their duty and responsibility to bust my chops whenever its seems appropriate.
I have a theory about news. News should mirror life. Life is not made up solely of death, destruction and dire events. And the programs we plan should accurately reflect the good and the bad, the ups and downs. Life is also about laughter, so we look for those occasional stories that will give everyone a chuckle.
The editorial process begins with a raucous meeting on Wednesday where we discuss story and interview ideas. We often gather in a little conference room just outside Brit Hume’s office (this no doubt irks him endlessly because we are a little boisterous). This is a no-holds-barred session where the exchange of ideas is intermixed with good-natured barbs and insults. I wish you could be there because it is a rollicking good time.
In a way, you are there, because we talk about you all the time. When we talk about an idea for the program, the conversation quickly turns to a discussion of whether you, the audience, would find a certain topic informative or interesting. Is it something that would resonate with you? Is it a topic that impacts your life? Is it something that you would find compelling? Is it something we have a responsibility to tell you about even if it doesn’t really have a direct effect on your day-to-day existence?
Of course, it’s hard to know on Wednesday what will actually be news on Saturday and Sunday. So we keep meeting through the week. Many adjustments are made to the final show plan to accommodate for new stories or developments in the stories we have been following. We often rearrange what we call the "A block” of news moments before the show starts.
Many people ask me, “Do you actually write everything you read?” The answer is no, but I do edit almost every piece of copy that is written for me. Sometimes I tweak a word or two. Sometimes I rewrite the whole story. Sometimes I go back to the team for clarification. But when we go to air, I have been deeply involved in the writing of the final scripts.
And with any luck at all, we throw away the program we have been working on for days in favor of breaking news. Breaking news is news that you did not know was going to occur — news that just pops up in the middle of the program. You didn’t plan for it. There is no way you could know it was coming, but now you have to deal with it.
Breaking news is the greatest challenge an anchor faces. I love it. The pulse quickens and the mind focuses as you shift gears from reading to ad lib mode. Often we have only the barest tidbits and I have to keep talking while the worldwide resources of FOX News scramble to gather additional information.
In the old days, the audience never saw much of this news gathering process. Now you have a front row seat as we put the pieces together. My goal is to speak only what we know to be fact and to not speculate beyond the facts. In those initial minutes, all you can do is draw upon your wits and your experience to get you through until details of the story become clear. FOX News has become very adept at reacting to breaking news, so usually it isn’t long before we start to hammer our the pertinent details of the breaking news story.
We’re in the process of planning "Weekend Live" for this coming Saturday and Sunday. I hope you’ll join us and see how it turns out.
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"Weekend Live" hosted by Brian Wilson airs 12 – 2 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.