Strangest Things Accidentally Filmed On TV

Broadcasting live on television can be a perilous thing, even when done in a closed studio. Even the slightest flub of lines or a botched performance suddenly becomes an indelible part of history, greeted with the simultaneous gasping of millions of surprised television viewers, and millions more asking friends and acquaintances if they really saw what just happened. A missed line or two can be shaken off and laughed away, but sometimes, things so completely bizarre occur that they deserve to be documented.

BBC reporter finds himself having to pretend a ream of paper is an iPad

Clearly, BBC reporter Simon McCoy is not a morning person. In an earlier broadcast, he seemed to be caught on live television taking a nap. (He said he was banging his head on the desk in annoyance, and honestly, we've all been there.) In this broadcast, he grabbed a stack of A4-size photocopier paper off of his desk, in lieu of the iPad he was supposed to grab. Being too proud (or too something) to admit his mistake, he just clutched that stack of printer paper for his entire segment as if his life depended on it.

ABC coverage of the World Series captures footage of an earthquake

In everyone's mind at the time, October 17, 1989, was already a momentous occasion. The San Francisco Giants were playing the Oakland A's at their home stadium in Game 3 of the World Series. In a few frightening minutes, however, they were about to make a different kind of history.

Only minutes into the opening of the game, a 6.9 earthquake ripped through San Francisco. It only lasted 15 seconds, but caused $7 billion in damage and killed 63 people. Phone and television broadcasts were cut off. However, the ABC Sports announcers found they were in a unique position. Because of their particular location, their blimp, and their back-up generators, they were able to continue broadcasting the aftermath of the earthquake. Even now, the Loma Prieta earthquake has been nicknamed the "World Series Earthquake" because of the particular circumstances that made it the first earthquake ever broadcast live on television.

CNN declares Al Gore winner of the 2000 election

"Let's get one thing straight right from the get-go," Dan Rather told CBS on the outset of the 2000 election coverage, "We would rather be last on reporting returns than be wrong." However, this didn't stop many news networks from declaring Al Gore the winner as early as 7:55 p.m. EST.

"We don't just have egg on our face," said NBC's Tom Brokaw. "We have an omelette."

It wasn't until two hours later, as votes continued to be counted, that it began to dawn on everyone that this vote was way too close to declare so early. Various news outlets wavered between possible winners until Fox News declared Bush the winner at 2:16 a.m. Even at that point, Florida still had not been officially declared.

That all meant that everyone had equal amounts of omelette on the face, but America loved watching it. Through the night, viewership was 225 percent higher than normal and the drama didn't end when the sun came up. Then, the recounts began.

News network mistakes an internet troll for an Al Jazeera reporter

John Hendren is a correspondence reporter for Al Jazeera English. Jon Hendren (without an 'h') is a denizen of what is called "Weird Twitter" and his Twitter handle is @fart. Clearly, they're very different people. In September 2015, news network HLN contacted one of them for an interview, where he would be treated as an expert on Edward Snowden. Guess which one they reached out to? Rather than turn down the offer, "@fart" Hendren agreed to appear on the show via Skype, where he proceeded to answer every question about Snowden with a rambling response about the mistreatment of Tim Burton film character Edward Scissorhands. The interview itself is amazing, and it's a marvel how both managed to keep a straight face as the discussion clearly unraveled around them.

A giant chicken turns a reporter chicken

Being a reporter is hard. Sometimes, you need to talk about death or war — other times, you need to talk about judging giant chickens. Somehow, this event turned into one of the most horrifying of this reporter's life, and for absolutely no reason.

He's holding what is, admittedly, a rather large chicken. He's discussing how the chickens are going be judged and then ... it happens. The chicken ... moves. We're not saying it that way to be otherwordly, merely to imply that its movement is just that — a very, very small flap of the wings, so small you can barely see when it begins. Yet, that little bitty movement makes this grown reporter man react like his grandfather's ghost just come back — he literally drops the chicken and runs away screaming. Not only screaming, but with his hands raised above his head, like he's a character in a children's TV show.

Maybe the reporter thought the chicken was dead? Fake. Who knows? Either way this is the best video on Earth and, if it were at all possible to get videos engraved on tombstones, we'd hope he'd get this one engraved on his.

Traffic news anchor winds up drawing... you see it, right?

Michigan traffic reporter Siobhan Riley was using an interactive traffic map to let viewers know about construction traffic zones when she wound up drawing... this. And yes, there are clearly problem areas circled, lines for alternate routes highlighted, and we're sure on some level this was a functional traffic map but she's never going to live this day down. It's pretty much an actual nightmare come true, but most nightmares don't end up on YouTube.

Chicago Fire's fake plane crash gets reported as real

Have you ever watched a TV show and thought, "Wow, that looks so real." If so, it probably wasn't Chicago Fire, a show whose creators, for one episode, needed to fake a plane crashing right on the road. So they cordoned off some of the Chicago streets (with permission) and put a fake-looking "destroyed" single flyer plane on the ground, and filmed it. However, someone else filmed it too, namely the real news. They didn't do it because they wanted to report on the cool TV show filming nearby — it actually thought the plane crash was real. And so, this news studio covered a completely fictional crash, totally straight, not figuring out it was a TV thing until like five minutes later That's fake news for ya!

The saddest canoe ride in the world

We get that being a reporter can be tough, what with all of the ratings wars going on. How are you supposed to compete with Facebook and Twitter, if not by overdramatizing everything? We're not saying the news shouldn't outright fake things — because, at this point, that's probably not something we can hope for — but at the very least, be good at faking it? Please?

See, in this video, a reporter is covering a flood by paddling around in her canoe, discussing how deep and impactful the rain was ... and then, you see two people just casually strolling in front of her. They're not demigods, it's just that the supposedly-deep floodwaters are actually only ankle-high. That's deep enough to get a canoe in — if you really try — but not actually deep enough to warrant an overly dramatic news story about it. But hey, it gets ratings! Hilarious, hilarious ratings.

Australian banker caught looking at porn while an executive is being interviewed

In 2010, Sydney's Channel Seven was interviewing an executive at Macquarie Bank to discuss interest rates. However, it appears not all the employees were given the memo. On the live feed, an employee can clearly be seen scrolling through various unclothed pictures of an Australian model. After speaking with a coworker on the other side of his computer screen, you can see the employee sheepishly turn around and acknowledge the camera with a shocked look. Busted!

BBC live interviews a man who was in the studio applying for a job

Job interviews are extremely stressful situations. Imagine if, with no expectation prior, your job interview was accidentally televised? Well, that's exactly what happened to Guy Goma, a British IT professional and business school graduate who applied for a job at the BBC. While he was in the reception area, a producer appeared looking for tech journalist Guy Kewney. Unfortunately for the unsuspecting Goma (who was probably nervous enough already), the receptionist pointed him out. Still thinking he was being directed to his job interview, Goma was rigged up with a microphone and shuffled into the television studio in front of the cameras. It was only when the interviewer addressed him as Kewney did Goma start to understand the situation.

Despite having no formal preparation, Goma spoke on the subject of the Apple Corps vs Apple Computer court case. He attempted to answer the questions asked to the best of his knowledge and remained in good spirits. The incident made him a bit of a celebrity for a while, but unfortunately, he didn't get the job. Really seems like he should have. You'd think that sort of on-your-feet resiliency would be a valuable job asset.

BBC reporter completely loses his cool when he spots a blue whale

BBC reporter Steve Backshall was on a boat near Monterey Bay recording a special called "Big Blue Live" about the migration of blue whales, so you'd think he would have prepared for the possibility of seeing one. You would have thought wrong. Despite the fact that this was exactly the sort of experience the reporter was there to be present on, his first glimpse of a blue whale in the wild sent him into childlike wonder.

Not that we blame the guy. Blue whales are the largest documented living thing to exist on this planet, even including dinosaurs, and the one he spotted was clearly two or more times the size of the boat he was on. We're talking about a creature that can weigh up to 200 tons, and that's something so big we can't even fathom it. We'd be awestruck, too.

BBC reporter directly confronted live by politician she was reporting on

BBC journalist Emily Maitlis was being recorded live at Westminster to discuss the assembly of Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet, which is somehow not a reference to either Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, or Star Wars. After a brief point about British Labour MP Dennis Skinner's absence from consideration for appointment in the Shadow Cabinet, Skinner himself appeared out of nowhere to confront her, which seriously isn't dispelling the idea that the Shadow Cabinet isn't some sort of weird magic thing. Maitlis snarkily rebuffed Skinner's interjection with an assurance to the audience this was real, honest-to-gosh breaking news, which then led to Skinner continuing on about Maitlis "spinning" the circumstance of his non-appointment. After she told him it was a joke, Skinner stormed off. It wasn't done yet, as he was comically followed by an aide attempting to retrieve a microphone he was still wearing.

CNN almost declares President Bush dead in 1992

President George H.W. Bush's ill-fated trip to Japan in January 1992 was already a pretty embarrassing escapade. So far, it's the only documented occurrence of an American president vomiting on a foreign dignitary, so this was already one for the history book (of regrets). Yet somehow, it almost turned out much worse. Over on CNN Headline News, anchor Don Harrison found himself staring at his teleprompter in disbelief. Hours before, President Bush had been forced to excuse himself after vomiting and falling unconscious. Now the prompter was saying he was dead. "This just in to CNN Headline News," reported Harrison, "and right off the bat, we have not confirmed this by any other source..." That would be News Media Oopsie #1.

But before he could complete delivering the terrible news, producers yelled at him, off-camera, to stop. Like, you could literally hear someone yelling "stop!" Bush wasn't dead, as you probably gathered by his still being alive. Relived, Harrison confirmed, "We are now getting a correction ... we will not give you that story. It was involving some rather tragic news involving President Bush. But updating that story, President Bush is reported resting comfortably." Yep, an update to a story that never actually broke.

So what happened? Bad work is what happened. The station had received a call from a man claiming to be Bush's personal physician, saying his patient had died. The phone operator ran with it, typed it into the teleprompter file, and sent it to the news desk. (That would be News Media Oopsie #2.) Only afterwards did anybody debunk the claim, which they did minutes later, sending producers scrambling down two floors from the control room as staffers downstairs were goading Harrison into reading the prompt.

Turns out the caller wasn't a doctor, but rather some random guy from Idaho. An elderly man named James Smith had made multiple calls to various news centers, each time pretending to be Bush's doctor. He was quickly visited by the Secret Service, and later admitted to a mental hospital. Good job, Secret Service — at least somebody in his story did something right.