Network news is thriving, but live TV ain’t what it used to be

Photo: The Late Show / CBS

Getting ready for your close-up looks a little different these days.

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing network TV stars to trade in high-tech studios and klieg lights for… well, basements and bathtubs.

The show must go on…

…but it can be hard to keep the camera focused. It’s only a matter of time before we get a repeat of one of the funniest live-TV moments in recent memory.

Meantime, on-air personalities are resorting to all sorts of DIY defense tactics to keep up appearances:

  • One CNBC correspondent turned a guest room into a makeshift TV studio — with a sign that tells the kids when it’s safe to enter.
  • The Fox News anchor Dana Perino distracted her dog with a jar of PB that was on its last legs.

But sometimes, TVFH goes off script

Last weekend, another Fox News anchor — Janine Pirro — went live with her first from-home broadcast. Her on-camera mannerisms were so weird that the internet speculated she’d had a few too many before the cameras started rolling.

Pirro and the network blamed technical difficulties — and Pirro herself told one critic to “Keep hating. U wear it well.”

Viewers don’t seem to mind a little static

Fox News just reported its biggest ratings quarter ever. 

ABC’s “World News Tonight” was the top-rated show in the US 3 out of 4 weeks in March, averaging ~11m viewers a night. And CNN — whose anchor Chris Cuomo is dealing with  a COVID-19 diagnosis himself — doubled its March viewership from last year.

Guess we can’t watch Netflix 24/7, right? On second thought… don’t answer that.