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Anchorman

Posted By Alex Belth On January 31, 2010 @ 9:16 am In Bronx Banter | Comments Disabled

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My old man used to drink with Roger Grimsby; I remember seeing Chuck Scarborough, taller and more athletic than I had imagined, waiting for the elevator at Lennox Hill hospital when I went to visit my grandfather. Anchormen and women are ubiquitous–they may change networks but they rarely go away–visual comfort food, local heroes.

There is a nice, long profile on Ernie Anastos in the Times [2] today:

Someone walked by and said, “Hi, Ernie! It’s nice to see you in person,” to which he shouted back, “It’s nice to see you in person!”

The city will see plenty more of Mr. Anastos, who has been delivering New York’s news — on four different stations — since 1978. Last month, he signed a new three-year contract with WNYW, the Fox station in New York, to anchor the two nightly newscasts and develop shows for the station, for more than $1 million a year. The extension followed the spectacular gaffe, on Sept. 16, that added Mr. Anastos to that motley assortment known as YouTube sensations. While bantering with the weatherman during the 10 o’clock news, Mr. Anastos said, “Keep plucking that chicken,” except the verb sounded an awful lot like an obscenity. He apologized on the air the next night, but a catchphrase was born. Jon Stewart replayed the clip; David Letterman got a laugh.

…There are other anchormen who read the news in their “I’m reading the news” voice. That is Mr. Anastos’s voice. When he tells his viewers about the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings in Texas, and when he reads his book to a gymnasium full of children, and when he dials the tavern across from the studio to order a plate of cheeseburger sliders, and when he calls his wife of 41 years, Kelly, and thanks her for packing him a muffin — it is all the same voice. It is deep and clear and practically devoid of slang, and not known to traffic in vulgarity, which made his on-air flub all the more noticed. It is easy to believe that Mr. Anastos has never, ever thought about doing anything of the sort to a chicken.

In an industry that has morphed from “And that’s the way it is” to something more like “Oh no he didn’t!,” Mr. Anastos retains a gray formality behind the ever-sleeker anchor desks, a tone of gravity laced with warmth and aw-shucks one-liners.


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[1] Image: http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Big-E.jpg

[2] a nice, long profile on Ernie Anastos in the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/nyregion/31ernie.html?scp=1&sq=ernie%20anastas&st=cse

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