Friday, May 01, 2009

Spotlight Article: Thou Shall NOT Cut-In to the Kentucky Derby!

For our longtime readers, you'll remember this story from last year (and the year before). If you are a new reader to the "Director's Cut" blog, I invite you to share a story that will forever haunt me about the Kentucky Derby ---

Originally posted: 5/2/07

This Saturday is the big Kentucky Derby...a day that brings back some wonderful memories of how NOT to do a breaking news cut-in.

As a cloud of black smoke drifted over downtown, we thought we were onto a big story. Could it be a major fire... an explosion... something crashed or blew up? We were convinced we were onto something big. Really big. The smoke was getting thicker and the adrenaline began to flow.

The producer alerted me and the crew to stand by to do a breaking news cut-in.. The control room crew all raced into position. We were ready to go. The only problem was that the Kentucky Derby was still on and we didn't dare to cut-in.

So the decision was made to wait until the winner crossed the finish line...then we'd go.

We waited and waited...and finally - down the stretch they came... and over the line.

The producer says go - so we went...

To my horror, two very bad things happened... one was the reporter on the scene came on the air and told us that a junkyard was on fire... a "tire fire" as it became known. Who cared...

The best part of the story was that after the horses crossed the finish line, there was a controversy that ensued and we missed showing it to the viewers because we weren't really listening to the show, just watching the video at the time before we did the cut-in.

The phone lines rang non-stop for HOURS...every manager's voice mail was filled...there were plenty of meetings the next day...and let's just say, some folks moved on in their careers.

It's a fun directing story that I think about every year about this time.

NEVER....NEVER cut in to the Kentucky Derby.

Enjoy the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. For more info: