10 Times Reporters LOST IT on Live TV

10 Times Reporters LOST IT on Live TV
This just in... Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the most noteworthy moments when reporters lost their professional composure in front of the camera, either for comedic, tragic or dramatic reasons. Our countdown includes moments involving hilarious footage, emotional interviews, near-death experiences and more!

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the most noteworthy moments when reporters lost their professional composure in front of the camera, either for comedic, tragic or dramatic reasons. What TV reporters have you witnessed losing their cool live on-air? Let us know in the comments below.

Quentin Sommerville

Making a news report right next to a burning pile of drugs may not be the best idea, especially if you aim to deliver a coherent piece. This realization seemed to dawn on the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, while he was filming a segment in Afghanistan. During the report, Somerville, apparently high from inhaling the fumes, barely makes it through the first sentence before he devolves into a fit of giggles. What follows is a series of takes that are, unsurprisingly, more challenging, as the reporter becomes increasingly more intoxicated. By their final attempt, Somerville is too far gone to get a single word out and even his camera crew sound like they’re similarly affected.

Kate Humble

The Adhan, which is the Islamic call to prayer, holds significant importance in the Muslim faith. The resonant call is broadcast five times daily throughout Muslim communities, and has a very poetic quality to it. In 2009, British journalist Kate Humble presented a four-part program for the BBC, which documented her journey across the Middle East, along the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia. While in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Humble stood on a rooftop and had the unique chance to listen to the harmonious call of the adhan emanating from over 30 mosques. The experience was so incredible that it moved her to tears.

Alex Savidge

Nothing makes you appreciate life more than a near-death experience. In 2016, while reporting on a train derailment in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alex Savidge, a journalist for KTVU in Oakland, California, found himself in a perilous situation. Live on television, a car suddenly swerved off the road, hurtling directly towards him. Savidge’s cameraman, Chip Vaughan, yelled at him to get out of the way, and he instinctively jumped to the right, narrowly avoiding the oncoming vehicle. The realization of his incredible luck overwhelmed Savidge with emotions, as he went back on-air after the incident. You could even hear his voice break while he expressed his gratitude to Vaughan for essentially saving his life.

Diane King Hall

Even the most composed individuals can fall victim to good old toilet humor. Take CBS News reporter Diane King Hall, for example. In 2019, her coverage of a story on downward tilting toilets took a quick tumble when she was overcome by an unexpected fit of giggles, mid-report. We’re not sure if it was the absurdity of the tilted toilet concept or the mental image of people falling off them that sent her over the edge. Regardless, despite her typical professional demeanor, Hall loses her battle with laughter and is unable to regain her composure. In the end, she just asks to be cut off. Let’s face it, even seasoned reporters sometimes need a break from ridiculous stories.

Zain Asher

In 2014, CNN correspondent Zain Asher had the unique opportunity to report on her own brother’s nomination at the Academy Awards. Asher’s brother, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, received a Best Actor nod for his performance in the eventual Best Picture winner “12 Years A Slave”. During her report, Asher got emotional as she shared the dedication Ejiofor had shown to his craft over the years. She also expressed just how special the long overdue recognition was for him and their family, as a whole. At one point, Asher apologizes for tearing up, stating that she’s “never cried on TV before”. But it’s an entirely understandable reaction, given how rare it is to have an Oscar-nominated brother.

Salman al-Bashir

In November 2023, Salman al-Bashir, a Palestine TV correspondent, delivered an emotional report outside a hospital in Gaza, where many victims of the conflict were brought. One of those was al-Bashir’s colleague, Palestine TV reporter Mohammad Abu Hatab. Hatab, who had been reporting live from the same location just an hour earlier, was killed in an airstrike alongside 11 members of his family after he returned home. The tragic news proved too much for al-Bashir, who broke down in tears and ripped off his protective gear. Even the TV anchor on the split-screen was visibly moved. Al-Bashir bemoaned the inadequate protection afforded to journalists and civilians, his impassioned pleas serving as a grim reminder of the harsh realities of war.

Mika Brzezinski

We’ve all had moments when we learn something that makes us burst into uncontrollable laughter. However, not all of us have encountered such a situation on live television. That was precisely the predicament faced by MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski in December of 2014. During a segment on “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski and her co-hosts were discussing a ‘furry convention’ in Illinois that was disrupted by a chlorine gas leak. At first, Brzezinski was puzzled about the exact concept of a furry. But when she was brought up to speed by her co-hosts, she completely lost it, eventually running off the set after failing to contain her amusement.

Sian Williams

“BBC Breakfast” presenter Sian Williams and her co-host Bill Turnbull interviewed stand-up comic Reginald D. Hunter about his show “The Truth”. Hunter, who is originally from the U.S. but has lived and worked in the UK for years, brought a touch of his American humor to the British panel. While he was being introduced, Hunter delivered a hilarious remark at Turnbull that tickled Williams and left her in stitches. Williams was so amused that she found herself tearing up with laughter. Despite her best efforts, she struggled to regain her composure, forcing Turnbull to cut out of the studio, to give her the time she needed to recover.

Sara Sidner

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to people’s daily lives worldwide. In the U.S., one particularly devastating consequence was the overcrowding of funeral homes, to the point where families had to find unconventional ways to lay their loved ones to rest. In 2021, CNN’s Sara Sidner did a report on one such family, who were forced to hold a funeral service in a parking lot. By the time the camera cut back to the journalist, she could only manage a few words before struggling to hold back tears. Both Sidner and host Alisyn Camerota, who was also visibly emotional, took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of following the necessary precautions to avoid facing similar heartbreaking situations.

Graham Satchell

In November 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, France claimed the lives of 130 people and left more than 400 people injured. BBC’s Graham Satchell was in Paris reporting on the aftermath of the attacks when he found himself overwhelmed with emotions live on-air. As he recounted the tragic events, as well as the resilience of the French people, Satchell struggled to contain himself, eventually losing his composure and cutting his report short. Once the cameras cut back to the studio, the journalist, who was clearly distressed, walked out of the frame. Satchell’s genuine emotional response resonated with viewers, many of whom commended him on social media for his brave and compassionate reporting.