Sweeps Unchained

Rad Berky got armed and dangerous. Carmel Cafiero got Joe Gersten. Ike Seamans got a heart attack. And we watched it all.

Best Chitchat Channel 6 anchor Jennifer Valoppi for her off-the-cuff intro to a story about how to impress your boss: "There's a word for that, isn't there?"

Most Alarming Quote Channel 10's Jennifer Snell, for her story "Carnival Convicts": "Before you send your kids off to the carnival for what you think will be a night of harmless fun, ask yourself this: Would you let a convicted murderer strap your loved one into a ride?"

Most Alliterative Title Channel 7 for "Same-Sex Selling," a story about how advertisers are targeting gay consumers.

Most Obvious Statement from a Talking Head Channel 6's Gail Montgomery, biofeedback specialist, for "The Fear Factor": "I think what scares people is anything they perceive that is a threat."

Best Title for a Talking Head Channel 6's Ted Smith, political correctness expert.

Best Battle Channel 10's Russian mail-order brides versus Channel 6's Colombian mail-order brides.

Oddest phrase Channel 4's Mark Hyman, during his story on the Metro-Dade Police Department's internal affairs unit. As he runs a tape of a bad cop shaking down a Liberty City drug dealer, Hyman intones, "In a moment there will be no distinction between good and evil in the Garden of Eden."

Weirdest crusade Channel 4's John Deutzman, for appearing to advocate censorship throughout his piece "Men Who Love Little Boys."

Born to Be on Teevee
Ike Seamans wasn't the only reporter to present personal life events as news. Several stations broadcast stories about staff members' new babies. Spanish-language Channel 23 featured the new fathers among its reporting crew in a piece entitled "Educating Dad." Channel 4 hyped a story celebrating the birth of Grant William, son of anchor Anne Roberts, whose replacement on the eleven o'clock news, Ileana Varela, ballooned during the course of the month with the imminent birth of her own baby.

And over at Channel 6, Jennifer Valoppi returned to anchor newscasts only five weeks after giving birth to Julian -- and only for sweeps. After the ratings books closed, she resumed her maternity leave. But the station made the most of her presence, heralding it with "Bouncing Back from Baby, Life Lessons," a piece about how Valoppi hired a personal trainer to lose the 50 pounds she'd gained while bringing Julian into the world.

Valoppi invited the trainer -- and all of TV land -- inside her bright home to watch her learn about her "fat-burning zone" and lie on her back with her knees lifted to her chest. Though there was no hidden video, there was a clear shot of the anchor's refrigerator, stocked with take-out food cartons and champagne.

Reporters at Channel 6 were so caught up in the birthing game during sweeps that Iliana Bravo felt compelled to file a story that bared her own medical secret -- she's infertile.

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