With the advent of HD broadcasting and the increasing popularity of widescreen TVs, the TV news industry has had to make adjustments. Stations have erected new, HD-optimized studios, photographers have had to learn new equipment, and anchors have had to change their makeup.
One seemingly unforeseen change associated with the wider aspect ratio, though, is that morning anchors can no longer secretly flip the bird during a newscast.
KPRC anchor Owen Conflenti found this out on Monday morning when his passing middle finger salute was captured within the wider frame. Around 9:20 a.m., as Conflenti welcomed viewers back from a commercial break, he nonchalantly raised his middle finger in the direction of someone off-camera. He continued on as if nothing had happened and for those watching the news update on a 4:3 screen, nothing appeared to have happened.
Several blogs picked up the incriminating 16:9 video and some have speculated that Conflenti had been suspended by the Houston NBC-affiliate. Fortifying the suspension rumor was the fact that Conflenti was missing from Tuesday’s morning newscast.
It turns out, though, that Conflenti was absent Tuesday morning because he was traveling to Dallas to cover the Super Bowl.
TVSpy spoke with KPRC’s VP of News, Deborah Collura, and, although she had “no comment” about the errant middle finger, she confirmed that Conflenti was out covering the Super Bowl as scheduled and said that he appeared on this morning’s newscast with a report from the Dallas area.
Conflenti emailed TVSpy this morning to say that he was indeed in North Texas doing pre-Super Bowl stories. “As you probably assumed, I can’t comment,” he wrote.
And without further ado, here is the incriminating widescreen video:
(Video can also be seen here).