TV personalities always have to audition for a job but they don’t usually have to do it live, in front of an audience of one million. But that’s what hopefuls had to do last week if they wanted a chance at becoming the next AOL Live news anchor.
In a rare opportunity for amateurs, AOL allowed anyone who was willing to be at the studio in New York by 5 am audition for the position. Hundreds of people from all walks of life showed up, many stopping by before heading off to their current jobs. There was an emergency room nurse, a taekwondo master, and a large number of musicians.
Some used their current skills to stand out from the crowd, like the children’s book author who read the news as if it was an episode of Romper Room. One very daring soul showed up in drag then sang his way through the audition.
Each candidate was asked to stand alone in front of a green screen and read news stories from a Teleprompter. Then they had to field a series of news and pop culture questions or play a round of word association (Kim Kardashian = Compass).
After watching one performance after another, you begin to wonder what it is you want in an AOL news anchor. Is an accent acceptable? Do you want someone who reads the news with the traditional deadpan style or would you prefer someone who gives an emotional read? If they look great on camera but can’t tell you what DOMA is, should they automatically be out of the running?
AOL asked streaming viewers all over the world to answer these questions by casting their votes on Twitter using the hashtag #aolanchorquest. According to Hashtagbattle, 564 people responded which isn’t that great considering how many people watched at least a portion of the streaming auditions.
The most surprising thing about the audition process was the large number of potential hires. There were quite a few people who were poised, well-spoken and looked great on camera. Of course, those aren’t the folks viewers tuned in to see. They tuned in hoping to catch the live train wrecks that often show up for an event like this.
Here’s AOL’s quick cut of the most interesting moments from day one of the auditions.
What Do You Think?
Would you audition to become an online news anchor if AOL ran these auditions in your town? Tell us about your ambitions in the comment section below.
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Photo: AOL Screengrab