Skip To Content

    Ranking Fictional Newscasters From "Give Them A Peabody" To "Pull Them Off The Air"

    And in tonight's top story, which anchor is bad at their job?

    The Morning Show is back for a second season on Apple TV+, and we are EXCITED about it.

    Apple TV+ / Via

    And watching all the hosts of The Morning Show backstab each other to try to keep their anchor chairs made me wonder, Who is the best fictional news anchor of all time?

    Apple TV+ / Via

    Bradley Jackson may have no answer to that, but I do!

    So I, in good BuzzFeed fashion, did a ranking of notable fictional news anchors according to how good they are at their jobs.

    Apple TV+ / Via

    A couple of ground rules: 1) Only FICTIONAL news anchors qualified, so if the movie/TV show was based on a true story (like The Insider or Bombshell, where actors play real people), they didn't make the cut. 2) I only included on-air talent, so all of the producers/camerapeople don't count. (Thats why Nightcrawler's Lou Bloom isn't on the list.) 3) This is for newscasters only and not journalists in general, so magazine editors/newspaper reporters/podcasters/radio DJs are not represented here. 4) For whatever reason, sportscasters in movies are almost always either cameos of real sportscasters or radio announcers/commentators, so sadly, there aren't many to be found here. (I wish I could have included Ranch Wilder.)

    Regarding ranking criteria, I tried to factor in only things that are directly related to job performance, so if they have an affair outside of work, that wouldn't factor in. However, behind-the-camera workplace behavior also plays a part here because they're still on the job. I also gave points for degree of difficulty. If their job is HARD and they are still excellent, then they are ranked higher on the list. 

    Are you ready to see where your favorite ranks?

    Apple TV+ / Via

    35. Diane Simmons, Family Guy

    Diane Simmons reads the news

    At the start she seemed like a perfectly fine news anchor (at least on camera, where she delivered the news competently). But then she revealed herself to be racist while on a hot mic (an easily fireable offense). And then she started dating James Woods (who we have learned is just a generally odious character). And then she proceeded to murder five people and try to blame it on her ex‚Äďco-anchor. So she's maybe good at reading a teleprompter, but certainly not a great colleague to have.

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    34. Herb Welch, Saturday Night Live

    Bill Hader stands with a microphone dressed as an old man

    Bill Hader's veteran reporter from New York (whose 71 years at the station make him at least 90 years old) is about as bad as you can get. In the hysterical series of SNL sketches, he's unprepared, doesn't ask relevant questions, spews out racist insults, and constantly hits people in the face with his microphone (the depth perception is not there). He also feels up interviewees and fakes his own death regularly to get more screen time. Shame on the network for keeping him on air. Two faked deaths, shame on me. Three faked deaths, shame on you. 

    Watch it now on Peacock. 

    33. Ron Burgundy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

    Will Ferrell sits with papers behind a news desk
    Dreamworks / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Yikes. Yikes. Yikes. Where do we even begin? How Ron Burgundy threatens to punch his female co-anchor in the ovaries? How he tells her to "go back to [her] home on Whore Island"? How he walks around the studio with a full-on erection? And even if you put aside the bevy of HR complaints racked up against him, there's also the fact that he will read absolutely anything that appears on the teleprompter, including, "Go fuck yourself, San Diego." Will Ferrell's Ron is a menace behind the camera and inadequate in front of it. Really not bringing a lot of redeemable traits to the table here as a newscaster.

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    32. Mitch Kessler, The Morning Show

    Steve Carell sits behind a news desk
    Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    For all intents and purposes, it does seem that Steve Carell's Mitch Kessler was good at his job. He was the host of the highest-rated morning show for 15 years. He was funny and charming and delivered the news. He was America's dad. The only wrinkle is that America's dad was using his position of power to force himself on half of the female TMS staff. So that kinda detracts from whatever skills he has as a journalist because he was making his co-anchors and coworkers uncomfortable. AND he doesn't really think he did anything wrong. So, yeah. Fine newscaster, but bad boss, and those things are very attached here. 

    Watch it now on Apple TV+. 

    31. Howard Beale, Network

    Peter Finch shouts in front of a wall of clocks drenched in a trench coat
    United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Okay, we got another one of these "good at his job until he wasn't" situations. Howard Beale (Peter Finch) was a newscaster for 25 years. He had the nightly news gig, so clearly he was talented and popular. But then he seems to have experienced a bit of a psychotic break that has turned him from reputable vessel of the news to prophetic vessel of the Lord. He wanders around town in his underwear, shows up on set screaming in a drenched trench coat, and claims he's going to kill himself on air. He's "mad as hell and ... not going to take it anymore," but I think a demure retirement dinner might have been the way to go. And since most of Network is about Howard losing his marbles, I have to rank him low. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    30. Bradley Jackson, The Morning Show

    Reese Witherspoon stands with a microphone in a gravel lot
    Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Oh, Bradley. She wants so desperately to be a "truth teller" that sometimes she ends up being an unhinged newscaster. Such as the time she shakes down a bystander, screaming about coal while she's on assignment. Or when she announces, unprompted, that she's had an abortion on The Morning Show. Or when she decides it would be a good idea to bring disgraced sexual harasser Mitch Kessler on air for an interview. While Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) brings some much-needed pep to The Morning Show, she's been fired from numerous jobs previously; and with a nickname like "Two Fucks Jackson" for dropping the f-bomb twice in a row on air, she seems like a potentially costly addition to your network, given the FCC fines she's bound to rack up. 

    Watch it now on Apple TV+. 

    29. Bruce Nolan, Bruce Almighty

    Jim Carrey interviews an older woman next to a waterfall
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    And while we're talking about FCC fines, here is Jim Carrey's Bruce Nolan, who, after being passed over for an anchor job, goes on a rampage on a Niagara Falls tour boat, insulting passengers and also spewing obscenities. Unlike Bradley's situation, this seems to be a first offense for Bruce after years of doing great work, but a newscaster has to keep their cool, and he certainly did not. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    28. Perd Hapley, Parks and Recreation

    Adam Scott and Jay Jackson stand in the back of a press conference
    Danny Feld / NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    If there were an award for nailing the newscaster cadence, it would go to Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson), Pawnee's favorite reporter. However, aside from nailing the voice, Perd doesn't bring much to the table. He states the obvious over and over again and seems to have a very loose grip on what is actually going on. He is the man who had never heard the phrase "putting your foot in your mouth." He also calls his fans "Perdverts." Don't love that. 

    Watch it now on Peacock. 

    27. Ted Baxter, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

    Mary Tyler Moore sits beside Ted Knight who is on the phone
    CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Before there was Perd Hapley, there was Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), another bumbling news anchor seemingly incapable of understanding common phrases and intent on using his newscaster voice at all times. Ted is arrogant but dumb, constantly screwing things up and reading information incorrectly. And despite his narcissism, he's also deeply insecure, constantly terrified that he will be fired for his mistakes. Luckily, he's got a strong team to support him, because alone, he'd be lost. 

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    26. Tom Grunick, Broadcast News

    William Hurt sits behind a news desk
    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Tom Grunick (William Hurt) is the third in the trifecta of dumb-but-sounds-good newscasters, along with Perd and Ted. His character on Broadcast News is hired basically only because he's attractive. He can read the news fine, but he is generally dumb and has to have information fed to him through an earpiece because he knows next to nothing about current events. He's slightly more competent than Perd and Ted, but he did also fake tears in a piece about rape, which is a big no-no and goes against journalistic integrity. So, yeah. He's rough. 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    25. Sally Langston, Scandal

    Kate Burton sits at a news desk

    Okay, to start, there is the tiny fact that then‚Äďvice president of the US Sally Langston (Kate Burton) stabbed her husband to death because he was gay. BUT technically, that all happens before she becomes the host of an extreme-right-wing news program called The Liberty Report, which she launches after losing her presidential bid. Sally runs a heavily skewed gossip show where she primarily slings dirt at other characters and tries to stir up trouble. She's not especially bad, but we'd love a few fact-checkers to vet these stories.¬†

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    24. Mike Pomeroy, Morning Glory

    Harrison Ford sits behind a news desk
    Macall Polay / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    As far as hard-hitting Cronkite-esque journalists go, Harrison Ford's Mike Pomeroy seems to be one of the best. However, he has been moved to a fluffy (a word he refuses to say) morning show instead, and his stubbornness is not serving him well. He's desperate to be pulled from the show (and still paid for his contract), so he is doing the barest of bare minimums. Not the team effort we're looking for, Mike.  

    Watch it now on Paramount+. 

    23. Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

    Bill Murray stands with a microphone in front of the groundhog stump
    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Phil Connors (Bill Murray) has gotten a bit big for his britches. He's a local Pittsburgh weathercaster sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover Groundhog Day, and he's having none of it. He's got contempt for the assignment and the town, and he's ready to ship out to a new job. Openly showing disdain on the air is not the trait of a great journalist. Sure, he learns and grows a bit by reliving the same day over and over and over, but I think you have to judge him based on his total performance here, and that is lackluster. 

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    22. Tricia Tanaka, Lost

    Sung Hi Lee doing an interview

    You can be great at your job without having to be rude. The ill-fated Tricia Tanaka (Sung-Hi Lee), who will be killed by an asteroid while standing in a chicken restaurant, seems to have missed this memo. She's on assignment to do a story about a lottery winner who bought Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, but she is NOT happy about it. While she is perky on camera, she quickly pivots to annoyed once the camera is off. She's not cussing out people on air, but she could be much more professional. 

    Watch it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    21. Charlotte Dennon, Elf

    Daniel Tay reads a book to Claire Lautier on air
    New Line Cinema

    Okay, Charlotte. It's coming across a bit as if you don't believe in Santa Claus, and that is NOT a good look for you. Charlotte Dennon (Claire Lautier) has recently been transferred from Buffalo to New York City, and her first story is about a crashed sleigh, but she's got a lot of disdain for the whole thing. Plus, she doesn't respond well to having her desire to get engaged exposed to the tristate area. Look, I'm sure she's great at her job or whatever, but if you're going to move to the city that hosts the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and you're going to refuse to have Christmas spirit, then that's on you. Be a grinch, but I'm gonna dock you points. 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    20. Avery Jessup, 30 Rock

    Michael Mosley and Elizabeth Banks sit behind a news desk
    Ali Goldstein / NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Originally a zany financial journalist for CNBC on a show called The Hot Box, Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks), while a journalist, is primarily Jack Donaghy's love interest for a few seasons on 30 Rock. She seems like a perfectly fine newscaster, although her questions can be a little too fast to follow along with, and she is a little rude to her guests. She is also kidnapped in North Korea and forced to do anti-American propaganda news. Now, I know I shouldn't judge her for that, but there are journalists later on this list with a lot more integrity (and who talk at a more understandable pace). 

    Watch it now on Peacock. 

    19. Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones's Diary

    Renée Zellweger sits at a computer
    Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Yes, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) does get a reporting job in the middle of her agonizing love triangle with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, but we don't see her do much actual reporting. She pulls off a perfectly acceptable TV interview regarding a high-profile legal case in one scene. In another, she proves herself game to climb up and down a fire pole for a shot. That being said, she misses one interview because she's buying cigarettes, and the fire pole entrance is anything but graceful. She does get more poised with experience, but she still seems pretty average as far as this list goes. 

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    18. Chet Ubetcha, The Fairly OddParents

    Chet Ubetcha interviews a man dressed up as a chicken

    Chet Ubetcha is your standard news anchor. He's got a prominent chin; a deep, booming voice; and coiffed hair. He mostly shows up on the television whenever the audience needs to corroborate something that Timmy Turner says, although plenty of the time, he's contradicting Timmy as well. All in all, he's perfectly fine at his job. He's just a little prone to exaggeration, and he doesn't seem super bright, as evidenced by this scene. He's just okay. 

    Watch it now on Paramount+.

    17. Aaron Altman, Broadcast News

    Albert Brooks sits at a news desk
    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Tom Grunick's rival and foil, Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), is not as attractive or anchorly as Tom, but he certainly knows a hell of a lot more and makes a much better journalist. The only issue is that an on-air anchor job is all about poise, something that Aaron doesn't possess. When he is given the chance to anchor, he sweats so much, the whole production becomes a disaster. He is a better newscaster than Tom, simply because he knows what he's doing, but he will never be great because he fumbles on air. And sadly, on air is the part that actually counts 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    16. Lilly Moscovitz, The Princess Diaries

    Heather Matarazzo and Patrick Flueger sit behind the "Shut Up and Listen" desk
    Buena Vista Pictures

    She'd personally like to learn about Voltaire (not hair). She's working on a Green Peace petition. And she hosts a cable show called Shut Up and Listen. Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) is an all-star. Perhaps her show could use a smidgen of polish (she is only in high school), and perhaps the show could use fewer magic tricks, but it's a good start for a fledgling journalist. An A+ for effort, even if the execution is a little sloppy. 

    Watch it now on Disney+. 

    15. Will McAvoy, The Newsroom

    Jeff Daniels sits at a news desk

    As Aaron Sorkin's creation, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is a professional anchor with a nationally televised show. That definitely gets you some points here in the rankings because it proves you know what you're doing. However, Will's two major traits are his inability to ask any questions that might offend on air (and journalism is often about asking the hard questions) while being difficult to work with off the air. That's really a doozy of a combo. We're looking for someone harsh on the air but lovely in person, not the other way around. He's also not quite as politically impartial as we'd like our journalists to be. Just the facts, ma'am. 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    14. Alex Levy, The Morning Show

    Jennifer Aniston stands in a doorway
    Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Of the anchors to sit in The Morning Show's lead chair, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is by far the most professional. Even when she has a mild breakdown in the season finale and paces back and forth in front of the camera, she's not dropping unexpected truth bombs like Bradley or feeling up a PA like Mitch. She's solid at her job (perhaps a bit too polished at times), and she can push forward even if she's under pressure. A solid effort that definitely deserves co-anchor approval and an interview with Maggie Brener.

    Watch it now on Apple TV+. 

    13. Lanie Kerrigan, Life or Something Like It

    Angelina Jolie interviews a chimpanzee
    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Razzie-nominated rom-com starring Angelina Jolie as a bottle blonde newscaster may have received terrible reviews, but that doesn't affect Lanie Kerrigan's newscaster prowess. She's skilled enough to get a job offer to move to NYC from Seattle and is known at her station for extreme professionalism. Even when her death is foretold to her and she goes off script in an interview with an A-lister, she keeps her composure and provides compelling content. Perhaps a bit uptight and distant, but otherwise an exemplar. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    12. Robin Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother

    Laura Bell Bundy and Cobie Smulders sit behind a news desk
    Monty Brinton / CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

    If there is a word to describe Robin Scherbatsky's (Cobie Smulders) career as a journalist, it would be "solid." Starting as a puff piece reporter, she rises in the ranks over the series to become a news anchor and eventually a talk show host. While she's often surrounded by zany and incompetent characters, she chugs along, delivering the news and plenty of poorly written puns to the New York metro area. Any local news station would be lucky to have her. 

    Watch it now on Hulu. 

    11. April O'Neil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    Judith Hoag stands next to Leonardo
    New Line Cinema/  Courtesy Everett Collection

    Cowabunga, dude! April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) is the real deal when it comes to on-the-ground guerrilla journalism. She's the one who first identifies the rise of the Shredder and his Foot Clan in New York City. And then, when she's attacked for speaking the truth, she is rescued and teams up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to save the day. She's not afraid to be caught in a dangerous situation to spread the truth, and she's more than happy to help out the turtles and buy them pizza. Perhaps she's getting a bit too close to her subjects, but she's a scrappy journalist and an ally to the reptile cause. 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    10. Colleen Peck, Morning Glory

    Diane Keaton dances with children ballerinas
    Macall B. Polay / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    While Mike may be doing the least, Diane Keaton's Colleen Peck is certainly game for anything. She put up with a lecherous cohost for years before Rachel McAdams' Becky fired him, and she'll do whatever it takes to save the show. She's doing cooking and fashion segments by herself (since Mike refuses to participate) and is even dressing up like a ballerina. A consummate professional. 

    Watch it now on Paramount+. 

    9. Realistic Fish, SpongeBob SquarePants

    Fish in a suite with a microphone

    You want to talk about a pro? Look no farther than Bikini Bottom News' number one reporter, Realistic Fish. Not only is he always dressed to the nines in his little fish suit and holding a classic microphone, but he always reports the news at exactly the right moment. He's not fighting with coworkers or goofing off. No, he is there when you need him, telling the good people of Bikini Bottom the local happenings. ALSO, if you didn't know, he also moonlights as the SpongeBob theme song singer for a line. He can report the news and sing an iconic diddy. I think I'm falling in love. 

    Watch it now on Paramount+. 

    8. Murphy Brown, Murphy Brown

    Candice Bergen interviews some puppets
    Richard Cartwright / CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) is here for business. After a brief stint in rehab for her alcoholism, she returns to FYI to investigate and deliver the news. She isn't soft and fluffy. She's tough and here to get to the bottom of things. She wouldn't have smashed countless glass ceilings in her male-dominated profession if she wasn't ready for a little rough-and-tumble. She can be a bit cold and brusque at points, which doesn't always land well, but she knows what she's doing, which is more than we can say for a lot of the people on this list. 

    Watch it now on Paramount+. 

    7. Kimberly Wells, The China Syndrome

    Jane Fonda stands with a mic between Michael Douglas and Daniel Valdez, her crew
    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    We love an investigative reporter. We love a whistleblower. And for whatever reason, those roles in films are usually given to print journalists, but NOT HERE. Jane Fonda's Kimberly Wells is a news reporter, usually asked to smile and share easy stories, but when she discovers that a nuclear power plant is in danger of collapsing due to fudged safety reports, they have to dig in and get to the bottom of the truth. Kimberly is doing exactly what she should. She's giving journalistic excellence and is definitely on the Pulitzer short list. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    6. Mary Jane Paul, Being Mary Jane

    Gabrielle Union stands with a microphone with people behind her
    BET / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Gabrielle Union is great at cheerleading, breaking into her own house, and delivering the news. Her Mary Jane Paul is balancing a very busy (and usually a little messy) personal life with a successful professional life as a news anchor. On the BET show, she rises in the ranks at her Atlanta station before ending up at a prestigious NYC show. She's on top of what she needs to be. She gets the scoop, is professional on camera, knows how to tell a good story, and asks the right questions in an interview. She's warm, personable, and intelligent. This is the standard we are aiming for. 

    Watch it now on Paramount+. 

    5. Veronica Corningstone, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

    Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate sit behind a news desk
    Dreamworks / Courtesy Everett Collection

    As she says herself, she's good at three things: fighting, screwing, and reading the news. Christina Applegate's Veronica Corningstone is here to be a consummate newscaster, and she is not about to let a whole studio full of chauvinist pigs stop her. She ducks and dodges their attempts to seduce and belittle her, and always gets to the desk looking proper and prepared. She's working at an insane level of difficulty, and she's doing it with polish and flair. "Good evening, San Diego. I'm Veronica Corningstone. Tits McGee is on vacation." Pure genius. Imagine what she could deliver if she didn't have the millstone of Channel 4 around her neck. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    4. Caesar Flickerman, The Hunger Games

    Stanley Tucci interviews Jennifer Lawrence onstage
    Murray Close / Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    If Oprah and Bob Costas had a baby and he grew up in a dystopian version of America known as Panem and died his hair purple, he would be Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci). The television host and teeth-whitening expert is THE voice of the dreaded Hunger Games, interviewing the tributes before they enter the games and providing colorful commentary as they murder one another with poisoned berries and bee hives. Given his journalistic integrity, it is unclear just how much he believes in the games themselves, but he will make you laugh, sigh, and bawl your eyes out while he mines the tributes for every tender morsel he can for the TV show. This man knows his job and does it well. 

    Watch it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    3. Lee Gates, Money Monster

    George Clooney stands in front of his news desk
    Atsushi Nishijima / Tristar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a popular investment show and, by all accounts, a fairly entertaining and intelligent one. When his advice leads a man to lose his life savings, however, the man infiltrates the studio and threatens to blow the place up unless Lee can get him some answer. Lee then shows a tremendous ability to remain cool under pressure as he works to uncover a whole ring of corruption regarding a prominent financial institution. Showing a journalist's acumen for finding the truth and a news anchor's grace under pressure, he is one of the great cinematic newscasters. 

    Rent it now on Amazon Prime Video. 

    2. Gordon Deitrich, V for Vendetta

    Stephen Fry sits with his arms crossed
    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Gordon Deitrich (Stephen Fry) is more than a great journalist. He is a great man. The Graham Norton‚Äďesque figure from V for Vendetta¬†holds a position of some fame and fortune in the new world order due to his long-standing career. However, he's not allowed to openly express his homosexuality or rock the boat. He takes the fledgling Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) under his wing at the studio and teaches her to resist. It's then, live on his show for all to watch, that he makes the ultimate sacrifice, standing up to the evil chancellor and his disgusting regime. Gordon is later killed for his insubordination, but sometimes, standing up for the truth is more important than our individual happiness. RIP, Gordon Deitrich. A true hero.¬†

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    1. Gale Weathers, Scream

    David Arquette and Courteney Cox stand in front of a news van
    Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

    No one is doing as much and doing it as well as Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). Not only is she a local newscaster, intent on getting the scoop by whatever means necessary, but she's also a bestselling author of a book about Ghostface, as well as a crime novelist. But mostly, she's kicking ass and staying alive through four tangles with serial killers. Only a truly stubborn journalist would keep crawling back to the scene of the crime, each time intent on getting to the bottom of the truth and killing baddies along the way. We must stan Gale (despite her Scream 3 hair). No one is putting in work like her. 

    Watch it now on HBO Max. 

    Watch The Morning Show exclusively on Apple TV+. Stream this and other TV shows and movies for only $4.99 a month, or try out a free seven-day trial.