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    News O'Clock: Once Upon A Time In COVID-land & Calming Virtual Hikes

    Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are having a baby, The US hit over 1,000,000 COVID-19 cases while Brazil’s president continues to say corona’s no big deal, and we talk how Hollywood is keeping production going even as everyone is sheltering in place.

    It's April 29th. The time...News O'Clock!

    You can listen to today's episode above! Another option: check it out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

    Check out the full episode transcript here:

    Hayes Brown: Zayn and Gigi Hadid are going to be parents and the internet has exploded. There have been 1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US and that's a lot. And the show must go on. We're talking with Buzzfeed news's Krystie Yandoli about how Hollywood is making it work during the lockdown.

    Casey Rackham: The date, April 29th 2020.

    HB: The time, News O'clock.

    HB: Hello friends. I'm Hayes Brown.

    CR: And I'm Casey Rackham.

    HB: Casey, I have not been able to stop thinking about UFO's this week.

    CR: Okay, well that checks out.

    HB: Hey but also... Yeah. But I mean those videos at the Pentagon put out on Monday are pretty freaking wild. You have to admit that's true.

    CR: Confession. I have not watched those, but I do watch Roswell, New Mexico. So same difference.

    HB: Yeah, those bitch ass aliens. So I know that they're probably not aliens in these Pentagon videos, but some of them are really weird. The Pentagon kept them a secret and so I don't know if it weren't for the... Everything. I feel like we'd be talking about this a lot more.

    CR: Yeah, I don't like that it was a secret. That's never fun. Secrets aren't fun, especially when it involves aliens.

    HB: Potential aliens. I feel like part of the reason though, they haven't broken through is some of these videos were leaked before by the Blink-182 front man, so the true alien conspiracy parts of the internet have already seen this footage now just the pentagon being like, "Yeah, those vids, they're real."

    CR: Okay. I'm a firm believer that aliens are real because I think we'd be stupid to think that there isn't other life out there but what do you think?

    HB: I think that I agree. The Drake equation is probably a legit way to think about this. There's just so many stars out there that how could there not be more life out there, but that's enough nerd cuts for now. Time to pivot to the Corona update. Today we have three things you need to know.

    CR: Do you have any more of the good news you had yesterday? I loved that.

    HB: Ah. Number one. There have been 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US as of yesterday and that's way more than the president predicted back at the start of this in February.

    Donald Trump: When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.

    HB: President Trump said on Twitter last night that the number of cases in the US is so high because our testing is in his words, "So much better than any other country in the world, capital W." That's absolutely not the case with most experts sure that there are many, many undetected cases out there, still both on people who are sick and people who've already died. So not so much for the good news to start off.

    CR: Great. You know what? I was too hopeful there.

    HB: Okay. Number two. We learned today just how badly the US economy has been hit by this crisis. US GDP or gross domestic product shrank by 4.8% in the first quarter of this year, which for the non-economists in the audience, is not a number you want to see. That is in fact the opposite of the kind of number you want to see. Things are supposed to be even worse by the end of quarter two with prediction of the economy shrinking by as much as 35%. The weirdest thing though, as economist Justin Wolfers pointed out on Twitter, nearly half of the loss for these first few months was because of less spending on healthcare.

    CR: Okay. What? How? No!

    HB: I know it doesn't track, but with hospitals overwhelmed with Covid cases and elective surgeries being canceled, as a result, hospitals have been just hemorrhaging money. Those elective surgeries usually bring in big bucks either from patients or insurance companies, so now we have hospitals out here laying off workers and facing closures.

    CR: It makes sense to me just about elective surgeries. I think I was reading a while back about those who are looking for top surgery and I don't believe that is considered quote unquote "essential" right now. So I mean, yeah, there's less spending even when it should be spent, people still need surgeries.

    HB: And number three. If you think things are going not great in the US, may I introduce you to a little country called Brazil? Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has been out trumping Trump by continuing to say that the Coronavirus isn't that big a deal. Brazil had 5,000 known Covid-19 deaths yesterday, which is higher than China's official toll. When presented with this though Bolsonaro told reporters, "I'm sorry, what do you want me to do?" So far he's been against social distancing measures and has openly mocked the idea that he could get sick even as he's met with supporters and coughed loudly while meeting with them. He also fired his health minister and his justice minister quit at least partially over the anti-science approach to Covid that Bolsonaro has taken.

    CR: It sounds like this was two months ago, people have done this already. We've gone down this path. We know it's not the right path.

    HB: And yet he's out here leaving sad breadcrumbs of dead bodies behind him for others to follow as they continue down this Covid path. That got dark fast.

    CR: That got really dark. I didn't like it. Okay. It's time for good news bad news.

    CR: As you might guess from the name, this is where I bring you some of the most "awe" and some of the most, "Oh my God, no" stories from around the internet. Good news. Love can still blossom these days, even across borders. There's a couple living on either side of the US Canada border, and they found a way to make it work despite the pandemic. This is a romcom and you can't tell me otherwise. Okay, so basically, Savannah Coop, 25 lives in British Columbia and her fiance, 26 year old Ryan Hamilton, lives in Bellingham, Washington. So they met via the dating app because apparently, which I found fascinating is when you're that close to the border, your Tinder area match can just set you up via that way, which makes sense.

    CR: So they fell in love, they got engaged, but unfortunately they still live in separate countries and when social distancing came into effect and Coronavirus was everywhere, they were not allowed to cross borders. So they are literally have not been able to see each other, except they found a way to do it and it's that they stay on six feet apart on either side of the border where there's no fence and they go on cute little dates.

    HB: Oh.

    CR: I know, it's adorable. And police officers and border control have gotten to know them because they're like, "Hey, what are you guys doing? And they're like, "Oh you know, just going on dates." And so now they get nice little waves from officers passing by.

    HB: That's really sweet and I really liked that. Oh my gosh. Imagine though setting your Tinder and realizing, "Oh that's an entirely other country." Do you really want to go to another country for this right now?

    CR: Okay. Well I've actually been to Bellingham, Washington and I feel like you would drive a distance to go find someone if there isn't anyone there. It's a lot of beautiful nature around you but maybe less people. I shouldn't be saying that coming from me because when I was using Tinder and I'm in LA, I have refused to go past five miles because I'm not dating anyone on the West side.

    HB: Wow. Five miles. But I was living in DC which is the last time I was using Tinder... Two miles. I'm sorry. Do you want me to go where? I'm sorry. No thank you.

    CR: Listen, I support you 100%. So bad news for any One Direction fans who thought you might still be able to get with Zayn Malik. He and Gigi Hadid announced yesterday that they're having a baby. Zayn and Gigi had been off and on for forever, since 2015 and most recently Gigi was with Tyler C from the bachelor, that was a wild time. But Zayn and Gigi reconnected late last year and they've been quarantining together and we now know that they are going to have a little baby, which fans have been all over because she recently celebrated her 25th birthday and she had all these Instagrams about it and so did her sister Bella and all the fans were digging into all the clues that were leading them to believe that she is pregnant.

    HB: Wait, wait. What kind of clues did get sprinkled on Instagram there?

    CR: So she had those big balloons that say the number. So she had two and five. And one balloon, the string on it was blue and for the other balloon the string was pink. And then Bella posted a picture of Gigi opening presents and one of the pink bags had a sunflower emoji over it and some fan found that bag online and it says something like, "Welcome little one," on it so she put the emoji over it to block it and I'm like kudos to the detectives out there. You are truly doing great.

    HB: Doing the most.

    CR: They are doing the most. But honestly I just want to talk about how this baby is just going to be surrounded by so many famous people because the Hadids are just... We know Yolanda from Housewives and she used to be married to David Foster, who I'm sure his family is still in the mix there. And then we've got Bella who's been on and off with The Weeknd and then we've got Anwar who is with Dua Lipa I mean, Oh my God.

    HB: That is so many famous... If Bravo hasn't already gotten this little baby their own reality show by the time it emerges into the world, some executive producer has completely fallen down on the job.

    CR: Oh 100% and if Yolanda isn't pitching that around I mean, come on.

    HB: Yolanda is on it. Oh Yolanda, I could go so many places with that, but I won't. Anyway, when we come back, we've got Krystie Yandoli with us to dish on how Hollywood is cranking out hits during the Coronavirus. Sit tight.

    CR: Welcome back. It's time for say more. This is where we get to talk some of the best people out there into spending some quality time with us.

    HB: The lights of Hollywood have dimmed, but the show must go on and the people still crave movies and television shows. So how is Tinseltown still cranking out entertainment fodder for us?

    CR: We've got Buzzfeed news entertainment reporter, Kristie Yandoli here to tell us all about it. Hello Krystie.

    Krystie Yandoli: Hey guys, how you doing?

    CR: Good. We're so glad you could join us today. You published a story over the weekend titled how the Coronavirus is changing television production. What did you expect to find when diving in versus what you actually found?

    KY: Well, this is such a constantly evolving situation, so to be honest, when I first started reporting on this, I was talking to crew members and seeing how productions had shut down, but then those conversations quickly evolved into how some shows were staying alive despite the quarantine. So I wasn't really sure what I was expecting. I had seen some Jimmy Fallon clips and some Late Night clips, but I was super curious as to not only how that stuff was getting made, but also how other shows were adapting. If Late Night was adapting, other people were probably thinking about it as well.

    HB: So one of the things I loved in your story was the details about how Keeping Up with the Kardashians is still going strong. Do reality shows have an edge these days over scripted shows?

    KY: I don't know if it's reality shows specifically, definitely influence markets and talent who are used to curating their content for Instagram and for the internet do have an edge and leg up. So I don't know that it's reality shows, but it's definitely true for the Kardashians. Their producer told me she's not worried at all about the episode that will come out about the Kardashians in the quarantine because they're already so well equipped and talented at curating their own content. So maybe it's reality stars, but it's definitely the Kardashians.

    HB: I love, by the way, that you mentioned that basically the production crew just threw iPhones at the Kardashians, "Here you deal with this," and they have so far.

    KY: Yeah, the feedback I've heard from producers in general, which isn't really surprising to any of us who've used iPhones, is that the quality of the iPhone video that you're going to get is really just as good as any professional camera. Obviously the tools are different, but the quality is so great that everyone was like, we don't want to give people brand new tools they're not used to learning. This is already a stressful enough situation, so here's some iPhones. And I think with the Kardashians, it's such a different situation. They're executive producers on their own show, they've been doing this for 18 seasons and this is just the show. They're obviously so good at doing this in life, in general that producers gave them iPhones to use for video footage and were just like, "Yeah, come up with some things."

    CR: You also wrote about how American Idol is still going to be doing live shows and I just want to know everything about that. How are they going to actually achieve that?

    KY: I was on the phone with both executive producers and the show runner for such a long time, we were chatting for a half hour because I had the same questions. I was like, "Logistically speaking, this is so technical and nerdy, but please tell me how's this is going to happen?" And I think that's honestly... Not to say that other shows that are still airing aren't experiencing their fair share of challenges, but to produce a live show with 20 contestants across the United States and then you have the bands and the coordinators and the producers, that's a serious technical feat to be able to do all of that. From what I understand, it involves a lot of communicating. A lot of people directing on Zoom. Unlike the Kardashians, it's not just like they gave all of these contestants iPhones and they're like, "Okay, cool. Send us footage."

    KY: It's like they're deeply involved with every single contestant. It's a competition show, so everyone has to have the same exact equipment. It has to be fair because the judges are judging in real time on Zoom. So not only do the producers want the judges to be able to hear everything perfectly and see everything perfectly, but that needs to be the same for every single contestant just so that it's a level playing field. Yeah, it sounds incredibly complicated and it aired last Sunday for the first time and they're going to keep rolling with it. So I am thoroughly impressed with the fact that not only are they pulling it off, but they're pulling it off well.

    HB: I'm shocked too because that's giving me a headache, just thinking about trying to pull that off. You mentioned the fact that the judges are going to be judging live over Zoom, we're doing this podcast remotely, everyone's on Zoom constantly now, anyway. Do you see a world where maybe this is the new normal for shows that don't need a huge set or massive production costs?

    KY: That was my question for every single producer. I was like, "What does the future look like?" And the truth is they don't know. Nobody knows anything right now and everyone's just in survival mode trying to get through their seasons, trying to finish whatever currently they're working on. And I don't think this is anyone's preference. I think that Zoom and technology and iPhones have been amazing and able to help people get through this survival mode. But I actually do think it was the Keeping Up with the Kardashians executive producer who told me people want really glossy high quality content. And that was a really popular trend right before the quarantine started, was like, "We don't want to watch janky stuff on our televisions. We want high, high quality." But then I think it was the Samantha Bee producer told me, "We're learning all these new tools, we're unskilled and it'll be hard to go back to normal without incorporating this in some way."

    KY: So I don't know. The truth is, I don't know. And I don't think they know, but I think that there are possibilities where certain things will be incorporated and whatever a new filming, shooting structure looks like might involve some of this stuff. But I think people miss being on set. I think people will want to produce the highest quality content they can quote unquote "when this is all over," but I think these are great questions because we don't know what the world is going to look like. We don't know what television production is going to look like, but I don't think that the future involves only Zooming from our houses forever.

    CR: One of the things I've been sure about is that we're going to see a surge in animated shows because of this lockdown. Did you come across anything in your reporting that will let me gloat about being right?

    KY: I love your theory. I support your theory without any evidence of my own.

    CR: Thank you.

    KY: I think that tracks, we have... Again, think about the tools we have at home. What can you do from home? People can illustrate things, people can speak into microphones. I didn't talk to anyone, but that's a great story idea that I can definitely pursue for you.

    CR: Thank you. It makes sense because right now in Hollywood it's supposed to be pilot season, but a lot of pilots aren't going out because of them being live action and not only do I think that people are going to be pitching more animated shows. The other day, One Day at a Time, which is a live action show said they're going to do an animated episode and then two SNL episodes ago, Kyle Mooney had an animated sketch instead of live action. So it seems like not only will there be new animated shows, but they're going to be... I would be interested to see if current live action shows have to make some sort of switch so they can make content for viewers.

    KY: Casey, you are 100% onto something. You noticed that trend before I did, I would love to read or write that story. I think you're right.

    CR: Please do, Krystie. Do it.

    KY: Again, these things I think are temporary fixes for now, but yeah, I think that we could see a surge in that for the exact reason that we're on Zoom and we're using mics and we're using iPhones. It's something we can do in the interim. So yeah, I agree with you. Totally.

    HB: Krystie, I have actually one last question for you. So we're getting a new episode of Parks and Rec pretty soon. One where we're going to be seeing Leslie Knope and all the characters and how they're dealing with quarantine. Here's my question for you. What do you think it's going to be like to look back on this era of television five years from now?

    KY: Oh my God. I think about it a lot because I am a potato on my couch. If I'm not doing work, I'm watching TV and I'm also a person living in the now and I just think that unfortunately a lot of the things that we're watching right now in production that's coming out will remind us of this time, whatever this time means for you. Five years from now that will feel weird because whatever the new normal is, we'll be back to filming and shooting and producing in person. That's what I hope for the world. But yeah, it's going to be weird. It's going to be weird to look back on video clips of Jimmy Fallon and his house in Long Island with his family handwriting his stage cards. I hope that feels weird to us, but I guess we will see.

    CR: Oh, we will see. Well, thank you so much Kristie for joining us.

    KY: Thank you for having me. I hope you guys are staying safe and healthy and sane.

    HB: It's time for the list because if you know Buzzfeed at all, you know how much we love lists and today we're looking at four virtual hikes you can take around the US.

    CR: And they're all on YouTube and they are super high def. It's basically all of the joy of looking at stuff in nature without getting all sweaty and covered with bugs. But I do have to admit that the other day I went on a walk and I did get a sunburn just to feel alive. So I guess I wouldn't mind the bugs if it means going on a hike. Also, I do regret the sunburn.

    HB: Okay, well I cannot endorse intentional sunburn.

    HB: Please join us as we experience the relaxation of these virtual hikes.

    HB: Number one. The Kuli'ou'ou Ridge trail in Oahu, Hawaii. The video will take you inland and up through the rainforest so you can look out over the coast and it's gentle waves away from the tourists and bustle of Waikiki and that you peer more deeply into your own soul.

    CR: Number two. The Historic Railroad hiking trail in Mead River, Nevada. This trail is near the Hoover Dam, exploring the canyons and ridges of the mountain West. It also takes you through the tunnels carved into the mountains when they were building it back in the 1930s.

    HB: Number three. The Nicole Bloom Memorial Trail in Eagle Harbor, Michigan. If you're somehow missing winter already, good news. This will take you on a snowshoe hike in Michigan's upper peninsula. The bear trees all around you, the sound of fresh fallen snow crisp under your snowshoes.

    CR: And number four. The Baker River Trail in the Mount Baker area of Washington. Filmed in the fall, this hike takes you through the illustrious autumn trees and blissful waterfront trail views along the Baker River.

    CR: Okay, we have time for one more thing and I'm using it to ask you Hayes, what's a Justin Amash?

    HB: Okay. First of all, props for getting his name right. A lot people say A-Mash and he is a Congressman from Michigan.

    CR: Okay, so why was he trending on Twitter?

    HB: Oh, because he's running for president now, apparently.

    CR: Okay. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Joe Biden is going to be the democratic nominee.

    HB: So it would seem, yes.

    CR: And Trump is the Republican nominee.

    HB: That's how it usually works with incumbents.

    CR: Then what the hell is Amash doing?

    HB: He's looking to run as a third party campaign on the Libertarian party ticket against both Biden and Trump.

    CR: Of course. That makes sense for the year 2020.

    HB: Yep. So Amash was a Republican forever and [inaudible 00:23:04] libertarian, which appeals to the people in West Michigan, which is the people he represents. But with Trump's love of deficit spending and the whole impeachment thing, Amash said, "Fuck this," to the Republican party and is now an independent.

    CR: And again, he's running for president.

    HB: Look, everyone is as baffled as you are right now.

    CR: Okay. Make this make sense for me. Is this good or bad for Trump winning reelection?

    HB: Well that's kind of a toss up that depends on who you ask. Biden fans out there may like him for his morals and ideals, et cetera. But probably he will pull votes from Trump for people who love the idea of going back to traditional Republican, lower taxes, lower spending, more freedom for all kind of stuff. So who's to say... I will say this though, this morning, Trump tweeted out about this news saying that he thinks Amash would, quote, "Make a wonderful candidate, especially since he is way behind in his district and has no chance of maintaining his congressional seat. He almost always votes for the do nothing Dems anyway. I like him even more than Jill Stein." And honestly, I got to say for Trump, that's a pretty solid burn.

    CR: Okay. Well, you know what, thanks for filling me in, I guess.

    HB: Yeah, you're welcome. I guess.

    CR: That's it for today. Join us tomorrow for another Thursday in paradise. And by paradise we mean your living room.

    HB: And remember, if you don't finish the jigsaw puzzle you started during quarantine, you're not a failure. Just really shitty at doing puzzles, and that's okay.

    CR: Be sure to subscribe to News O'clock on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for your sound stories.

    HB: And please take the time to leave us a rating and review. It helps us figure out what you'd like about the show versus what you love about the show, and tell all your friends so they can set their alarms and never miss another episode of News O'clock.