In a succinct business move to keep the news flowing, David Westin, President of ABC News, has decided to replace the recently deceased Peter Jennings, not with an all star broadcaster, but instead with a rotating series of talking heads.
"Peter can no longer read the news and we still have a half hour void to fill so we're going to have to ask the usual ABC reporters to try their hand at reading filler in a dignified, gentlemanly manner."
Elizabeth Vargas was heard to cough loudly.
"Elizabeth Vargas," he went on, "has filled in ably, even heroically at times and I expect her to continue doing what she does best. Be on the air with the news."
"Peter's demise was unfortunate but unavoidable since no one, but no one, lives forever, and his sudden departure has left us with a job to fill and news to make. Since ABC has an obligation to present news, we, meaning Y O U, are going to have to do our best. I expect you to go in there, shuffle your papers neatly, look like you know what you're doing and be newsworthy. Nothing more is acceptable."
"I want to complement Charlie Gibson and the Gibson Girls for making such a fine adjustment from morning to evening and back again without losing a step on the competition."
"Even if the news amounts to Iran, Iraq, WMD and other scary stories that have no redeeming morale value I want you to know we can and we will present reports and report presents, particularly outrageous ones, particularly to outrageous politicians with a sense of total outrage. Totally."
"Try to stay alert and keep things alive even when you have dead air time in front of you."
"Remember we have competition and the competition isn't sleeping and is able to make the news. I want you to sleep on that small item and give me a first hand report in the morning."
"Management at ABC, meaning M E, will do their best to hunt down more top notch talent so the show can go on. But until then batten down your hachettes. As we all know, all too well, there's no business like show business and the show must go on."
"Any Questions? Comments? Suggestions?"
"Yes, the reporter to the left."
"Can I go to the big boys room?" asked George Stopopopulous.
"When are we going home? I'm tired," asked Ted Koppel.
"I have to meet my husband," complained Mrs. Nichols.
"Cut," ordered Mr. Westin. "Time's up!
And in the back of the room Aaron Brown was seen sneaking off with the last cup of coffee. "Somebody stop him before he cops another quaff"