In a bizarre television and spatial anomaly on CNN this morning, the blanket coverage of two true-crime stories led two news anchors to conduct an odd "satellite" interview from the very same parking lot, background traffic and all.
The two suspects are Ashleigh Banfield of CNN and Nancy Grace of Headline News, who were updating viewers on the latest from the ongoing and increasingly ugly Cleveland kidnapping story. (Grace being TV's leading expert on deviant crime.) At first it seems like a normal TV "remote," as Banfield interviews Grace from another location. Then the channel's graphics alert viewers: both anchors are in Phoenix. That's odd. Also: They're both outdoors, sitting in what looks to be a parking lot. And is that same building behind them?
Then things truly get bizarre. Watch the cars moving in the background of both shots:
Did you see it? Watch the Nissan Xterra from Ashley's side enter on Nancy's:
Okay, if you're still not seeing it, look for the moment when the same bus is in both shots.
It seems that Grace and Banfield are sitting in the same parking lot, facing in the same direction, and judging by the speed of the vehicles in their shots, they cannot be sitting more than 30 feet away from each other. Yet, they're behaving as if the are on opposite sides of the world. Here's an artist's representation of the warp in space time punditry.
To be fair to Grace and Banfield, they are on two different networks (though they share the same parent company and probably wouldn't be talking to each other if they were true competitors), and cable TV news often features "remote" split-screen interviews with hosts and guests, even when they're in the same building. And Grace and Banfield are both in Phoenix to cover another sensational true-crime tale, the Jody Arias murder case. But despite being on sister stations and the fact Grace would literally only need to walk a few brisk steps to join Banfield on the same camera, the two broadcast teams remain hopelessly torn apart.
Later, Banfield would conduct another interview (this time about Arias) with another Headline News host who was in a different location than Grace, but still in the same parking lot; plus a third HLN regular somewhere else in the Phoenix area. (Also, outdoors and presumably close by.) And don't forget the CNN reporter who is standing across the street from her, waiting in front of the courthouse. A four-headed interview with four people in the exact same city covering the exact same story on at least three different programs on two different networks owned by the same company. So much for corporate synergy.
(Disclosure: The two authors of this post are in the same office, sitting about five feet away from each other.)
Important Update, Wednesday (with Map!): Do CNN's Split-Screen Anchors Hate Each Other? Also, Jodi Arias Has Been Found Guilty