You may remember Mather Zickel and his Newsreaders anchor role from Children's Hospital's "behind the scenes" episodes in which the audience got to know the actors behind the hospital doctors and nurses on the fictional show within a show. That version of Newsreaders was a little bit more Entertainment Tonight than the new Adult Swim series that premiered earlier this month, though. Instead of diving into celebrity stories or going behind-the-scenes with Newsreaders own correspondents to learn about them as characters, the show is focused on harder-hitting exposes in a parody of just about any and all news anchors in the real life world.
After all, in today's 24-hour news cycle, everyone recycles the same clips, soundbytes, and stories-- at times not even taking a second to breathe and fact-check, but instead simply wanting to stay competitive and picking it up from another news outlet as a source.
Zickel isn't out to parody any such anchor or program in particular with Newsreaders, though. Instead he is embodying a character who "likes to hear the sound of his own voice, maybe a little too much and...has no problem putting himself in the story."
"After a while, there's something about these anchors that all start to sound...the same," Zickel said.
"They have the same delivery, the same cadence. Someone just decided that would be the way to do it, and everyone just followed. We're playing with that a bit."
Zickel's Louis La Fonda was formulated on Children's Hospital, but Zickel pointed out that a lot of his personality in the way he would punctuate certain words or editorialize certain parts of the story has really developed "in the room" at Newsreaders.
Each episode of Newsreaders looks at one particular story that Zickel said will "always start with [Louis] thinking it's going to go one way, and then it twists in the middle and ends up maybe more serious than you might think." We saw that in the premiere episode where a human interest story on two college kids who created "Sex Vans" turned out to be an expose into an automotive company who hired those kids and conned everyone.
Newsreaders' first season includes guest stars like madTV's Josh Meyers, 24's Dennis Haysbert and Mary Lynn Rajskub, New Kids on the Block's (yes, you read that right!) Joey McIntyre, RENO 911's Thomas Lennon and Rachael Harris, Party Down's Lizzy Caplan, Newsradio's Dave Foley, The Middle's Neil Flynn, Partners' Brandon Routh, and as you've already seen, The Sarah Silverman Project's Missi Pyle tackling everything from the aforementioned "Sex Vans" to a look into a potential Ponzi scheme, and at times more "fluff pieces," too. The combination-- and varying guest stars-- will deliver completely unique and entertaining short-form stories from week to week.
"Thanks to David Wain and the success of Children's Hospital, we were able to get some great guest stars, and what I think works really well is we have some people who you might not recognize, but that lends itself really well to the authenticity of the news story. They're really committed [to the character], and you believe they're this average person," Zickel said.
And if there's one news story that Zickel could tackle but had yet to on Newsreaders it would be some kind of weather report.
"I read a lot of political news [personally], but we're not really doing that; we're leaving that up to The Daily Show," Zickel said.
"I'd be really interested to look at something like the recent cold [snap] in Los Angeles. Look at how that became a national story and how it was being covered. Everybody heard about it. Everybody was freaking out about it! It was kind of a parody of itself."
Newsreaders airs on Adult Swim on Thursday nights at midnight.
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