How not to interview Holly Hunter


This is about the best argument against on-the-job training I’ve ever seen. If you’ve wondered what would happen if you put an Academy Award–winning actress and an inexperienced reporter together and let the cameras roll, this is the clip for you.

Last week, video surfaced of ABCNewsNow reporter Merry Miller (no, I did not make that name up) interviewing Holly Hunter. The live segment was supposed to promote Holly’s new TNT series Saving Grace. Instead, the result was more like a Christopher Guest mockumentary. Please witness four minutes of awkward. Just try to sit through it without wincing:

Listen, I know the prospect of interviewing Holly must be a daunting one. I mean, she’s fantastic. Plus has the hardware to prove it. And then there is that endearing way she talks out of the side of her mouth. Very distracting. But for the love of Edward R. Murrow, that was painful. Seriously, I wonder if Holly thought for a second that she might be getting Punk’d.

Unsurprisingly, ABC has a cleaned-up version of the interview posted on its website. Among the fixes were the dead air at the beginning and the incorrect premiere date (July 23, not June) and station identification (ABC, not NBC) at the end. Sadly, no amount of editing could cover up terrible teleprompter reading, poor question delivery and irritating chair rocking. To quote Merry, “True, true, true.”

I do feel a little sorry for Merry. She had technical difficulties at the start. And apparently she isn’t even a journalist (I know, quelle shock). Instead, she is a booker/producer who worked for the late film critic Joel Siegel. He thought she would be great on camera and convinced ABC to give her a shot. Too bad she took it and promptly shot herself in the foot.

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