Great, next you'll be telling me I didn't win that Million Dollar sweepstakes.
"Let's cut to the commercial break like a news show. (
ominous voice) Something in your house may kill you. Find out what—after the break."
Segment from a News Broadcast
, usually following a Made-for-TV Movie
, asking the question, "Space alien invasion/drug dealer invasion/mountaintop plane crash cannibalism: could this happen to you?"
This segment serves a triple purpose: to strike fear into the hearts of viewers, for whom watching that station's news show is clearly the only way to survive; to pull in big ratings with the promise of lurid tales of death and violence
; and to plug the Made-for-TV Movie
Rarely is the correct answer given ("No. That's just stupid."), and rarely is the answer given before the end of the news (see Film At Eleven
). This trope has given birth to the Betteridge's Law of Headlines
: "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no
Still, on the off chance that Your Refrigerator Could Kill You!!!
, you are compelled to watch the late news.
See also You May Panic Now
. The equal and opposite reaction to Ripped from the Headlines
. Usually involves several Commercial Break Cliffhangers
that promise the answer is coming up next!
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Live Action TV
- Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, has a very low opinion of television. In one strip a TV news promo takes this trope Up to Eleven, and Calvin's father opts to read the newspaper instead.
Announcer: Next, on Eyewitness action news: blood-spattered sidewalks and shroud-covered bodies! Could the next victim be YOU?? We'll get the story from the sobbing, hysterical relatives and we'll tell you why YOU should be paralyzed with helpless fear! That's Eyewitness action news! It's what YOU need to KNOW!
- In Family Guy, TV anchor Tom Tucker practices in front of a mirror for different ways of announcing a president's hypothetical assassination. One of his different methods is this.
- An old favorite of Kent Brockman from The Simpsons, of course. Did an escaped mental patient put poison in a certain brand of soda? You'll only find out which brand (and wonder why it's still on store shelves) after sports, entertainment and the weather!
- German TV channel Pro 7 does this on the slot before or after every single movie that is about a major nature phenomenon that usually ends with the world obliterated. More often than not, this will be done via a special episode of some kind of science-show and tell the audience how unlikely the event in real life would be. Sometimes also done with alien invasions, Roswell and ghosts.
- Happens ALL THE TIME in real life. Be it chemicals in various things that could give your child cancer, or a new credit card scam, or what have you, this is transparent and frequent. While they sometimes have valid points, it's a very cheap tactic (forgoing responsibility to the public and focusing on profits by taking advantage of fear-mongering).
- The "X? In my Y?" meme started from an ad that took this approach to porn.