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Film At Eleven
"I hope the world ends during the day. I'd like to catch the film at eleven."
George Carlin

The practice of holding certain stories hostage throughout the course of a News Broadcast, in order to force viewers to watch the whole thing to see what it is they're being taunted with. This is done by giving part of the information, and promising to reveal the whole story at some point during the news show.

Usually, the story is placed almost at the end of the broadcast (just before Yet Another Baby Panda), amounts to the sum of the tidbits that the newscasters and ads have dropped, and is extraordinarily anticlimactic. The teaser often refers to "your family", as in "coming up, a deadly new trend that could affect your family!"

The phrase originated in the 1970s, when stations began to run teasers for the late local news during Prime Time (such as "shootout at local gas station, Film at 11.") This was often a Justified Trope at the time, since it could take hours to transport exposed 16 mm film from a remote site to the station, develop it, edit it, and add a voiceover. Even now stations don't like to broadcast raw video from outside sources in case it contains something not fit for the six o'clock news, and satellite uplinks aren't always possible in remote areas or in less developed countries. But the majority of delays these days aren't unavoidable; in almost all cases, they do it only to keep you watching to the end of the broadcast, so they can make more money from advertisers.


Examples

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     Comics  

  • The first time Superman and Wally West had a race, they were forced into it by Mr. Mxyzptlk, who kept popping up to annoy them as they ran. At one point he says "Who will win? Who will lose? Stay tuned — film at eleven!"

     Film  

  • Parodied repeatedly during The Kentucky Fried Movie by the Zucker Brothers:
    Newscaster: "I'm not wearing any pants. Film at 11."
  • Used in the original Piranha:
    Newscaster: "Terror, horror, death; film at eleven."
  • Referred to in Short Circuit.
    Number 5: "Escaped robot fights for his life! Film at 11!"
  • A demonstration of the film transport-developing-editing practice that caused the trope in the first place can be seen in The China Syndrome.

     Live Action TV  

  • This trope pretty much applies to anything that features "coming up next" clips before commercials, like Reality shows. For example, early episodes of American Idol love to tantalize the viewer with clips of a really good or really bad singer...and then shove them in at the very end of the episode.
    • Most egregious was The Jenny Jones Show in its final seasons: the opening seconds of the episode showed previews of what was going to happen later in the episode. These previews were included before and after every commercial break by the end of the run, with the opening section pretty much showing the whole reaction of each guest and what they were reacting to, which made actually watching the show a moot point.
  • Jon Stewart does this from time to time on The Daily Show, notably when the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal broke over a weekend. He refused to properly cover the story until Tuesday, because they had worked all weekend on a flashy graphic for the Wyoming Democratic Caucus and didn't want to waste it by covering Spitzer instead.
  • A Running Gag on comedy show Dead Ringers is to have newscasters saying popular song lyrics as if headlines, followed by the line "More on that story later":
    • "Welcome to Newsnight, I'm Kirsty Wark. I'm bringing sexy back; those other lovers don't know how to act. More on that story later."
  • Ellen Degeneres mentioned it in one of her stand-ups, talking about the news: "It could be most deadly thing on earth and you may be having it for dinner. We tell you what it is, tonight at eleven." She then mimes a person about to eat something with a spoon and says "Is it peas?"
  • The Onion constantly uses this at the end of news broadcasts, with such serious matters as "the Sudoku Killer." They do the same with "Onion Magazine" covers.
  • Saturday Night Live poked fun a this when Jerry Seinfeld hosted:
    Coming up at eleven: The President has been shot! ...But the President of what?
    • There was a similar gag, asking what would happen if the modern news practices were in place for other big events: "President Kennedy visits Dallas. How'd it go? We'll tell you after the break."
  • Johnny Fever parodies the phrase at one point during WKRP in Cincinnati's famous turkey episode. "The Pinedale Shopping Mall is being bombed by live turkeys! Film at 11!!"
  • Parodied on NCIS, when Gibbs uncharacteristically is late for work and McGee points out that since Gibbs lives alone, no one would know if something had happened to him.
    Tony: [Pretending to be a newscaster] In a tragic story of obsessive hobbying turned deadly, an NCIS agent was discovered in his basement, crushed between a large, homemade boat and an even larger bottle of bourbon. Film at 11.

     Literature  

  • The characters in the science fiction novel Ridley Walker use the word "Filmatleven" to mean "We'll see."
  • Similarly in the Seafort Saga the inhabitants of the slum areas use "Filmatleven" to mean "hold on" or "wait and see".
  • In Airframe this is given as a reason why TV news will cover some plane crashes, but will ignore other, sometimes far more gruesome crashes.

     Music  

     Print Media  

  • Wired magazine once did a piece taking off on the famous six-word story supposedly written by Hemingway ("For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.") by asking Speculative Fiction writers to try the same format. Robert Jordan's entry was "Heaven falls. Details at eleven." For those of you keeping score at home, yes, Jordan's story was actually shorter than the original at five words.

     Web Original  

  • Parodied in the Flash cartoon Homestar Runner. In the Strong Bad E-Mail "local news", Strong Bad kept pre-empting the special "investigative news report" on "The World In Crisis" for other stories, to the point where it wasn't shown at all.
    • Even better, they continued the hype for it by saying it will be on next time.
  • Also parodied by the satire site Dateline Hollywood, where only one out of the three headlines that Pat O'Brien opens his commencement day speech (done in the style of a newscast) with actually gets expanded on.

     Webcomics  

     Western Animation  

  • Also parodied on The Simpsons when Kent Brockman was one of the many people running for the re-call election of Mayor Quimby. He threatened to withhold vital information about deadly household products if not elected.
    • In another episode he announced that a certain brand of soft drink had been found to be lethal, which one would be revealed after the commercials
    Religion: Which one is the real one? We'll tell you after the film.
  • In the South Park episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics," the show returned from each commercial break with an '80s-styled newscaster saying, "Fighting the frizzies, at 11." This was directly based on the series' creators watching The Star Wars Holiday Special, one of the better-circulated copies of which includes the "Fighting the Frizzies" comment said by newscaster Rolland Smith during the breaks (he was at WCBS-TV at the time and ended his career at current MyNetworkTV station WWOR). It's believed that the actual news broadcast related to hair care, though the South Park episode ended with the newscaster literally fighting a large, frizzy monster.

     Other  

  • "Later in our program: Are your pets healthy? Are you sure? A product facing a nationwide recall may endanger the life of your pet. We'll give you more...in just a moment." (Referred to poisonous fungus in a specific brand of dog and cat food.)
  • "Coming up, a millionaire heiress has the wedding of her dreams? It sounds all wet, but she says he's a real catch! Stay tuned." (This teaser contained all but two of the facts: their names, and that it took place in Israel.)
  • Depressingly enough this still happens on occasion in the UK with some channels showing about half a movie, then having a ten or twenty minute news segment, and then going back to the movie. Somewhat justified in that it was the easiest way for ITV to show a movie After The Watershed on a weekday while retaining the position of News At Ten. The alternatives were moving the news (unthinkable until they moved it to 11pm), or starting the film after the news at 10:30 and running late into the night. The usual pattern was to return to the film straight after the news and run the local news after the film finished. Going back to its original mission of providing news updates on the hour in Prime Time, Channel 5 runs a short news bulletin during a 9pm film, even advertising this fact in their digital schedules (which include "Five News At Ten" running from 9:58-10:00).
    • Happens on one of the Swedish channels as well. If a they start showing a film at nine p.m. (which is quite common), they break for the ten o'clock news. The most annoying thing about it though, is that when they break, there is a commercial, then the news and then another commercial before the film resumes.
  • Particularly on the Internet, "Film at 11" has taken on an ironic meaning, equivalent to "seen it many times already". "More at 11" is a common variant.
    "Imminent Death of the Net Predicted. GIFs at 11." — common Usenet phrase, mid 1990's.


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