"I hope the world ends during the day. I'd like to catch the film at eleven."
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.
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- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.