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Coincidental Broadcast

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"Has anyone ever noticed how Fry always seems to turn on the TV at just the right moment?"
Bender, Futurama: The Game

Any television or radio accidentally turned on during a tension-filled moment will automatically display a news story relevant to or actually about the current source of dramatic tension. Incidentally, the broadcast will either be just starting or give enough detail for the characters (and viewers) to know what's going on, even if the characters turn on the television on advice from a telephone call. Often the news reporter will come off slightly Medium Aware, saying something like "We repeat..." or (more realistically) "For those of you just tuning in..." From watching this broadcast, the viewer(s) will gain an insight — or a kick in the pants — which will launch the next phase of the story. They will also never start mid-word when turning on the channel.

This is also rapidly becoming a Discredited Trope considering how many sources parody this convention, even if the rise of 24-hour rolling news networks makes it much easier to Hand Wave nowadays, plus smartphones are becoming the preferred way to receive news on the go. Can be an example of Worst News Judgement Ever, if the story doesn't merit its place in the headlines. Alternatively, may be justified in cases where the story is big enough that most stations would interrupt their normal programming to cover it.

Sub-Trope of Contrived Coincidence.

Overlaps with Endangering News Broadcast or Ignored Vital News Reports. Compare with Chekhov's Classroom, Chekhov's News, Specific Situation Books, Suspiciously Specific Sermon, Laser-Guided Broadcast, and Your Television Hates You (the gag version). See also Crystal-Ball Scheduling, Emergency Broadcast, Learned from the News, News Monopoly, Practical Voice-Over, This Just In!, and We Interrupt This Program.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Played with during Stardust Crusaders. When Joseph Joestar tries to use his Stand's ability of diviniation on a TV set in order to learn information about the enemy, it rapidly flicks through channels in a way that forms a complete sentence from bits of dialogue from different broadcasts.
  • Code Geass: When the Black Knights get their new RV mobile fortress, one of the first things they do is check out the TV set — which happens to be broadcasting news of the hotel takeover incident. Conveniently, it's right at the start of the incident, allowing them to move in and save the day.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure: Variation in episode 36 where the Guardian's description of a place full of flowers happens to match a newspaper article in front of them instead of a news broadcast.
  • Junjou Romantica: When Hiro walks in on Nowaki and his coworker Tsumori sleeping on the floor of Hiro and Nowaki's apartment, a news broadcast about a famous married actor being caught with another woman is on the TV. It is however, Not What It Looks Like.
  • School Rumble: Yakumo stays the night at Harima's house when there's a black out. He turns the radio just in time to hear the DJ say that a black out is a good time to have sex.
  • March Comes in Like a Lion: Rei sees a nature documentary that perfectly describes (at least in his perspective) how he's taken over the lives of his adoptive family, prompting him to set out on his own.
  • In My Neighbors the Yamadas, when the family turn their car around and head back to the supermarket to find the missing Nonoko, a song about a lost kitten plays on their radio.
  • Denpa Teki na Kanojo: This happens a lot in the two OVAs… until you realize that the Big Bad of the first OVA invoked this trope when a magazine mentions the mysterious Serial Killer as the first step of the Evil Plan to get the protagonist Lured into a Trap. All of the other cases play the trope straight.
  • One episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has one of Aramaki's political contacts call him and ask if he's watching the news. When Aramaki says no, he urges him to turn it on, just in time for Aramaki to hear the start of a breaking news development.
  • It happens twice in Steel Angel Kurumi 2. The first time, Uruka watches a TV show about a teacher seducing one of his students and believes that Mr. Kizuki is trying to seduce Nako at school. The second time is when Uruka watches a news broadcast about the winner of the cello contest will study abroad to Vienna. Nako won the contest, but it turns out that she wasn't eligible for that particular prize because it was only for high school students.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman: Year One is a borderline case. Miller uses a lot of news broadcasts to further/hand-wave certain plot developments, but these are more for the readers' convenience; few if any of the characters are shown directly responding to them.
    • It's frequently used throughout Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for exposition.
    • Batgirl Year One: As changing channels idly, Dick Grayson hears of a newscaster reporting a hostage crisis in the Bristol Country Club.
    • The Attack of the Annihilator: Wanting to cheer Barbara Gordon up, her friend Doreen switches on a TV set right when a talk show is interviewing Linda Danvers (subtly informing readers that Supergirl is in the area prior to her showing up). Suddenly the show is interrupted by an emergency broadcast reporting some lunatic is blasting holes into a research laboratory.
  • Justice League of America: In the debut story of the Queen of Fables, shortly after she awakens in the modern world, she mistakes a TV for a magic mirror and commands it to reveal who the Fairest of Them All is. The TV was showing news coverage of the Justice League's most recent battle, and at that moment showed Wonder Woman. The Queen then plots to destroy her, thinking Wonder Woman is her ancient enemy, Snow White.
  • Subverted in Largo Winch: Largo turns off the radio just as it starts talking about the murder of a Birman army officer and before it can mention that Largo's friend Simon is accused of it.
  • Spider-Man: In Amazing Spider-Man #43, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are watching a music program which is suddenly interrupted by a special bulletin with breaking news of Rhino's rampage.
  • In The Ultimates, Ultimate Captain America tracks Hank Pym down to a bar after he put his wife in a coma and menacingly asks if he's watching anything interesting. The TV happened to be broadcasting a report on the case in question, which Cap calls a "cosmic coincidence" before dragging him outside.
  • Superman:
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Superman drops by Jimmy Olsen's place, and he is told right way that some superpowerful loony is going on a crime spree. Then Jimmy turns on his radio just in time to hear a new broadcast reporting Solarman's current whereabouts.
    • In Who is Superwoman?, Supergirl and Lana Lang switch on the news to find villain Reactron escaped from police custody.
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, Linda turns the TV on to watch a quiz show; suddenly, the program is interrupted for a special news bulletin reporting that the house of Linda's ex-classmate Professor Rudolph Clement has been destroyed by one gravity experiment gone wrong.
    • In Superman's Return to Krypton, Superman goes back in time and ends in Krypton. As soon as he arrives in Krypton's capital city, Superman passes by a street screen broadcasting the wedding between renowned scientist Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, thus informing Superman of his time of arrival and his biological parents' location.
    • In The Girl with the X-Ray Mind, Linda Danvers and her mother Edna are watching tv when the program is suddenly interrupted by a special bulletin. Upon hearing Supergirl is needed at Metropolis Penitentiary, Linda at once suits up and flies off.
    • The Leper from Krypton: Superman is passing by a tv store right when Lex Luthor hijacks the news channels to announce he has gotten Superman infected with a virulent and incurable alien disease.
    • Supergirl (1984): Selena accidentally switches on the car radio right when a broadcast is reporting that Superman is off-world, meaning that he will be unable to stop her evil plans.
    • Brainiac's Blitz: As walking down her college's hallway, Linda Danvers passes by another student who coincidentally is listening to a radio broadcast about a flying saucer circling over Metropolis.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Oscar just happens reading a newspaper with a nice big picture of Dr. Psycho and an article about the explosion at the prison the villain escaped from when he walks in on Psycho coincidentally, ensuring that he recognizes the criminal despite never having met him before.
    • Judgment In Infinity: Black Canary, Power Girl and Huntress are discussing the Adjudicator's menace when a newscast reports on a sudden plague outbreak in Atlanta. The three women correctly guess one of his agents has begun its rampage.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Sherman's Lagoon strip has Sherman and Hawthorne watching TV. The announcer asks a bunch of questions that apply to Sherman... then, as Sherman is picking his nose, asks, "Is your finger inching its way toward your nostril?"
  • Often parodied in Bloom County, usually with Opus as the viewer. The news report is either turned on just AFTER the important information is presented, or is just lying. In both cases the information specifically pertains to the viewer. An example is when Opus, after a nap, turns on the news to catch the end of a presentation of several items known to cause fatal nose warts in penguins.
    Reporter: Shouldn't have been napping.
  • One FoxTrot arc was about Jason attempting to start a web business. He's just telling his mom about what he resorted to showing his potential investors when the news begins talking about a potentially world-ending computer virus.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dirty Sympathy, Trucy is watching the news in the background when the entertainment segment starts ten minutes early with breaking news of Klavier's "stage accident", telling Apollo that Klavier was nearly killed. Justified that a rock star's near-deathly accident would make a headliner.
  • Card Captor Rad: Flower Child has Alexis and the Autobots seeing a broadcast from the science fair being messed with by a Sakura Card.
  • In The Rise Of Golus, the rampage of Golus manages to hit the news rather quickly, alerting both teams of heroes.
  • In Evangelion/Street Fighter crossover Neon Genesis Evangelion Senshi No Michi, Gouken is watching TV while having lunch when a news broadcast shows a battle in Tokyo-3, and a giant robot using one of his fighting moves on a monster. Shocked, Gouken realizes that his underage disciples are being forced to fight giant aliens, and he needs to go to Tokyo-3 and give Gendo Ikari a piece of his mind.
  • In The Gospel Of Malachel, Kensuke's music program is interrupted by the kind of emergency broadcast which uses to prelude the coming of an Eldritch Abomination.
    "Hey, Shinji?" he called, his voice sounding uncertain.
    "Yes?" Shinji replied, looking up from his desk.
    "Are you sure that the Angels are all dead?"
    Shinji grunted in annoyance. "Kensuke, how many times do I have to tell you? There are no more—" He was interrupted as Kensuke shoved the camera in his face. Looking through the viewfinder Shinji saw a still image of mountains with a text message superimposed on top of it:
    "A state of special emergency has been declared for all prefectures within the Kyushu-Shikoku-Honshu region. Please proceed to your designated shelters at once."
    At that moment, emergency sirens began to sound across the city.
  • Sunset Shimmer Is Mad About Everything: The Harmony Table in Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-jig because of the tiny dog inside of the table.
    “Ugggh…” Sunset uttered. “Look, maybe the table just thinks Starlight could use some emotional support or something! I mean, Twilight can go!”
    Suddenly, Twilight’s cutie mark appeared above Canterlot castle.
    “Yes!” Twilight exclaimed enthusiastically.
    A red circle with a slash through it appeared over Twilight’s cutie mark.
    “No!” Twilight cried angrily.
    Sunset peered at the table suspiciously. “You know… For a table, it’s really tracking our conversation pretty well.”

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in The Brave Little Toaster, where the TV is actually trying as hard as he can to get the attention of the humans so they would go and rescue the protagonists (even saying "this just in" at one point). Radio also likes to pretend he's receiving coincidentally relevant broadcasts, but they're usually with 1940s personalities and all in his voice.
  • Chicken Run features a non-broadcast version, with Mrs. Tweedy declaring she's sick and tired of making minuscule profits with her husband's chicken farm, only to spot an ad in a pile of mail with the phrase "Sick and tired of making minuscule profits?" emblazoned on the front, which just happens to be for a meat pie-making machine.
  • In Coco when Hector confronts Ernesto De la Cruz he repeats the words that were spoken to him on the night he died. Miguel then tells Hector that he's just repeating the lines from a movie starring de La Cruz, only for Hector to mention that he really did hear those words. When Miguel points to a nearby TV that is showing that very scene in the movie, where De la Cruz's character was poisoned by his best friend. This leads Hector to realize that on the night he decided to quit show business and go back to his family, De la Cruz, gave him a poisoned tequila shot, told him he got a bad case of food poisoning, and subsequently stole Hector's music book, and got famous by performing the songs Hector composed.
  • Early in Incredibles 2, the kids are watching The Outer Limits (1963), a show which starts with the opening Kayfabe-ing hijacking your transmission and controlling everything you see and hear. It's a very old show, and probably the only reason it was on is because later on in the movie a new villain named 'Screenslaver' operates by hijacking video transmissions to Brainwash people. Of course, the Incredibles movies seem to take place in the 1960s, or something like it, so it's not that implausible for the series to be on air.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), in once of his first appearances, Bishop is listening to radio news about "Street Thunder," the oddly gigantic, multiracial, murderous, and well-armed gang that ends up performing the unexpected "assault" of the title.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Roy Neary obsessively creates sculptures of a butte/mesa to match the image placed in his mind during a UFO encounter. A news broadcast shows Devil's Tower, Wyoming, which is an exact match for his sculptures. Neary takes the hint and leaves for Devil's Tower. Somewhat justified in that the government had planted false stories of an anthrax outbreak centered on Devil's Tower to drive people away from the area so they wouldn't see the alien spaceships arriving.
    • Spielberg also plays with the trope by having Neary fail to notice the TV for several minutes while it's showing footage of Devil's Tower.
  • This happens with an Entertainment News show early on in Tropic Thunder
  • Subverted in Shaun of the Dead, where Shaun switches on the news to find they're talking about the zombie plague...and promptly changes the channel. But the chunks of speech from the various channels all form a continuous sentence (even though Shaun doesn't seem to notice anyway).
    Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Though no one official is prepared to comment, religious groups are calling it Judgement Day. There's -
    Morrissey: - Panic on the streets of London...
    Newsreader: - as an increasing number of reports of -
    Football Commentator: - serious attacks on -
    Newsreader: - people, who are literally being -
    Wildlife Documentary Narrator: - eaten alive.
    Jeremy Thompson: The witness reports are sketchy, but one unifying detail seems to be that the attackers in many instances appear to be -
    Vernon Kaye: - dead excited to have with us here a sensational chart topping -
  • Done similarly in Dead Set - there are constant TV news reports in the background about growing panic and riots in the streets, but the producer's only concern is that a news bulletin might interrupt his live show.
  • In The Terminator, there's a news broadcast about a killed Sarah Connor. When Sarah is fetched from the restaurant, the newscaster conveniently adds "To recap:" and then repeats the entire story.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, while hiding in the theater from The Weasels, Eddie was about to give up on piecing together the connection Cloverleaf Industries had with Acme's murder when a news reel came on about Maroon's sellout to said company.
  • Babylon A.D.. this is used a bit more judiciously. There's an entire wall showing dozens of channels, which makes it easier to accept if at least one of the channels is showing something relevant.
  • Spoofed in Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, when the hero turns on an old monster movie, where the character therein gives him a foolproof plan for saving the day. And then gives it to him again. And then again. And then points out that he has just given the hero a GOOD IDEA ALREADY. The hero, finally realizes what he has to do, much to the relief of the guy in the old movie.
  • Parodied in Johnny Dangerously when the villain, Vermin, needs to kill the DA. Vermin turns on the radio, which immediately (1920 era tube-warmup time notwithstanding) details that the DA will be watching a movie premier that night. After he turns the radio off, his lackey asks what theatre they will be at. Vermin turns the radio back on, and the radio gives him the theatre name and address.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984) the female lead sees the advert right before she opens her fridge to find a parallel universe in there.
  • BASEketball features a scene where the main character is depressed and driving down the road listening to the radio. At first the lyrics are vaguely inspirational, then become progressively more specific: "Even though some guy's trying to blackmail you / And your girlfriend thinks you suck / All you have to do is let 'em know / That it's all part of some rich guy's evil plan! / Look out ahead, there's a truck changing lanes / You've got some yellow crumbs on your upper lip / And those warts on your dick will never go away / Unless you start using topical cream every day!"
  • Justified example in The Dark Knight: Bruce Wayne has a television on in the background as he gets ready for a party. When the story about The Joker offing a fake Batman comes on, Bruce turns up the volume.
  • Turns up very bizarrely, and without irony, in Batman Returns when Bruce and Selina are kissing on the couch: Bruce's TV set turns itself on (at least, we can only assume, since Bruce and Selina had been sitting on the couch since the scene began and we hadn't heard any background noise earlier) so that a news reporter can conveniently announce "We repeat: the Ice Princess has been kidnapped!" (Especially absurd because Bruce and Selina had planned to watch the Christmas-tree lighting on TV in the first place, but then apparently forgot in the wake of pursuing their...uh, other activity.)
  • Justified in The Osterman Weekend when a 'news article' on the illicit use of Swiss bank accounts appears on television as part of the Mind Screw tactics being used against the protagonists. It's actually being sent via a video feed by the CIA surveillance team.
  • Superman films
    • In Superman Returns Clark goes to a local bar to mull over Lois' engagement to Richard. Fortunately, the television is tuned to coverage of an experimental shuttle launch that Lois is covering, all just minutes before Luthor knocks it out of the sky.
      • We even get the news camera pointing at Lois as she asks a question to make sure Superman knows she's on the plane when its not normal practice for a newscamera to point at a print journalist when she's asking a question. Usually, you'd hear Lois speaking in the background with the camera still pointed at the spokeswoman.
      • Possible Fridge Brilliance. Being the worldwide known Superman exclusive journalist and greatest link to Superman she's certainly more well known than the person she's interviewing.
    • Superman II. After Clark (de-powered Superman) gets beaten up by a bully, the diner's waitress turns on the TV and there's a broadcast by the President of the U.S. surrendering the Earth to General Zod. This clues Clark into the fact that he needs to get his superpowers back ASAP.
    • Man of Steel has a variation in General Zod addressing Earth, demanding that Kal-El turn himself in within 24 hours. Not only does this reveal to Lois the nature of what she discovered and get Perry to believe her; it also shows Clark that Zod knows who he really is.
  • In the Watchmen movie, Ozymandias turns on his giant wall of televisions just as President Nixon begins his statement on the events he just described to the protagonists.
  • In Heat this is how Donald Breedan's wife learns of his death in the bank robbery shootout. Somewhat justified in that it's a major breaking news story and he was killed in the midst of a pretty deadly shootout in the middle of downtown Los Angeles in which at least five people were killed (Cheritto, Breedan, a police detective, a patrol officer and a grocery store employee).
  • Seen in Se7en when Mills enters an office with a TV on just in time to catch a news report on the serial killer's murder. Justified in that it's a live broadcast, and Mills walked through the press conference it's covering 30 seconds ago.
  • Both subverted and played straight in Network. Network executive Frank Hackett gets on the phone with another network staffer, who immediately starts complaining about the content of that day's episode of The Howard Beale Show. Hackett asks his interlocutor to calm down, saying that he's in California and the other staffer is in New York, so New York's local network aired the show three hours earlier and Hackett couldn't have gotten a chance to see it yet. Meanwhile, the show is on TV in the same room where Hackett is, but he completely ignores it; in fact, he asks the hotel staff to turn down the volume so he can take the phone call. After hanging up, though, he does turn his attention to the show.
  • Edward from Enchanted treats TV as a magic box that answers all his questions.
  • In They, Julia comes home and turns on the TV to hear a story about rolling blackouts in the city. She's just recently learned that the only thing that can keep her safe is the light.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure - Mickey, after picking up hitchhiking Pee-Wee, switches on the radio to the announcement " believed to be armed and dangerous" and promptly switches it off - as if the handcuffs weren't a giveaway.
  • Since the Framing Device of 8th Wonderland requires this, almost every television scene in the movie fits this trope.
  • In the '80s horror flick Trick or Treat, Eddie turns on the TV to a news report about his favorite rock star. Unusual in that he missed the beginning, so doesn't hear the main point of the story (that the guy just died) until after the report's retrospective.
  • Subverted in Arlington Road Michael turns on the TV and comes in at the end of a news story about an auto accident, he goes through another channel before getting the full story.
  • TV news on Hancock are conveniently aired when needed for a scene.
  • The scene in Gone Baby Gone with Angie at the hospital after her cliff jump features TV news on the missing child case.
  • A low-tech version appears in Tinkerbell And The Lost Treasure, where the play at Fairy Tale theater just happens to be the prophesy that Tink needed to hear.
  • Averted at the beginning of King Kong vs. Godzilla. The news broadcast spends about a minute on an irrelevant earthquake in Chile before moving to discussing events that are important to the plot. Played straight for the rest of the movie.
    • Speaking of Godzilla, the very first film has a good example. As Dr. Serizawa laments on what he should do with his Oxygen Destroyer, his television broadcasts footage of a choir group of children singing for peace and hope, finally encouraging him to use his device to kill Godzilla. Its especially noticeable because the television WASN'T EVEN ON, and no one was close enough to switch it on either.
  • In Tell No One Margot, who has been Faking the Dead, has decided not to go through with meeting Alexandre because it's too risky, so she goes to the airport to leave and never come back. As she's about to board, she sees a news broadcast that names Alexandre as a murder suspect. Because of this, she decides not to board the plane, and thus narrowly escapes the police.
  • The Truman Show has a scene where Truman's own car radio accidentally picks up a frequency used by the show's producers, so he gets a convenient and alarming play-by-play of his own movements.
  • In Get Smart, in a bizarre twist on this trope, Max gets a coincidental cake, which contains a note telling him to turn on the radio, which causes him to catch a public message one of KONTROL's mooks aired to tell Max where a nuclear device will be detonated, as a thank-you for Max hearing him out on his marital problems.
  • In Trading Places, Valentine and Winthorp have finally gotten on the same page as they want revenge on the Duke Brothers. As they mull over their options, Ophelia is watching the news and points out the man who bribed her as part of the plan to ruin Louis. The broadcast discusses how this is Deeks, assigned to be security for a crop report before it goes public. Valentine and Winthorp instantly recognize the name from records and realize the Dukes' plot to corner the market by getting the report early.
  • This happening in Alone in the Dark (1982) actually saves the day. When the last maniac, a paranoid schizophrenic, has the cast on arrowpoint, the Big Blackout is fixed and the electricity comes back. And just in time to put the television back on to show the news, which features an interview with one Dr. Merton, the guy whose "death" the maniac and his fellow mental patients were trying to avenge. Upset about learning that he has been fighting the wrong fight, the maniac simply leaves.
  • A non-news example occurs in The Game (1997). Sitting in a diner; with his ex-wife, Nicholas sees Jim Feingold (the man who administered the Game's exams earlier in the film) playing a television-commercial "doctor" on the place's TV. At first thinking that the Game runners have found him, he quickly realizes that "Feingold" is a TV actor (of course, given that the Game runners have been watching him and are always one step ahead of him, it's quite possible that the broadcast isn't as "coincidental" as Nicholas thinks it is).
  • In Four Lions, a character is on a tram when he hears a news broadcast on the vehicle's TV screens alerting him to the fact that another character's body has been discovered.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has a paper version, when an old newspaper found in a derelict building coincidentally turns out to have a front-page story revealing a major plot twist.
  • Harry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mocks this trope, proclaiming that it only exists for clumsy Foreshadowing. Sure enough, a news report Harry later watches mentions the eventual location of the climax.
  • Played with in Rough Night; the protagonists do see a television broadcast revealing that the man they had killed earlier and presumed was the stripper they'd hired for the night was actually a jewel thief, as well as revealing that the two men who came to their house are actually the thief's accomplices, but in this case the TV was already on; it had been set to mute since the bachelorette party began and one of the group glanced at the TV at just the right time.
  • At the beginning of Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!, Eddie, now working construction in Montreal, walks into a bar to grab lunch. Not only are the TVs in the bar all showing music news, it's music news about Eddie—specifically, that there will be an Eddie Wilson lookalike contest that night in New York City. Next scene: Eddie driving from Montreal to New York. The movie does this over and over again, alternating between ex-MTV veejay Martha Quinn and Larry King.
    The Agony Booth: This whole scene illustrates, by the way, our film's commitment to the time-honored and inviolable Hey! Turn on the TV! Rule: if you're a movie character, everything on television is about you.
  • Back to the Future. At the beginning of the movie, Doc Brown's TV is automatically turned on just before Marty arrives. It shows a news broadcast about the theft of some plutonium by some Libyan terrorists. After Marty arrives the audience is shown a box containing plutonium underneath a bed, and it later turns out that the terrorists stole the plutonium in the hope that Doc Brown would use it to create an atomic bomb for them.
  • Life Blood: In 2009, Rhea and Brooke are able to catch a documentary that fills them in on what happened after they left the party in 1969. Justified in this case as Dan mentions that it is a rerun, and it makes sense they would be showing a documentary about the unsolved murder of a famous actor on the 40th anniversary of his death.
  • Cool as Ice: Both the protagonist and antagonist learn about Kathy's identity when they see her interviewed by a TV reporter. Adding to the improbability, the villain watches the interview in a location which is implied to be far away from Kathy's hometown, and presumably in a different media market.
  • In SHAZAM!, Dr. Sivana after loosing Shazam, who transforms back into Billy Batson, in the middle of the panicked crowd at the mall where they first fought, Sivana is able to track him down when he sees Freddy, another boy living in Billy's foster home, looking for Billy as a news clip plays of him arguing with Shazam.
  • Flash Gordon (1980): In Zarkov's lab, the television just happens to be talking about his wild and crazy ideas about an alien apocalypse.
  • In I Saw What You Did, Kit and her father are listening to a ballgame on the radio while driving home from Libby's when the game is interrupted by a report about the murdered woman found in the woods, including a vague description of the murderer.
  • In The Young Poisoner's Handbook, Dr. Zeigler happens to walking past the inmates' rec room at precisely the right moment to see footage of Graham being arrested on the news.
  • Played with in Quicksand. As Harvey and Helen drive away from the pier, they turn on the car radio to see if there is any news about Dan. They radio comes on midway through a story detailing a massive police manhunt with roadblocks on all the major highways. However, as the story ends they discover it is about a major crime in the capital. It is followed by a local news item about Dan, and they learn that Mackey is still alive.
  • Wolves: Played with. Cayden is watching TV with the Tollermans when a news broadcast about him comes on. Panicking, he turns the TV off before he can be exposed as a fugitive and awkwardly announces that he's going out. When he comes back hours later with Angel, he walks in to find them watching a news story that clearly shows his face. Weakly, he asks if that's been on the whole time, and Clara admits they Tivo'd it. They're playing it as a way of starting a conversation about Cayden's past, and where he came from.
  • Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop II arrives for an undercover meeting with a criminal who's running a little late. He sits down in an empty office just in time to hear a TV news report of Bogomil's shooting.
  • Run for the Sun: When Van Anders gets the radio working, the first thing it picks up is a news broadcast about Mike and Kate's missing plane.
  • In UHF, George is in a seedy bar ready to begin a new career in drinking after reaching his Despair Event Horizon. But the bar's TV happens to be tuned in to Channel 62 and the patrons are watching the show George just casually put Stanley Spadowski—the station's janitor—in charge of. Their enthusiastic reaction to Stanley on the air convinces George to race back to the station, and it's the turning point of the story.
  • In Casper, when Casper is trying to look for a friend, he changes the channel to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, note  with the show discussing how proud you should feel to be yourself.
  • Weird: The Al Yankovic Story: After Al sends his tape of "My Bologna" to the Captain Buffoon radio show, his roommates warn him that it will require years of hard work before he'll become famous. A moping Al flicks on the radio just in time to hear Captain Buffoon raving about the new tape he's just received and how he will be playing "My Bologna" all day long.

  • A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag: Sean laughs at Jardine's claim that the island of Theamelpos is endowed with good luck. Then he opens a magazine with a story about an unemployed dockworker who got rich and married a supermodel during a vacation to Theamelpos.
  • Happens straight in the novel Layer Cake where the drug dealer protagonist who has thus far been talking about how well things are going sees a broadcast discussing the brutal murder of a Dutchman. Turns out that he was a supplier and the men who tortured him to death had drugs stolen from them by the protagonist's associates.
  • Justified in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series: the Purgatory News specifically puts together separate broadcasts for each resident, so whenever one of the Incarnations turns their office TV on, the news will always be relevant to them.
  • In book 8 of the The 39 Clues, Dan Cahill happens to see the Holts, rival Clue hunters, in a TV report on the weather at Mt. Everest. Unfortunately, a Clue is hidden on Everest as well.
  • A newspaper variant in The Call of Cthulhu, in which the protagonist Thurston just happens to come across a newspaper article about Gustaf Johansen, prompting him to investigate.
  • Averted in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where none of the news sources in the opening chapters tell Harry anything (which, as Hermione tells him, is partly because he doesn't bother to pursue them carefully).
  • Subverted in the Stephen King short story "The Man Who Loved Flowers." A telling clue that reveals the climax of the entire story is slipped unobtrusively into a radio news report in such a way that most readers won't notice it on first reading.
  • Animorphs has a Coincidental Broadcast about a Coincidental News Event: After learning that a Pemalite ship has been found underwater by the Yeerks, the Animorphs discuss ways of diving that deep (such as sperm whales or giant squid). That very evening, Rachel catches the tail end of a report about a sperm whale that beached itself in their town. This is no coincidence, as they very well know. Either of the Eldritch Abominations using them as pawns in their game made the whale beach itself so the kids could go out to sea and find the ship.
  • There's a rare non-radio/TV example in Beware of Chicken. Having lost track of time, Jin inquires at an inn what day it is and how many days there are left until the Dueling Peaks Tournament concludes. The innkeeper replies the tournament ends that very day, but they're still waiting on news of the results. Mere seconds later a messenger boy bursts into the room.
    Messenger: Cai Xiulan defeated Rou Tigu! The match of the century!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Near the end of the episode "Half Measure", Walt hasn't been able to reach Jesse all day. As he's getting ready for dinner with his family, he overhears a news report about a boy who was shot to death in a gang-related execution earlier that day (a boy he knows was under the employ of the same drug lord as him), and realizes then and there why Jesse was missing all day and what he's about to do, and rushes to save him.
    • In the episode "Granite State", Walt finally emerges from the mountain cabin where he's been hiding out and goes to a bar. What pops up on the television mounted above the bar? Naturally, a PBS interview with Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, Walt's old partners and co-founders of Gray Matter.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Lampshaded during one invention exchange, with a special radio that only used channels from old movies and TV shows, including the "Incredibly Plot Specific News Station": "The Harlem Globetrotters have been missing at sea and are thought to have washed up on some uncharted desert isle."
    • They also lampshaded it whenever it was used in a movie, usually with some comment like, "but first, a message from Plot Convenience Playhouse" or "You're listening to K-PLOT."note 
    • At the beginning of "Young Man's Fancy,"note  the daughter is ironing and shuts off the radio just as the reporter is announcing, "According to the latest bulletins...," and Crow fills in with, "...ironing can be deadly!"
  • Subverted in The Pretender episode "Meltdown", which ultimately reveals that the television in question has been rigged as part of a sting operation to receive specially tailored fake news broadcasts originating from the next room.
  • The same ploy was used in Mission: Impossible: "Ultimatum," Combined with "We Interrupt This Program". The target of the sting was not smart enough to question the coincidence that his music program would be repeatedly interrupted with information directly relevant to his own situation.
  • Subverted in Arrested Development, when the prosecuting attorney turns on the news to show Michael that his brother, Gob, has been arrested in Iraq... and they have to wait through about twenty minutes of unrelated stories. When the story about Gob's arrest has finally aired, the attorney remarks, "And imagine the impact if that had come on right when we turned on the TV!"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Played straight in the famous episode "Hush": The Scoobies are all grouped around a TV showing a news broadcast from LA regarding everyone in Sunnydale losing their voices. A strong argument could be made that this example is justified: An entire freaking town losing their voices simultaneously is bound to get through at least one person's Weirdness Censor. Also the Scoobies were already watching the TV; Xander simply calls attention to the broadcast at the appropriate point. There's also the point that such a story might merit round-the-clock coverage, especially if it's a recent development.
    • In "The Harsh Light of Day", while everyone is at Giles' apartment to research the latest crisis in Sunnydale, Xander is shocked to discover that Giles has a TV set that had been buried under some boxes of books. He turns it on, and everyone gathers around it to watch. Giles tells them all to get back to work. "Watching television is not going to help us right now." Cue a news report that gives them a vital clue.
    • Also done in "Who Are You?", when the Scoobies (minus Xander) turn on the TV to find out vampires have taken control of a church (justified as Xander called Giles and told him to turn on the TV), and Faith sees the broadcast from the airport just as she's about to leave.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the TV Movie, just as the Doctor has convinced Grace that the only way to save the planet is to gain an atomic clock from somewhere, the news reports that one is being unveiled at a nearby university.
    • The episode "The Lazarus Experiment" has a variation; a Coincidental Phone Call telling the characters to turn on the news.
  • Parodied in Dinosaurs, in which turning on the news reveals that an asteroid is about to hit the family's television, after which it immediately happens.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus.
    • The "Penguin On The Telly" Sketch.
      Newsreader: It's 8:30, time for the penguin on top of your television to explode.
      Old Lady: How did he do that?
      Newsreader: It was an inspired guess. And now...
    • In the episode that focused on ants, one character settles down to watch TV with his pet ant Marcus.
      Announcer: Hello and welcome to the University of the Air. And first this afternoon, part seventeen in our series of lectures on animal communications. This afternoon we look at recent discoveries in the field of intraspecific signalling codes in the family Formicidae.
      Chris: That's a stroke of luck, Marcus!
      Note that Formicidae is the ant family, so the show was on how ants communicate with each other.
  • The X-Files: In "The Erlenmeyer Flask", Mulder watches the news informing on the case he's about to investigate. Justified because he got an echo from Deep Throat, his secret informant.
  • Fringe:
    • Subverted in the episode "August", where the title character turns on the news and has to wait a few minutes for the right news to come on.
    • Played straight when Olivia and Peter hear the same news on the radio, though they were already listening.
  • Played with on FlashForward (2009) in "A561984" where the redemption scene is playing over the final scene in the airport, with Demetri and Mark who has just been fired from the FBI. Could also be a case of Crystal-Ball Scheduling, but Mark visibly turns to look at the broadcast before his line.
  • Subverted in the Made-for-TV Movie Special Bulletin, the terrorists who land in Charleston Harbor grab a TV crew who happen to be covering an unrelated story at the docks.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon act 5. Ami has been doubting the authenticity of her friendship with Usagi. She walks past a TV at an electronics store with a movie about a woman betraying and killing her friend.
  • Used both obviously and subtly in Sherlock; at the beginning of "The Great Game", John turns on the TV just as a news story about a Vermeer painting changes to a broadcast about the explosion that has just occurred at Baker Street. The convenient Baker Street story is of immediate relevance to John, but the Vermeer news later turns out to be just as important.
  • Married... with Children: Every member of the Bundy family has been featured in such a broadcast. Al, numerous times.
  • In the pilot of Sliders, the protagonists find out what happened to Rembrandt by accidentally stumbling upon his minutes-long televised trial while idly channel surfing.
  • Subverted on Community when Abed is telling a horror story on Halloween. The characters in his story have to wait through several minutes of music on the radio before hearing the news about the escaped serial killer in their neighborhood, because it would be implausible for the report to be playing at the exact time they turned on the radio. Unfortunately for his listeners, because Abed's Genre Savvy doesn't make him any better at telling stories, much to their frustration they have to listen to hum the music numbers in their entirety.
  • This happened several times on JAG, and in it ZNN was the news network of choice.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): The episode "Time Enough at Last" manages this trope with a newspaper. Henry Bemis opens the paper to see that the top headline on the first page (which actually has a realistic layout) is "H-Bomb Capable of Total Destruction"... and you can guess what happens next. Probably justified, since a hydrogen bomb being completed is pretty big news.
  • Often spoofed in the British TV comedy series The Goodies, for instance when they are trapped in their apartment and have just lost the telephone service, Tim says "well, at least we still have the television" and turns it on, whereupon the announcer says "...and now a service announcement: The BBC today announced a cutback of one hundred percent." (TV screen immediately goes blank).
  • Supernatural:
    • In "What is and What Should Never Be", while in the Wish-verse, Dean channels surfs only to see a broadcast about a memorial for plane crash victims, who were saved in the regular timeline.
    • In "Free to Be You and Me", Sam works at a bar where there is a news broadcast about various apocalypse-related phenomena, the very apocalypse a guilt-ridden Sam started.
    • In "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", a news broadcast about the global meteor shower plays with footage of the falling angels in Sam's hospital room.
  • Subverted on My Name Is Earl. Randy has stolen an ambulance, in an attempt to get Earl to the hospital after he got hit by a car (again). He turns on the radio to calm down, and the dispatcher implores him to return the ambulance, saying that if the patients die, it will be on him. Randy, being The Ditz responds like so:
    Randy: How'd that DJ know I stole an ambulance?!
  • In a first series sketch from Carrott's Lib, a government minister has gathered his staff to tell them that a series of leaks to the press and radio has been traced to their department. Meanwhile, a radio news broadcaster (actually a ministry employee moonlighting as a radio presenter) is repeating the content of his speech, almost word for word.
    Minister: All right, quiet please, quiet please! Someone turn this radio down, would they? (someone does so) Now listen, ladies and gentlemen. About - these - leaks. We really must do something about the press and radio getting hold of these telegrams and other classified information!
    Newsreader: Good evening. Here is the news. A short while ago, the government decided to take action over the recent leakages of telegrams and other classified information to the press and radio.
    Minister: (momentarily put off) ... we've already had an investigation, and I'm sorry to have to tell you that it is this department which is believed to be responsible!
    Newsreader: After an internal investigation, a ministry department is believed to be responsible.
    Minister: (momentarily put off again) ... the evidence we have-
    Newsreader: The evidence they have...
    Minister: ... which is quite specific...
    Newsreader: ... which is quite specific...
    Minister: ... proves...
    Newsreader: ... proves...
    Minister: ... it.
    Newsreader: ... it.
    Minister: (eyes narrow suspiciously) ... paintbrush.
    Newsreader: Paintbrush.
    Minister: ... cucumber.
    Newsreader: Cucumber.
    Minister: (makes high-pitched babbling noise with his tongue)
    Newsreader: (does likewise)
  • It's probably easier to list the number of Gilligan's Island episodes that don't revolve around what they just happen to hear on the radio.
    • One of the worst offenders may be the episode where a crate of coconuts wrapped in newspapers happens to wash-up on shore. An article in one of those papers happens to implicate one of the castaways as a possible murderer. They spend the rest of the episode suspecting each other and even reenacting the murder in order to prove they're all innocent. Queue the radio conveniently broadcasting a retraction of that article and identifying the real killer (that matched what the castaways learned) the very next day.
  • In the 7 Yüz episode "Hayatın Musikisi", Pinar first learns that Oşa has been arrested for fraud while leaving work, walking past the giant television screen in the lobby. Coincidentally, it's also at a moment she needs him the most.
  • In The Cosby Show episode "Off To See The Wretched", Vanessa and her friends have snuck off to Baltimore to see the titular group in concert, with their alibi being that they're spending the night at one girl's house, whose parents are out of town for the weekend. However, later that night, the family is watching the news when there's a report that there's a fire in that very neighborhood. One of the people interviewed happens to be the girl's grandmother, who reveals that the girl's parents are away. Already confused by this inconsistency, Cliff and Claire are stunned when the next news story is about the Wretched concert, which reveals that the concert is not in New York, as the girls had told them.
  • Subverted in Abbott Elementary, "Attack Ad". The teachers learn there's a commercial attacking them on the television and turn on the TV, hoping to watch it...only to see a totally unrelated commercial. Ava comes in with it loaded onto a laptop and they watch it there.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu, The Unspeakable Oath magazine #10 adventure "In Media Res". Four men find themselves inside a farmhouse with the dead body of a murdered prison guard lying on a table. Each man has complete amnesia about their past. In a nearby room, a television set is showing a local newscast about the crash of a bus owned by the "Liberty Center for the Criminally Insane" and the escape of several dangerous inmates being carried by the bus. Guess what the men are?

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Max Payne and the sequel. No matter how long Max waits to get to plot-specific televisions, it's always just in time to learn the next bit of broadcast news about the rampage he is currently involved in. Oddly enough, this applies to several differing television dramas that are also playing on other channels.
  • Futurama: The Game:
    Farnsworth: (having sold Planet Express to Mom) It's not like this is The End of the World as We Know It. (Fry switches on TV.)
    Morbo: This is the end of the world as we know it. With the recent purchase of Planet Express, Mom now owns 50% of Earth, making her its supreme ruler.
  • The news broadcasts in Starcraft II are usually relevant in some way or another to the current or previous mission. The Ihan crystal missions are an exception, naturally (the "missions" are memories of Zeratul's that Raynor is reliving, so all that's happening is he's staring at the Ihan crystal for hours on end), which gives the writers the opportunity to put in irrelevant celebrity news and hilarious ads.
    • A particularly on-point example is the news broadcast of Raynor's capture and execution in mid-cutscene in Heart of the Swarm. In this case, the TV turns itself on without prompting, so the computer might have been on the lookout for news stories about that topic, but the timing is still implausibly dramatic.
  • In The Simpsons: Road Rage, in the opening cutscene the family turns on the television to the news channel in light of Burns buying Springfield's public transit, and Brockman is idly staring off-camera, then immediately stares at the camera to give his report, as if he was waiting for the Simpson's TV to turn on.
  • inFAMOUS has TVs spread across the city will report on your actions (sort of), but only when you happen to be nearby.
  • In the AGDI Fan Remake of King's Quest II, the librarian won't let you take any books, but will choose a book for you to read. She ends up picking a book about whatever place you're going to have to explore next to advance the plot.
  • In the first issue of the Team Fortress 2 comic series Ring of Fired, the team is Putting the Band Back Together. As they discuss how to find the Scout and the Spy, Miss Pauling coincidentally finds a newspaper with their pictures and the headline Merc Scum To Hang.
  • In Fahrenheit the hero Lucas Kane is beginning to understand someone used ancient Maya magic to force him to commit a crime. He's wondering what to do next, turns on the TV, and, surprise! stumbles upon the interview of a world-famous Maya religion expert who precisely happens to be organizing an exhibition in the same city. Possibly justified, since that's the guy who did it, and he's got an entire set of plans built around Lucas.
  • In Beyond: Two Souls After Jodie Holmes kills Gemaal Sheik Charrief, who Jodie was told was a dangerous warlord, on the helicopter ride back to America she turns on the TV to hear a news report about him and learns that he was not a warlord, but in fact a democratically elected president. This causes her to defect from the CIA..
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey begins with the Schwartzwelt Joint Project, the political and military higher-ups brought together to deal with the threat the Schwartzwelt represents, receiving footage from the probes they sent into it. At the same time, they're monitoring world news to make sure their cover story is in place. Each picture from the Schwartzwelt is paired up with a news broadcast that mirrors it (for example, Antlia, which appears as a burned and battered city in the middle of a war, is paired with news of a major conflict in Eastern Europe). Understandably, the Project initially believes they've accidentally crossed their feeds when they see the probe's footage.
  • In The Darkside Detective, one of the things that can happen if you turn on the radio in McQueen's office is a breaking news bulletin about the events you're currently investigating.


    Web Original 
  • In a sketch from That Guy with the Glasses (GNN - Interviews the Joker), the Joker idly asks the interviewer, Lori Prince, if he was forced to choose between the life of his dog and his cat, which he would choose. After saying he would pick the cat, an explosion is heard from the Joker's end. Shortly afterward, the news ticker at the bottom of the screen starts saying things like BREAKING NEWS: Small explosion rocks upscale home of late night talk show host, Lori Prince.
  • During one scene of The End a notification of a recall of the headphones Brendon just bought happens to come on while he's standing in his kitchen, setting off a plot point.
  • In GEOWeasel, a news presenter warns of the weather event that drives the plot of the episode, inexplicably interrupting a video game to bring this news. The original sprite comic the episode was based even has the news interrupt a handheld game.
  • Dartigan from Game Sins points this trope out whenever possible, referring to it as "the exposition news network".

    Western Animation 
  • Spoofed in Family Guy.
    Tom Tucker: "Coming up in the next half-hour, an undercover exposé on conveniently-placed news reports in television shows. But first: Peter, look out for that skateboard." (Peter promptly slips on a skateboard.)
    • In "Foreign Affairs," Peter is watching a piece on a new "Goat Flu" epidemic and becoming more and more afraid. The report shows people sneezing at a salad bar, licking subway turnstiles, and "a man with the flu making out with you while you sleep" (with Peter Griffin actually shown).
  • The Simpsons has made frequent use/spoofs of this. Half the time, the characters don't even have to actually be shown turning on the TV themselves to catch the Coincidental Broadcast;
    Homer: That's it! I'll make money with a chauffeur job! Good thing you turned on that TV, Lisa.
    Lisa: I didn't turn it on, I thought you turned it on.
    Homer: No. Well, anyway, turn it off.
    Lisa: It is off... (cue creepy music)
  • Lampshaded on Johnny Test when Johnny wants to win a trophy, but doesn't know how:
    Johnny: You know how we'll be sitting here and that guy on TV gives us an idea?
    Dukey: That is ridiculous.
    Hank Anchorman: So you wanna win a huge trophy?
  • In the "One Jem Too Many" episode of Jem, after Jerrica "Jem" Benton claims that a Jem imposter is on the loose, Kimber turns on the news and the Holograms see someone else playing Jem on live TV. The Agony Booth recap of this episode even refers to this as "the Most Coincidental TV Station Ever".
  • Kim Possible uses this a lot. No matter if it's revealing information about the latest villain plot, Kim's parents wondering what she was doing parachuting into their front yard at 7:45am, or after Kim has blown up the superweapon, if someone turns on a TV, it's there.
  • Parodied in The Fairly OddParents!.
    Cosmo: Timmy! The whole world's falling apart! Look at this conveniently-placed big-screen television! (indicating a TV in the middle of nowhere)
    • Repeatedly invoked in the episode "Chip Off the Old Chip", in which Timmy switches voices with Chip Skylark. Every time Timmy and/or his fairies get stuck on what to do, they turn on their TV and invariably get a broadcast telling them exactly what they should do. This culminates in a Wheel of Fortune parody with (almost) the right solution appearing on the puzzle: "GET CHIP SKYLARK TO SAY I WISH I HAD TOMMY TURNER'S VOICE".
    • In another episode, immediately after proclaiming that "everything will be fine", Timmy turns on the TV to see Chet Ubetcha delivering a report that begins "Everything is not fine!"
    • In "Inspection Detection", a news report detailing what got stolen from the "Wall 2 Wall Mart" comes on right when Timmy is walking by with said items.
  • All over the place in Justice League. Sometimes it seemed like if the news media wasn't covering a supervillain's rampage, the League would never know about it.
    Disguised Eclipso: How would one go about contacting this "Justice League"?
    Soldier: Put on a gaudy costume and threaten to hurt a lot of people...
  • A similar joke was made in Superman: The Animated Series when Lobo asks a policeman about Superman:
    Policeman: Superman? We don't keep tabs on him. He only shows up if there's trouble.
    Lobo: I can do trouble... *Dramatic Gun Cock*
  • Often seen in Garfield and Friends. It was lampshaded once when Jon says something about "I gotta go on a diet," immediately followed by a commercial asking "Do you have to go on a diet?" and Jon says "Why does my TV always knows what I'm thinking?"
  • In Invader Zim episode "Rise of the Zitboy", Zim develops a spot. Shortly after being told by Gir 'You've got a pimple!' an advert for 'Acne-Blast' comes on the TV.
  • Happens constantly on Futurama, as lampshaded by Bender in this page's quote.
  • The opening scene of Batman Beyond shows a group of kidnappers watching a TV news report about their crime. This is preceded by a business news item that introduces two bits of exposition: Bruce Wayne is now considerably older, and a rival named Derek Powers has been trying to take over his company.
  • The Loud House:
    • In the episode "Sound of Silence""
      Lincoln: Sadly, when you've got ten sisters, it's almost impossible to get a moment's peace.
      TV Announcer: Do you find it almost impossible to get a moment's peace?
      Lincoln: [exasperated] Yes. [suddenly intrigued] Wait! Yes!
      TV Announcer: Then you need the Noise-B-Gone 2000 Earbuds! With 12 different soothing sounds, tune out that noisy world and enjoy a little me time. Only $19.95. Call now.
  • Teen Titans:
    Robin: Look, Beast Boy, Control Freak can't be on TV, he's locked up in jail where he belongs, remember?
    Huge television screen behind Robin: We interrupt this program for breaking news. Authorities have just discovered that the dangerous criminal known as Control Freak has escaped from prison.
  • Used for one line of plot development on Daria during the Musical Episode in the song "Morning in the 'Burbs". The TV is turned on to the news just in time for the plot bit and turned off immediately after.
    Helen: (singing) What's the weather like today?
    [Helen turns on the TV]
    Weatherman: (also singing) May be a hurricane on the way- '''
    [Helen turns off the TV]
    Helen: But it's such a lovely day!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Parodied in the "Nasty Patty" episode, after SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs play a prank on what they think is a phony health inspector:
      Realistic Fish Head: We interrupt your laughter at other people's expense to bring you this news flash. The fake inspector has been captured. Here is his picture (picture is shown on the TV). If a health inspector comes to your restaurant and he's not this guy, he's real.
    • "Squidville" has a particularly elaborate example, after SpongeBob and Patrick destroy Squidward's house with reef blowers. Squidward tells them that he's had enough and is moving away.
      Squidward: SpongeBob, this is the final straw. I want to move so far away that I will be able to brag about it! I would rather tear out my brain stem, carry it into the middle of the nearest four-way intersection and skip rope with it than go on living where I do now!
      (Squidward's TV falls from above and a commercial comes on)
      Announcer: Hi there! Is this the final straw? Do you want to move so far away that you can brag about it? Would you rather tear out your brain stem, walk out into the middle of the nearest three-way...
      Squidward: Four-way.
      Announcer: ...four-way intersection and skip rope with it than go on living where you do now?
    • And in "MuscleBob BuffPants", right when SpongeBob is wondering how he can get muscles without unpleasant labor, a commercial for fake muscles comes on.
  • In American Dad!, Stan has Roger framed and sentenced to a maximum security prison in Thailand, due to Roger's usual bout of Disproportionate Retribution leading him to try and murder the Smiths for having said incredible hurtful things to him at his birthday roast (a roast he wanted). Immediately after Stan finishes explaining Roger's no longer a threat, Terry on Action News reports "breaking news from Asia!" Steve dully states "oh no" as it cuts to a photo of Roger using a raft made out of the severed limbs of the prison guards.
  • In a Donald Duck cartoon, Donald's encounters with a gorilla named Ajax are accompanied by advice given on the radio on dealing with Ajax.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Attack of the Tree People". When Topper turns on the radio he and Silky hear a broadcast about Jonny and Hadji's being shipwrecked and that a reward is being offered for their return.
  • A Tom and Jerry short had the radio making relevant broadcasts about a white mouse that had escaped from a lab after drinking a experimental explosive. The advice isn't necessarily trustworthy.
  • In an episode of Doug, our title character had just legally obtained a large sum of cash after no one claimed it from the police. Doug's busy totaling up how much was in there and, when he gives the final amount, it's echoed on the TV. Turns out that the money belonged to a little old lady who was going to lose her home if she didn't have it.
  • Done three times in SheZow episode, "Super Sidekick". Once for the hair monster, one for a Your Television Hates You moment for Guy, and one to reveal that Maz is in hot water.
  • One episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) had a justified example. The person calling the Turtles to tell them about the news broadcast (April) was the reporter delivering it.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko is upset about the mess in his house and the fact that his old POS vacuum cleaner isn't working. Heffer persuades him to take a break, and Rocko reluctantly agrees, saying, "Sometimes, I believe I was destined to exist in an endless world of filth." The TV then plays a commercial with those Exact Words. And Hilarity Ensues from there.
  • Gravity Falls
    • When Mabel is playing with her pet pig Waddles in "The Land Before Swine", she sees a commercial for a baby-carrier called the Huggy Wuvvy Tummy Bundle, which stresses that the Huggy Wuvvy Tummy Bundle also works for pigs. "IT WORKS FOR PIIIIGS!!"
    • In "The Golf War", Mabel is sulking over Pacifica bribing her way onto the front page of the Gravity Falls Gossiper and stealing Mabel's spot-light, when she overhears a TV ad for the local mini-golf course.
      Mabel: I need something to get my mind off this.
      TV Announcer: Looking for a distraction from your horrible life?
      Mabel: Why, yes!
  • During the Looney Tunes short "Baby Buggy Bunny"; this comes into play when Bugs Bunny (who had just spotted "baby Finster" shaving and sporting a tattoo and cigar through his bathroom keyhole); who was beginning to become suspicious, suddenly hears a news update on his television alerting details that reveal the "baby" as Ant-Hill Harry (aka Baby-Face Finster), who had pulled off a bank heist at the start of the cartoon.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester makes a vow to never eat birds again. He tries to distract himself from his cravings by watching TV, only to have the program be a cooking show presenting how to cook a turkey. When he tries to listen to the radio instead, the radio announcer says, "That was Bye Bye Blackbird. Now we'll hear, When the Red Red Robin Goes Bob-bob-bobbin' Along!"

    Real Life 
  • Somewhat truth in television in that the major cable news networks repeat the same current traumatic event every 10 minutes, due to people calling friends and saying 'Did you hear about...?'
    • Oddly enough, the more this trope is parodied, the more the abundance of round the clock news stations make this trope a reality. Of course, that only works if the movie's events would be worthy of national news. So just make sure your female lead is blonde.
  • Really happened to the vice president and countless others, as reported here.
  • Partly real life and partly live-action TV, an episode of Dallas SWAT chronicled a SWAT officer going in to work one day, listening to the radio in his car. The radio broadcasts a report about a hijacked semi truck. Seconds later, his beeper goes off.
  • During the 2004 Niigata earthquake, TV Tokyo was broadcasting a show involving tourism in Niigata at the same time it occured.
  • On January 9, 2022, ABC News broke into America's Funniest Home Videos to announce the death of comedian (and former AFV host) Bob Saget.
  • PBS examples:
    • On March 16, 2020 at 10:00AM EST, when most broadcast television stations interrupted their programming to alert viewers of businesses being closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, most PBS affiliates in the Eastern timezone reran the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood episode "Daniel Gets A Cold; Mom Tiger Is Sick", which is about characters getting sick. PBS would take notice of what happened and pulled the episode from its' lineup.
    • At the exact time that Queen Elizabeth II's death was announced (September 8, 2022 at 1:30PM EST), most PBS affiliates in the Eastern timezone were airing a rerun of the Donkey Hodie episode "The Masked Veggies; The Royal Hosts", whose second segment focuses on Donkey Hodie and Purple Panda meeting King Friday for the first time.


Video Example(s):


Eris' Spaceship

After arriving on Earth to gather info to initiate First Contact, Eris' Ship is pulled from the sea as she's asked to provide proof that she is an Alien.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CoincidentalBroadcast

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