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Series / CNNNN

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CNNNN: We report, you believe.

CNNNN (Chaser Non-Stop News Network) was a News Parody series by Australian comedy team The Chaser, which ran on The ABC for nineteen episodes over two series in 2002 and 2003. The show purported to be a live feed from a 24-hour cable news station, obviously inspired by CNN and Fox News. As with its predecessor The Election Chaser, it was hosted primarily by Craig Reucassel, Chris Taylor and Julian Morrow, with the rest of the Chaser team in supporting roles.

This series provides examples of:

  • Advertising Disguised as News: The first episode of the second series revolves around an admittedly Frivolous Lawsuit against Fungry's restaurants, who are owned by the same corporation as CNNNN. Naturally, the news segments go out of their way to discredit the plaintiff and make the restaurant and its mascot look like the victim, eventually pressuring him to settle live on air.
  • Airport Novel: Craig and Chris comment on Senator Margaret Reid being criticised for the amount of taxpayer money she's spent on international travel. For this, Craig awards her an Excessively Frequent Flyer card and a copy of the world's longest airport novel, by Clancy Grisham.
  • Alphabet News Network: The fact that the title has more initials than words is brought up at least once. It's never explained onscreen why (one episode makes it The Unreveal, cut off by the end of the episode), though the extraneous N is probably supposed to be the second N in "Non-stop".
  • Amusing Injuries: In the Lunchgate episode, Dominic Knight gets badly injured several times while trying to make contact with Dwight Maloney, to the point of helping cause the car to crash.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The first episode, aired early in The War on Terror, has a poll asking viewers to tell them which country should be attacked next. The "Evil Top 5" consists of Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
    • In the Lunchgate episode, shortly after the police pursuit begins, the team consult a "speculation expert", who suggests it may be a car thief, a murderer fleeing the scene of a crime, or maybe someone's just forgotten their lunch and the police are trying to give it to them. Of course, the third one is correct.
  • Captain Obvious: Charles Firth's report on teenage drug use. At one point he holds up a human brain to the camera and says "This is the brain from a kid who took drugs. Guess what happened to him? He’s now dead. Our investigation shows that every single drug user who’s had their brain removed is now dead."
  • Chase Scene: The episode Lunchgate revolves around a high speed chase involving a man who had forgotten his bagged lunch at home and the LAPD who were trying to deliver it to him.
  • Confused Bystander Interview: Brett Aspinall in the Lunchgate episode, interviewed because the police chase went through his street, while he was inside the house and didn't see any of the cars. Which is arguably still more relevant than most of the people consulted during the episode.
  • Crawl: The first of the Chaser's series to use this, which is usually funny enough to distract fans from the rest of the show. One episode even had a news crawl that summarised the original news crawl, and one had a news crawl for the vision impaired which basically filled the entire screen (in other words, you only saw three or four letters of the crawl at a time).
  • Disneyfication: Oddly subverted in the commercial for an animated musical based on Oedipus the King, which seems to keep the patricide, incest and Eye Scream moments from the play.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • The last episode of the first series is a documentary on 40 years of CNNNN (formerly CNNN).
    • The last episode of the second series is presented as part of a DVD, with the viewer trying out various bonus features such as an Audio Commentary, an Audio Commentary discussing first Audio Commentary, and a subtitle track revealing what the presenters are actually thinking about the story of the day (Kerry Packer's health crisis).
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    Craig: Still overseas, and a new report has found that global corporations are continuing to exploit children for cheap labour. To discuss the report, we're joined by our Southeast Asia correspondent.
    (Cut to the clearly underage correspondent Thy Angkat, who is then poked with a stick when she doesn't speak up.)
  • Insane Troll Logic: Charles Firth's attempt to draw a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein: their names have the same number of letters. "Thirteen! That's unlucky! For Saddam."
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: One of the CNNNN producer's less successful ideas was a Mufti Day for the newsreaders, which led to some rather inappropriate outfits when the team covered the 9/11 attacks, forcing Chris to apologise. "Yesterday the idea of Mufti Day seemed like a good idea. We now know we were wrong."
  • Jukebox Musical: One episode has a report on Agadoo! The Musical, directed by the man responsible for the original video clip. It's a parody of Mamma Mia! and The Boy From Oz, both mentioned by Craig in the lead-in to the report. Chris then hints that Baz Luhrmann is working on a film adaptation.
  • Just the Introduction to the Opposites: A report on a group of gay scientists who claim to have isolated the Christian gene.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In the commercials for A Chaser Affair, each of the stories are bizarre combinations of A Current Affair and Today Tonight's most common targets (dodgy builders, welfare cheats, botox, exotic dancers, the Lebanese, fat kids, etc).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Charles Firth is an obvious Bill O'Reilly stand-in, made apparent by the commercials for The Firth Factor and Firth and Friends.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Most episodes in the first series open on the tail-end of a particularly weird report from Simon Target.
    Simon: But the vital knowledge we have gained from the affair is that John Major's buttocks are smoother than apricots. I'm Simon Target in London.
  • Pantomime Animal: While covering the 2002 Melbourne Cup, Craig claims that Robbie Waterhouse tried to bring in a pantomime horse as a ring-in.
  • Parody Commercial: Several per episode, with a few recurring products such as the fast food restaurant chain Fungry's, Esteem cosmetics ("Esteem: because you need it.") and Boggs Lager ("Let's all get boggered, tonight!").
  • Parody Product Placement:
    • Chris starts making an obvious plug for Telstra while a man puts two dollar sign bags on the desk in front of him and Craig. Cue the caption, "Cash for Sarcastic Comment."
    • Taken up to eleven with the Product Placement channel.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: A few of these for other shows supposedly on Chaser Cable, most commonly Rita and Lin the Hyper Twins, a The Powerpuff Girls-style superhero cartoon that's blatant right-wing propaganda, with all the villains representing left-wing causes like environmentalism and human rights.
  • Running Gag: Everytime someone tries to cross to Chas reporting from Brussels, Chas has been in some kind of accident at the newsdesk, forcing Craig to cut back citing technical problem.
  • Selective Stupidity:
    • The team's roving reporter Julian Morrow did several segments of asking American passers-by general knowledge questions and showing the most bizarre answers. A particularly memorable one was a man who was asked "Who was the first man on the moon?" His answer: "You know, some people don't think that happened, they think it was reincarnated in Arizona somewhere."
    • Another highlight from the same scene:
      Man: I have no intelligent guess.
      Julian: Okay, do you want to make a stupid guess?
    • Julian also did several segments asking for opinions on how America should handle The War on Terror, with a lot of the answers shown being more horrifying than funny.
    • Another segment had Julian asking people which country America should invade next by placing flags on a map. A lot of people put their flags on Australia, which had been mislabelled as "Iran", "North Korea" and "France".
  • Smarmy Host: Rudy Blass, who hosts a number of game shows derived from tragic news stories.
    Rudy: They say that "Comedy equals tragedy plus time." Well, I say that "Game show equals tragedy plus now."
  • Subliminal Advertising: One episode, aired around the time of HSC exams, provided subliminal cheat notes for students, though one of these was rendered useless because it was half covered up by the "Tilt Australia" watermark.
  • Unwanted Assistance: One episode has Chas annoying people in public dressed as Clippit the Microsoft assistant.
    Chas: It looks like you're trying to relax and unwind. Would you like some help?
  • Who Shot JFK?: In the documentary episode, we see how CNNN covered the Kennedy assassination as it happened, with Chris and Julian initially assuming the President's head just exploded from the stress of running the country, and Craig, who suggests he was shot by a lone gunman from a distance, being treated like a crazy conspiracy theorist. Forty years later, Chris still stands by his first theory and the book he wrote on it.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: In one of the ads spotlighting the crew, Harry Qing, a cleaner at CNNNN, claims to be a doctor from Shanghai whose qualifications aren't recognised in Australia. "That is why I work for CNNNN."