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Series / Not Necessarily the News

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Top row: Mitchell Laurence, Lucy Webb, Danny Breen. Bottom row: Stuart Pankin, Anne Bloom. Not pictured: Rich Hall.

Not Necessarily the News was a comedy program that aired on HBO from 1982 to 1990. Based on the British TV series Not the Nine O'Clock News, political satire was the show's stock in trade, as the ensemble poked fun at the headlines of the times, not to mention the news media itself.

From 1982 to 1987, NNTN was structured like a sketch comedy interspersed with commercial parodies and satirized news items. Then, after a brief hiatus, the show returned in 1989 with a "Weekend Update"-style format, centered on the news anchors but still containing humorous takes on the news and some fake commercials. Unfortunately, most of the audience's reaction was They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, and the retooled NNTN was done after only one season.

The show is credited with starting or boosting the careers of Rich Hall, Jan Hooks, Conan O'Brien and Greg Daniels, all of whom worked on Saturday Night Live after this show.

Officials at TV Tropes have confirmed that the following tropes were affiliated with Not Necessarily The News:

  • Attack of the Political Ad: The "Bring Back DICK!" bits, used throughout the 1984 episodes.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Some HBO programming has ended up as targets of NNTN satire.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot, Not Necessarily Television, does not include the setting of the television news program. The show starts with the cast (dressed in casual clothes) sitting in a park watching some flying saucers landing, that actually contain food.
  • The '80s: And as such, much of the humor was at the expense of Ronald Reagan.
  • Gag Dub: A key element of NNTN, done to news footage.
  • Kent Brockman News: Some segments are framed as their own news programs.
  • Neologism / Perfectly Cromulent Word: The premise behind the "Sniglets" segment.
  • Novelization: The "Sniglets" segment spawned a series of "Sniglets" books during NNTN's run.
  • Porn Stache: Danny Breen.
  • Pressure-Sensitive Interface: Conversed. The "Sniglets" section defines the term elecceleration as thinking that jabbing an elevator's buttons will cause it to accelerate. Years later, it would get further busted by the Mythbusters.
    Elecceleration: The mistaken belief that repeatedly pressing the elevator button will make it go faster.
  • Recurring Character: The NNTN cast used recurring names for their anchor/reporter alter egos.
    • Anne Bloom: Frosty Kimmelman
    • Danny Breen: Steve Casper
    • Mitchell Laurence: Pete Kimmelman
    • Audrie Neenan: Jacqueline Pennell
    • Stuart Pankin: Bob Charles
    • Lucy Webb: Helen St. Thomas
    • As Himself: Rich Hall
  • Skewed Priorities: A segment covering a football game has a player collapse on the field. The commentators are concerned that the player reinjured a recently healed knee. It actually turns out that the player died from a heart attack. After this revelation, one of the commentators is relieved that it wasn't his knees.
  • Spin-Off: NNTN spawned several one-shot specials, such as Not Necessarily The Movies, Not Necessarily Politics, Not Necessarily Television and Not Necessarily The Year In Review.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That / The Television Talks Back: Quite a few sketches involve these.
  • This Just In!: Was a Running Gag in the pilot episode.