A local news anchor’s disastrous first moments on the job have turned him into a Web sensation and an unlikely media star.
After being fired for dropping an f-bomb on his first seconds out as the weekend co-anchor at the NBC station in Bismarck, N.D., A.J. Clemente was cooked.
The unfortunate rookie was looking down and missed the on-air light as he struggled to get the names of the London Marathon winners right, causing him to express his frustration with two cuss words, “bleeping bleep.” That was the end of his short career.
Or was it?
The tape went viral, naturally, and pretty soon, Clemente was telling his tale of woe to the most sympathetic of people—other live TV hosts, from those at the “Today” show to David Letterman.
Not bad for a guy from Bismarck who couldn’t make it through one night delivering the local news.
The wannabe TV anchor has been a good sport, and told “Today” that it was "gut-wrenching" to watch the clip. He called the “fireball shot” he uttered “inexcusable.”
His newly minted media-star status has turned into a plea for a second chance at a TV job. As Savannah Guthrie on “Today” put it, along with reporting, shooting and editing, he has “a way with words.”
Continuing his apology tour, Clemente told Letterman that he held no grudge against the TV station that hired him, then fired him. The late-night host told him he’s “better than” the "goons" back in North Dakota and that “they should apologize to you.” He added, “If you want to, you should be offered that job back.”
Meanwhile, the ex-anchor picked up some work from the “Today” show, which asked him to work the red carpet for the movie premiere of Pierce Brosnan's "Love Is All You Need."