To be a TV news anchor in L.A. is to be under constant threat of being mocked on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” -- most famously for how the anchors cover wind and light rain as apocalyptic breaking news events.
So when a 4.4-magnitude quake struck during the Monday morning broadcasts, it was almost a given the late-night host would seize the moment.
Four local affiliates were featured in the segment Monday night -- CBS2, Fox 11, ABC7 and, of course, KTLA, which scored a viral hit with news anchor Chris Schauble’s animated, desk-ducking reaction to the quake.
Reaction from the news teams on set ranged from utter shock to complete indifference.
KABC’s Leslie Sykes could be heard apparently scrambling under her desk off camera as her co-anchor, Phillip Palmer, continues to deliver the latest on Chris Brown without skipping a beat.
But no one could beat Schauble, who frantically announced the earthquake before ducking under the desk with co-anchor Megan Henderson.
“Little known fact: the Richter scale measures the number of local news anchors who dive under their desks,” Kimmel quipped after the segment aired.
Schauble has embraced all the attention.
On Tuesday, Schauble and his colleagues took a moment to poke fun at themselves after KTLA replayed the Kimmel segment.
“People have broken down that clip of us like a Zapruder film,” Schauble said, referring to the silent motion picture shot by Abraham Zapruder that, after inadvertently capturing President Kennedy’s assassination, was picked apart frame-by-frame. “They’ve broken it down to the nth degree.”
Almost immediately after his on-air reaction, Twitter erupted with Schauble memes. The news anchor himself used one for his Twitter profile picture and posted this tweet: “LOL! Best... Face... Ever!”
In fact, his on-air reaction generated so much attention it was addressed at an earthquake news conference at Caltech, where Lucy Jones, a seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, defended the desk ducking as “absolutely the right thing to do.”
As for those who choose to mock, she added, just remember: “When the big one happens, it means you stay alive, as the lights come crashing down."